Paris Haute Couture Week is one of fashion's most anticipated events—and for good reason. Haute couture is one of the most identifiable areas in the industry. Striking, with a style that's impossible to define, haute couture blurs the lines between art and fashion. The pieces shown at the biannual Paris Haute Couture Week are significant because they not only influence ready-to-wear collections, but give designers a chance to push boundaries and explore new ground. Haute couture runways are an opportunity for designers to take risks and produce pieces that can usher in a new era for a fashion house. If intricate detailing and larger-than-life designs are what you love about fashion, then the shows at Paris Haute Couture Week are not to be missed.
Keep reading for what to expect at this month's spring/summer Paris Haute Couture Week.
What It Is
Paris Haute Couture Week is a celebration of the art of dressmaking. Every piece, regardless of designer, is completely hand-stitched by ateliers in Paris. That means each piece is completely unique; one of the aspects of haute couture that makes it so prized. There are exact rules every designer must adhere to, as set by the Fédération Française de la Couture. Among them is that designers must have workshops in France and put on two haute couture shows a year. The designers included are reviewed every year by the Fédération.
Paris Haute Couture Week takes place twice a year, in January and in July. This year, the S/S 17 shows will take place between Sunday, January 22, and Thursday, January 26. On average, there are about 30 shows per season, and this season will follow suit, with 30 shows taking place among 25+ designers. Brands like Chanel and Schiaparelli will be showing more than once.
This month's haute couture week includes a slew of household names, along with the more unexpected. To begin, we have heavy hitters like Chanel, Dior, Valentino, and Jean Paul Gaultier on the roster. Newer designers are also to be expected, like Vetements—a brand whose deconstructionist style is in sharp contrast to traditional haute couture—and Beijing-based Guo Pei, who famously dressed Rihanna at the 2015 Met Ball. Both are guest members at Paris Haute Couture Week this year.
Can you guess how many hours it takes to make a couture piece? Or how many seamstresses work on a single dress? Keep reading for the most unbelievable haute couture facts.