Now Reading: Highlights of the Fall Winter 2019-20 Haute Couture Shows


Highlights of the Fall Winter 2019-20 Haute Couture Shows

July 7, 201911 min read

Every year, numerous looks from the haute couture shows are expected to impress, amaze and astonish. This year’s fashion shows were not an exception, bringing some of the most artistic and skilful creations onto the catwalk. When reviewing 2019’s looks, one will most probably exclaim — the future of fashion is here! 

As the new creative director at Chanel, Virginie Viard has chosen a rather simple, but effective, debut. For thirty years, Viard worked alongside Karl Lagerfeld as his studio coordinator at Chloé and later, Chanel. Therefore, it is certain that she is a person who is greatly knowledgeable about the brand’s aesthetic and its classics — and this year’s haute couture collection proves this. She has revisited certain garments created by Coco Chanel herself and later developed by Lagerfeld such as the skinny coatdresses, tweed and the velvet gowns.

Her collection could be called a revisitation of Chanel’s classics with a modern twist. This is something that will certainly allow the brand to remain relevant as the years go on while still adhering to the essence of the brand itself. Viard’s work on silhouettes is another noticeable aspect of the show, as she chooses more rounded shapes in place of Lagerfeld’s use of stricter geometry. Overall, the collection is not overly impressive, but it is only a matter of time until Viard finds her footing in her new position.

In the new Chanel haute couture collection, Viard revisits old classics of the brand, adding a modern twist. Image Source: Alessandro Lucioni/Gorunway

Another notable look was the black velvet gown, which almost references Chanel’s little black dress. Image Source: Alessandro Lucioni/Gorunway














Claire Waight Keller has been greatly praised for her work at Givenchy, mostly due to her being respectful of the brand’s aesthetics. This year, she decided to slightly stray from the strict and dive into the chaotic and different. Taking inspiration from “an anarchic woman who comes through the château and all of the elements of what you’d find there” and a “bird woman trapped in the house”, Waight Keller has managed to produce a collection that is not only impressive, but also pleasant to the eye.

With feathers, florals and houndstooth patterns, the collection is surely one that can be considered anarchic and chaotic to some — yet the strict silhouettes still keep the pieces relevant to Givenchy’s aesthetic. Considering that most of the looks are black and white, the occasional addition of pastels and blue hues adds a feminine accent to the pieces.

Feathers and brighter colours provide the pieces with hints of anarchy and chaos, as the show is titled noblesse radicale. Image Source: Alessandro Lucioni/Gorunway

Waight Keller combines strict silhouettes with patterns. Image Source: Alessandro Lucioni/Gorunway  















Guo Pei’s show was a surreal outlook on life after death. With intricate detailing and complex silhouettes, the show crafted a dream-like atmosphere, which was especially amplified by the incorporation of Elizabethan and Victorian influences and even a Marie Antoinette-style gown. Although each and every dress is unique, they are still pieces that match and they all felt as though they fit into the general theme.

The immensely high level of workmanship in Pei’s collection is certainly noticeable — she mentioned that the final dress has taken her seven years of on-and-off work to produce. It is a large and impressive piece, which seems to reflect a surreal tomb, covered in bright flowers. Besides the pure aesthetics of the show, it also shows how death and afterlife can be interpreted in a way that is far from morbid.

Using intricate embroidery and feathers, Pei produces a surreal collection which focuses on the theme of afterlife. Image Source: Filippo Fior/Gorunway

Having taken seven years to complete, the final gown shows a depiction of death and afterlife as something other than purely morbid. Image Source: Filippo Fior/Gorunway














In a podcast accompanying the Maison Margiela Artisanal show, John Galliano, creative director of the brand, has stated, “My intentions are impulsive and anarchic.” This was certainly reflected in the brand’s show, as it featured complex looks which could be described as dishevelled. However, this is not to be taken in a negative manner, as Galliano has taken some of the classic couture elements, such as trains and bustiers, and turned them inside out and upside down.

The anarchy within this collection could also be noticed in the complete blurring of gender amongst models. Unlike several other designers, who separate garments aimed at male or female customers, Galliano does not: some of the male models wore looks that could be considered to be feminine, while some of the female models wore garments that otherwise could be associated with the male wardrobe. Galliano frees his collection from gender stereotypes and separation.

“My intentions are impulsive and anarchic,” John Galliano stated in a podcast — this perfectly describes the Maison Margiela Artisanal show. Image Courtesy of Maison Margiela.

The show blurred gender stereotypes in clothing. Image Courtesy of Maison Margiela.















Another highlight of the Haute Couture Week was the show by Schiaparelli, which was Daniel Roseberry’s debut as the new creative director of the brand. In fact, he himself became a part of the show — a drafting table was placed amidst catwalk, where Roseberry sketched as the show went on. This is unusual for the creative director, as they are usually not present on the catwalk for the whole duration of the show.

The collection featured a range of silhouettes, from the most tight-fitting to the most extravagant gowns, all done according to the brand’s aesthetics. Roseberry presented a collection with a variety of silhouettes and textures used, such as snakeskin, velvet, silk and lace, which certainly exemplifies the new creative director’s universality, while also staying true to Schiaparelli’s traditional style.

With its pastel colours and draping fabrics, Roseberry presented a note on femininity using Schiaparelli’s classic elements. Image Source: Alessandro Lucioni/Gorunway

The variety of fabrics, textures and patterns used showed Roseberry’s universality as a creative director. Image Source: Alessandro Lucioni/Gorunway















Valentino once again brought a collection full of diversity and colour. Pierpaolo Piccioli, the creative director of the brand, continues to be the couture designer, who, according to Vogue“matters most in 2019.” In the age where diversity is significant in a brand’s success, Valentino produces another show which appeals to anyone — besides the impressive craftsmanship, Piccioli offers a message of inclusivity to his female customers.

With a diverse mix of models, consisting of different races and ages, Valentino features a colourful collection, comprising of intricate handwork and details. Individuality is key in Piccioli’s creation and every single one can be equated to a stand-alone work of art, be it the first or the final look. Valentino certainly finished the Haute Couture Week on a strong note.

In his colourful new collection, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli spreads a message of inclusivity and individuality.  Image Source: Alessandro Lucioni/Gorunway

This year’s collection goes to show that to be a woman in our age, is to be free and unique.  Image Source: Alessandro Lucioni/Gorunway














Haute Couture Week is certainly an event that not only allows designers to elevate fashion to a level of art through long hours in the creation process but also spread messages through their work. With impressive and extraordinary looks, this year’s haute couture collections are surely ones that will be remembered.

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Aly Balakareva

Born in 2003, in Sochi, Russia, I have always had a passion for storytelling. For the past ten years, I've been living in and exploring Cyprus. Currently, I write and edit for Affinity Magazine Arts + Culture section, and in my free time, enjoy watching films and listening to music.