Destination Guides

Editor's Notes: Couture Week '16

Our Fashion Editor-at-Large Avril Groom’s take on the Paris A/W 2016 Haute Couture Week

Editor's Notes: Couture Week '16

This year’s Paris Couture Week was quite busy — not just with wonderful, handmade clothes, but also with superlative jewellery as the top houses chose to show directly to clients (and the lucky press) rather than at the Paris Biennale taking place in September.

THE DAY BEFORE

Cartier launched its new fine jewellery “Cactus” collection at the cool Seine-side restaurant Monsieur Bleu. The collection was a witty departure in voluminous gold, sparkling with diamonds and hard stones like lapis lazuli and carnelian.

SUNDAY

New names were on display — namely Francesco Scognamiglio’s first Paris outing featuring Milan-based lace craft and embroidery. 

Vetements grabbed headlines by showing in an open department store featuring collaborations with 18 classic brands they might previously have expropriated: spectacularly Manolo Blahnik’s waist high, satin waders. 

And back on track later with Versace Atelier: real couture for real women, with shoulders and hips gorgeously draped. 

And finally Miu Miu’s party: funking up a gentlemen’s club with Kate Moss on the decks and Euro Cup football on the big screen.

MONDAY

The second day of the haute couture week featured a field of gold-sprayed wheat in the Place Vendôme – courtesy of Les Blés de Chanel, and a beautiful new Chanel jewellery collection based on a favourite Coco motif.

On Boucheron’s unique catwalk: a display of graceful jewellery-wearers embraced by eclectic lovers, planned by curator du jour Olivier Saillard. 

Then there was Creative Designer Bertrand Guyon’s lovely show for Schiaparelli — all based on circuses and constellations. 

And lastly beautifully crafted, monochrome beading from Dior, where anticipation was building as the house designers’ interregnum is about to end in a big announcement.

TUESDAY

Chanel was the big morning draw: decoration on tweed or chiffon in a couture workshop with real seamstresses. 

Meanwhile, beautiful jewels made an appearance at Chaumet: a red lily tiara with rubellites and beryl, oak leaf garlands, and modern wheat — in gold and diamonds. 

Armani Privé modern couture meant precise tailoring in optical checks: softly gathered black velvet trousers and delicate black evening dresses with pale blue feathers. 

Alexandre Vauthier set a marker for sporty couture, as did Bulgari with a colourful explosion of jewellery shown in the Italian Embassy’s elegant salons and a brilliant party on its terrace.

WEDNESDAY

Kids ruled on this day: Russian-style velvet in Franck Sorbier’s rooftop charmer and serious mini-me’s at Elie Saab

Gaultier’s new, subtly earth-shaded restraint (even in lavish fur), Viktor&Rolf’s brilliant play with woven silk ribbon, and Valentino’s wow celebration of Shakespeare — ruffles and all — are a sight to behold.

And finally, the much anticipated announcement: co-designer Maria Grazia Chiuri off to Dior, confirming the known. How her serene, Renaissance style plays in the home of light femininity is next season’s question. 

THURSDAY

From Piaget's explosion of colour and craft to Tiffany’s Art Deco-inflected, modern American style: jewellery saw unparalleled pieces on the final day.

IN SUMMARY

A week of the highest standards.