Fashion / Trend

Extravagance, exaggerated proportions, and extreme corsetry reigned supreme at Haute Couture Week

haute couture 2024 trends

The reviews coming out of Paris Men’s Fashion Week mentioned wearability, functionality and commerciality. Runways showing tailored suits, tailored blazers, tailored trousers, tailored coats. Uniforms made up of quiet luxury and stealth wealth. An overwhelmingly safe – or, could you say, boring? – approach. A return to normality after seasons of subversion. “Where’s the fashion at men’s fashion week?,” asked SSENSE’s Steff Yotka. With notable exceptions to the rule including a few pantless moments, shows by Loewe, Comme des Garçons and Kiko Kostadinov (even Rick Owens went smaller) – and Prada and JW Anderson proving simple can still mean fresh, new, beautifully put-together clothes – for the most part, many were left questioning where the fun, the artistry, the passion and the feeling had gone from fashion. 

A few days later, the answer was right there in the same city. At Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week houses such as Schiaparelli, Robert Wun, Simone Rocha for Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino and Maison Margiela — a return to the extravagant, boundary-pushing Galliano we saw at Dior in such a way that for five minutes after the runway ended, attendees were still shouting, clapping and stamping their feet on the floor in praise — presented collections full of drama, storytelling, risk-taking, and originality. 

Haute couture has always been about fantasy, rather than a declaration of trends at the runways that bookend it, and this season it was even more fantastical than most. But, still, it pays to pay close attention to the recurring details on show because when collections are this good, their influence is seen for years — in Margiela's case, likely decades — to come.

Below, find a roundup of the biggest trend takeaways from one of the most exciting Haute Couture weeks in recent history. 




For her first couture collection as guest designer for Jean Paul Gaultier, Simone Rocha built upon her brilliant body of work while interweaving nods to Gaultier's trademark designs. The iconic cone bra was reimagined in the shape of upturned thorns and ribbon-laden corsets were seen throughout. Unlike Gaultier though, Rocha's were oftentimes left loosened or unlaced, a continuation of her signature way of subverting femininity. 

Before Maison Margiela’s Artisanal Show, which closed Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week – and was the house’s return to the schedule since taking a break in 2020 – the runways had already been spectacular. But on the first full moon of the year, John Galliano left everything in his dust. To open the show, Galliano created a film showing model Leon Dame bare-chested wearing high-waisted black trousers and an accentuated beige corset around his waist moving through a dimly lit street. As those present in a room, staged to look like a decaying Paris nightclub beneath Paris’s Pont Alexandre III bridge, Dame appeared on the runway, moving in a dance-like way to accentuate the cinching at his waist. Women followed, wearing see-through dresses, showing the tightly bound corsets around their waist, which men too had peeking out from underneath coats and structured leather jackets — sometimes beige, sometimes a contrasting deep oxblood red.

Viktor & Rolf, meanwhile, crafted a number of deconstructed gowns around bustier tops with boning and Schiaparelli, who also sent models down the runway topless but for a corset (this one leather and buckled to match the jacket worn over top) created patent built-in corset jackets with balloon-effect arms.



Exaggerated shapes

Galliano’s silhouette, which focused on an extremely-cinched corsetted waist, morphed model's bodies to create exaggerated hourglass figures. Pieces were purposefully curve-contouring, reminiscent of London designer Michaela Stark’s signature corsetry (the designer herself was invited to the show) on a beautifully diverse runway – done so seamlessly and naturally you didn’t even notice the casting choice until the third or fourth revisit.

Elsewhere, Galliano exaggerated silhouettes through bustles, and padding to the hips and bum – fitting that both Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian were sat front row — a technique Simone Rocha had similarly shown on her runway for Jean Paul Gaultier. The London-based designer exaggerated models' hips and bums by using padding shown on embellished nude boy shorts. Schiaparelli, meanwhile, exaggerated shoulders, Valentino gave us voluminous skirts, and Robert Wun created sleeves 'Poor Things' Bella Baxter would die for. 




At CHANEL and Simone Rocha x JPG, the girlish, balletcore trend that’s been dominating in recent seasons continued. Rocha, who was doing romantic, feminine pieces long before coquette began surging online, referenced her decision to make a collection that felt very now, saying before the show that she wanted to make something for the present day: something that doesn’t reference the past or delve into the archives, but, rather, represents fashion in 2024. She didn’t say it, but something to, instead, be referenced – and referenced it no doubt will be – in years to come. 

At CHANEL, actress and former ballet dancer, Margaret Qualley opened the spring 2024 couture show inside the Grand Palais, wearing white tights – every model donned the same – a matching blazer and a mini skirt with a sheer panel. Around her neck, she wore a white neck ruffle – a hint at the tulle-heavy pieces to come – with a black bow on the back of her head. Dancer-like leotards, two-piece pink sets covered in sequins and tutu-esque skirts came next, giving every ribbon-loving, Lana del Rey-listening girl something to aspire to. Pink was present in many collections elsewhere, too, with Alaïa's creative director Pieter Mulier challenging himself to create a collection using only a single merino yarn (to brilliant results). 





Structured Schiaparelli beaded and pearl-embellished fringed tops with exaggerated shoulders set the tone for the week ahead, which saw fringing given the haute couture treatment. Floor-length crystal strands hung off see-through dresses at Simone Rocha x Jean Paul Gaultier (see above for my dream wedding dress) and fully fringed gowns swayed along Valentino's plush purple runway.


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