Couture dresses drama: Dior’s gone #metoo and everyone’s playing Guess Meghan’s Dress

See all the action from the Spring 2018 Haute Couture shows in Paris.

Couture dresses – the hautest de la haute of fashion, the pinnacle of the Paris art of savoir faire (translation: incredibly, unbelievably impossible feats of sewing to the rest of us)…and normally these fantastical looks are piles of tulle in non-controversial shades of pastel, destined for the 4-day wedding extravaganzas of Arabian princesses. Or British princesses – was Meghan Markle’s wedding dress one of the designs shown at Ralph & Russo (she’s a fan) yesterday? Only time (and her Canadian bridal stylist Jessica Mulroney) will tell.

But as Spring 2018 couture week got underway in Paris yesterday, the couture dresses floating down the runway stirred up drama for a whole set of reasons other than the size of their trains. At Christian Dior, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri seems to have taken the whole black-only #metoo dress code seen on the red carpet at the Golden Globes as a call to action. As we’re coming to expect from Chiuri, the collection was inspired by the life and ideals of a feminist artist – this time, the Argentinian Leonor Fini, who used headdresses and surrealist costume to shape her identity as a powerful woman, back in the 1950s and 1960s. The result on the Dior runway – itself black and white chequered, and hung with birdcages, in surrealist style – was a Dali-esque parade of black masks and headdresses (created by Stephen Jones), worn with monochrome trouser suits and impeccable black gowns. Surely about as far as you could get from the frothy saccharine frocks that were the ‘couture’ vision of old, and looks that the most vocal feminist would be proud to wear while making their next podium-storming statement.

Over on the frow, Emily Blunt, Kylie Minogue and Naomi Campbell have been weighing up the options for their next tour/speech/Oscar win* delete as appropriate.

Meanwhile over at Schiaparelli, creative director Bertrand Guyon’s evolution of fashion’s original ‘surrealist’ house continued with an explosive collection filled with colour and Prince of Wales check, combined with tribal feathers and fringing. At Ralph & Russo, the only English couture house invited to show on the Paris couture week schedule, designer Tamara Ralph is becoming more famous by the minute due to Meghan Markle’s liking for the brand. Will Ralph’s house be The Chosen One? If so, we can see why. Tamara’s creations are more in the way of classic couture. That is, plenty of delicate shades, sparkle, and embroidery. But there were trends – in the form of fringing, and 50s-starlet style fishnet face veils. And there was drama – in the form of the finale look, a Gone With the Wind style extravaganza with lace veil, modelled by blogger Camilla Coelho (last season, it was a Bollywood film star).

Next up – Chanel. Now that Karl Lagerfeld doesn’t shy away from grand statements. What will it be this season? stay tuned…meanwhile, marvel at the razzle dazzle, beauty and drama of the best couture dresses so far in our gallery below…

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