The 6 greatest moments from the haute couture autumn/winter ’19/’20 shows

Home / The 6 greatest moments from the haute couture autumn/winter ’19/’20 shows

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Did you spot Lauren Hutton’s Valentino catwalk cameo? How about Iris van Herpen’s mechanised (and mesmerising) minidress? Here’s ’s roundup of the six moments that defined the autumn 2019 couture shows.  

1. Feminist artist Penny Slinger’s golden Dior commission  

On the same day that Dior artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri received the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest honour, she exercised her influence as the first female to lead the house with a powerful closing look. The golden doll’s house dress – a piece created in collaboration with feminist surrealist Penny Slinger – provided a poignant sign-off. Its unveiling also came just in time for the release of the documentary on Slinger’s work, . 

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2. A moment of calm in Chanel’s library

Book lover Virginie Viard transformed the Grand Palais into a vast circular library for her debut Chanel couture show. “I dreamt about a woman with nonchalant elegance,” Viard said of her graceful 1930s silhouettes. The result? A perfectly peaceful moment that skilfully reminded viewers of the “calm procured by reading”, the collection notes revealed. A cue for showgoers to put the phone down momentarily?

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3. Lauren Hutton’s Valentino runway cameo

Pierpaolo Piccioli has many masterstrokes. His autumn/winter ’19/‘20 Valentino couture show was not only an ode to texture play (sequins, feathers and yarn) or scenic prints (in homage to paintings of Diana Vreeland) but the benchmark for diverse casting. “The only way to make couture alive today is to embrace different women’s identities and cultures,” Piccioli told American ’s Nicole Phelps during a private collection preview. Enter 75-year-old model and actress Lauren Hutton, who while wearing one of the collection’s most straightforward looks, caused nothing short of a global sensation.

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4. Iris van Herpen’s kinetic couture

Iris van Herpen’s mechanised designs arguably delivered one of the most mesmerising moments in the history of couture. The finale look – a handmade dress constructed of feathers and stainless steel, which took four months to create – was made in collaboration with American kinetic sculptor Anthony Howe. Consider the bar on performative fashion officially raised.

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5. Givenchy’s feathered extravaganza

The “extra” appeal of feathers shows no sign of waning in the eyes of the front row, or couture week’s heavyweight designers. This season, Givenchy claimed the crown when it came to plumage – and who better to showcase Clare Waight Keller’s decadent vision for the future of cocktail wear than Kaia Gerber. The key takeaway? your head and hands should be visible.

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6. Maison Margiela’s “anarchic” vision

If Instagram is typically the default medium for designers providing a window on their world, John Galliano went against the grain in choosing to declare his artistic intentions via a podcast, released before the Maison Margiela Artisanal show. It was here that he declared his couture intention to be “impulsive and anarchic”, and sure enough the iconoclastic designer scored a critical success with a collection that showcased his unmistakable talent for transforming the everyday (in this instance, men’s trousers) into fantasy couture.

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