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Georgie’s Review: Paris Couture Digital, Day 2 & 3

Thu 9 Jul

And just like that Digital Haute Couture is over. It seems without the physical spectacle things have whizzed by. While one certainly has enjoyed the ability to watch and rewatch these filmic couture events, there has been a growing longing for glamour, for the couture clientele in the front row, for the sheer aspiration of it all. Nevertheless, houses have given us condensed, anecdotal slivers of the season which for the most part have been engaging, exciting and admirable.

Chanel’s digital offering, mid-way through the week, was a glimpse into Virginie Viard’s A/W 20 couture collection for the house. Models flashed about the set in a couture reinvention of signature Chanel tweed, with a continuation of the Byzantine jewel-embellishment we saw at the A/W 20 ready-to-wear show. There were light, joyous moments in the full skirts and pink tweed skirt and trouser combo but references of punk and party-girl came across a little too dated 80s. The film was certainly missing the grandeur of a Chanel show - indeed it feels odd that Dior (with all its faults) had a more cinematic experience - but perhaps this is reflective of Viard’s Chanel - it’s slightly more approachable, a little different, understated and refined.

Arguably, the most successful digital show over Haute Couture was that of Viktor & Rolf. The first to explicitly acknowledge the goings on in the world right now, Viktor & Rolf presented a narrated mini runway, that commented on the emotions we seem to all be feeling. Entitled ‘Change’ the collection was split into three sections, a sombre sadness, conflicting emotions and love. Emoji embroidery, a face mask (which our narrator reminded us was cool to wear), clouds, hearts and spikes - this was unabashedly millennial, another example of couture’s move towards younger clientele perhaps. Quilted bows in satin and nightgowns in soft pinks, blues and white were a brilliant reflection of today too, who isn’t in their pyjamas day in, day out at present? The fantasy of couture met the realities of today’s current climes. Fun, a little bonkers but impressively astute.

Amidst the pandemic, it’s been heartening to see these grand houses create something so universal and digestible in replace of their usual runway shows. One hopes that some part of this democratic format remains post-pandemic, for this week has shown us above all else couture is invitingly aspirational however it is presented.