Paris Fashion Week’s Haute Couture features weird, wacky and wonderful designer clothing

Four days of the fashion world’s top designers displaying their most extravagant designs have come to an end, with flowers, balloons and live horses featured on the Haute Couture runways.

Dior’s line by Maria Grazia Chiuri started the week for 2022-23 autumn/winter collections with simple and elegant design. 

The stage set was created by Ukrainian artist Olesia Trofymenko, with a collection featuring everything expected by the average person from Haute Couture. 

A model wearing a grey and blue embroidered jacket and pants with white shirt.
Dior started fashion week with a simple but elegant runway.(AP: Michel Euler)

Some described Iris van Herpen’s collection as “futuristic” and like out of a “Marvel Movie”: They were not wrong. 

The show, entitled “Meta Morphism”, was also a milestone for the award-winning couturier, marking the 15th anniversary of her namesake fashion design house.

Three models wear couture from Iris van Herpen.
Winnie Harlow starred among the models in the Marvel like collection. (AP: Michel Euler)

It may have been Iris van Herpen’s birthday but Giambattista Valli brought the balloons. 

In fact, they had so many balloons it would be easy to mistake the brightly coloured runway with the birthday of a seven-year-old. 

Two models dressed in two shades of pink in front of a balloon arch.
Yay balloons!(AP: Lewis Joly)
A model in a white dress with a pink bow in front of a balloon arch with three models in the background.
So many balloons.(AP: Lewis Joly)

In Elsa Schiaparelli’s runway, she asked the age-old question: How do I get my partner to buy me flowers?

The answer is simple: Don’t, be the bouquet yourself, in her collection aptly titled “Shocking! The Surreal Worlds of Elsa Schiaparelli”.

A model wearing a shirt made from pink flowers which are as high as her head.
Be the bouquet you always knew you could be. (AP: Lewis Joly)
A model wearing a wide brim hat with a shirt covered in flowers.
This season’s must have item: flowers. (AP: Lewis Joly)

Day two Chanel treated the audience to a more hazardous show, forcing models to walk down stairs in the name of fashion because walking in heels isn’t already dangerous enough. 

Five models walking down a floating staircase over onlookers.
Models in Chanel’s show, trying carefully not to fall down the staircase. (AP: Michel Euler)

Alexis Mabille also got the memo on being the flower you wish you could be.

[Picture: Mabille]

Giorgio Armani finished the day with an early 2000s blue-light disco favourite combination: dresses over pants. 

This couture season, the Italian fashion legend wanted to “give new space to sparkle and frivolity”, inspired by the universe of Art Deco Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka.

A model wearing a pink dress over shiny black pants.
Dresses over pants made an appearance in Armani’s collection. (AP: Lewis Joly)
A model wears a blue sequin dress over shiny black pants.
Armani wanted to “give new space to sparkle”. (AP: Lewis Joly )

Day three brought some interesting designs courtesy of Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing collection for Jean Paul Gaultier. 

Rousteing had models wear pregnant, conical bras in black and flesh, a nod to supporting lesbians having medically assisted reproduction, something the French parliament allowed last year.

Two models wearing dresses featuring pregnancy bellies.
The pregnant conical bra looks had a touching meaning. (AP: Michel Euler)
A model wearing a white shirt, black tie, and a black shirt as pants.
Other items were more of a tongue-in-cheek fashion homage to Jean Paul Gaultier.(AP: Michel Euler)

Elie Saab’s collection seemed to hark from a fantasy movie, featuring the pastels and glittering dresses the designer is known for. 

A model wearing a pastel blue dress with puffy sleeves.
The collection was described as “supernatural”.(AP: Michel Euler)

Franck Sorbier took the runway outside, added some forces and unicycles and gave us permission to take our high heels off in the name of fashion. 

A trainer on a horse in a red dress, a second model wears a red dress leading another horse.
Horses are the new models. (AP: Lewis Joly)
A model in a sparkly dress holding a pair of high heel shoes.
Shoes off is now fashionably acceptable. (AP: Lewis Joly)

The final day of Haute Couture had Fendi by Kim Jones wanting to “step away from Rome” with creations that drifted between different eras, cities, memories and cultures, beginning in Japan.

A line of models walk on an all white catwalk.
Fendi Couture’s collection took inspiration from all around the world. (AP: Michel Euler)

One of the final shows was Yuima Nakazato’s autumn display, accurately titled “BLUE”.

The designs appeared something off a distant Star Trek planet in the abstract blue blobs that models walked by.

Nakazato’s work revolved around technology, and the house said he used non-gendered creations to “explore the future of clothing”.

A model wears a blue fluffy garment.
Nakazato’s designs were like something from a far off planet. (AP: Michel Euler)
A model wears a blue garment with interesting shapes.
Nakazato describes his work as exploring the “future of clothing.” (AP: Michel Euler)

The fourth day concluded a week of Haute Couture, the age-old Parisian tradition of producing exorbitantly priced, made-to-measure garments for the world’s richest people. 

Designers return to fashion week in September for their Summer/Spring collections. 

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