Spring 2024 Couture fashion week is drawing to a close, and your social media feeds have no doubt been awash with Jennifer Lopez and other celebrities in sumptuous looks, trying very hard but not quite managing to upstage the standout collections presented by the likes of Dior, Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Couture week is the time for extravagant and thought-provoking designs that truly show off the craftsmanship and savoir-faire these houses excel at. But don't take our word for it, here are the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week collections to prove it.
Outside the show, Jennifer Lopez and Zendaya turned heads in their sculptural sunglasses and blunt fringes, but behind closed doors, the focus remained solely on the collection. Daniel Roseberry wanted to honour everyday pieces, all the while adding that does of humour that the house - and Elsa Schiaparelli - have been known for.
Imagine gold-capped trainers, waistcoats embroidered with measuring tape and oversized bows and ruffles, and skirts adorned with fish and lobster. As Daniel so eloquently explains, "it’s the fantasy of couture made for the street".
For Haute Couture SS24, Maria Grazia Chiuri was inspired by the Big Aura that pervades haute couture, where no new take on originals is ever the same, each piece a unique work of art, starting with La Cigale dress, first designed by Christian Dior for the Autumn/Winter 1952.
Its architectural elegance inspired the collection in a muted palette of beige, white, grey and burgundy with standout looks, including a yellow moiré dress punctuated by a Millefiori motif, a featured dress and coats with exaggerated collars.
More than just a functional detail, the button, so emblematic of the House of Chanel, symbolises emancipation, permitting women to liberate themselves from the shackles of conventions. Virginie Viard finds a new way to tell this jewel-button story by taking it on a journey to the world of ballet and dance.
Each look told a story intrinsically linked to dance and ballet. The embroidered cropped pink jacket and mini skirt layered over a white leotard that a ballerina might wear post-rehearsal. The off-shoulder beaded and organza gown she might don for a red carpet event. The tutu and sequinned brassiere she might wear on stage and the corset and trousers she might wear off it.
Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture by Simone Rocha
This collection served as an intricate dialogue between John Paul Gaultier and Simone Rocha, marking Rocha's couture debut.
It harmoniously combined both designers' key motifs, like Rocha's bows, tulle, pearls and flowers, with Gaultier's iconic cone bras and corsets. Dramatic silhouettes, dresses galore, and frothy textures characterised Gaultier's latest guest designer programme, which has seen previous outings from the likes of Julien Dossena and Olivier Rousteing.
Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli wanted to honour tradition while embracing contemporary values with this Spring 2024 offering. The result? A modern wardrobe elevated with the codes of couture. Bejewelled trench coats, jewel-toned tailored trousers, and puffball skirts were among the standout pieces mixing wearability with fantasy.
Viktor & Rolf
This season, Viktor & Rolf went back to black with a collection that held 28 all-black outfits as a proposal for contradicting the paradox. The brand showed flawless couture staples using materials like velvet, satin, and sequins with intricate trims and decorative patterns. In typical house style, the collections played with proportions and showed the body in unexpected ways.
Ellie Saab's expertly cut dresses served as a reminder of the brand's expertise in red-carpet dressing. Bold tones blended seamlessly with classic bone shades and signature embellishments - only a small handful of the 64 looks were void of decoration - think organza petals, elegant capes, and gold-trimmed cutouts.
For Fendi's Haute Couture FW24, Kim Jones looked at none other than Karl Lagerfeld as inspiration for the futuristic collection. With models eloquently sporting minimalistic cuts draped in rows of jewels and strong shades of silver, the minimalistic futurism theme was evident throughout the whole collection.
The star studded show included Zendaya sporting a freshly cut micro-fringe, and Reese Witherspoon having the chicest mother-daughter date. The closing of this season's haute couture shows rung in an innovative collection that strongly accentuated the human form, rather than overshadowing the wearer as strongly pointed out by Jones.
For his latest collection, Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad was inspired by his country’s Phoenician heritage and its "timeless spirit of an inventive civilisation”. His dazzling selection of looks was at once a celebration of feminine power and an ode to the Mediterranean Sea. There were show-stopping backless silver, gold and copper gowns encrusted with intricate crystals and flowing Greco-Roman inspired dresses with veils in the most luxurious of silks and satins inspired by the movements of the waves. Expect this deeply sensual collection on many red carpets in coming months.
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Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.
Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).
Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at MoneySavingExpert.com, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.
However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.
Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.
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