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Viktor & Rolf.

Couture Week FW22: Giambattista Valli, Balenciaga, and More

Haute Couture Week is underway in Paris, so we’re details on collection debuts from Giambattista Valli, Viktor & Rolf, Balenciaga, and more.

Giambattista Valli. Courtesy of Giambattista Valli.

Giambattista Valli regularly has his finger on femininity’s pulse. For the Italian designer’s Fall/Winter 2021-22 presentation, his devotion to dressing women was elevated with soothing colors and floral patterns, and contrasted with black bows and wild eye makeup. His ever-present attention to volume popped from oversized sleeves, while thin, light materials were layered and draped to create whimsical silhouettes. A handful of preppy tweed sweater dresses were seen adorned with sequined black bows, too, as pearl headbands up top and Mary Jane heels below tied the look together. Black and white pieces were trimmed with embroidered bouclés, flowers inspired by the Villa Borghese dot garments and brocades, and crystal-embroidered necklines and high waistlines nod to empire style.

Viktor & Rolf. Courtesy of Viktor & Rolf.

Who could forget Viktor&Rolf’s Instagarammable couture presentation from 2019, wherein phrases like “no photos please” and “sorry I’m late I didn’t want to come” appeared on gowns? Not us. Lucky for those who found it fashionably amusing, new mottos are back for Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2021—and this time, glorified on royal sashes. The collection, entitled “The New Royals” was photographed by Marijke Aerden against an installation curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot—regal indoor and outdoor scenes, like castles and the countryside. Inspired by a new generation of royalty and its desire to show the reality behind the face of the institution, the collection also draws parallels between the hierarchy of the fashion world and its houses. Models in over-the-top dresses and gowns, punctuated with enlarged bows, pearls, gemstones, and accessories, gazed directly into the camera. Unfazed by their royal glamour, other models were photographed with crowns and tiaras, topped by overcoats and enormous sashes featuring quotes like “size queen” and “royal pain in the ass.” Each look is complete with three layers—a dress, a coat, and a sash—and a preview of the upcoming Melissa x Viktor&Rolf shoes and bags. “The New Royals” proved that there is a life behind the façade of royalty, and that somewhere in the world there’s a case for “less is more,” but that’s not here.

Balenciaga Courtesy of Balenciaga.

Balenciaga’s last Haute Couture collection was presented in 1967, when the house’s founder Christóbal Balenciaga left fashion behind. Much has happened since then, and the craft of fashion has evolved. Special for the house is its latest Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2021 collection—the house’s fiftieth couture presentation in its history—and the house’s artistic director Demna Gvasali’s first. The mix of men’s and women’s made-to-measure pieces pay tribute to Balenciaga’s history, architecture garments, and modern styles. In collaboration with other couture ateliers—including the milliner Philip Treacy, the embroidery house Maison Lesage, and the fabric house Dormeuil, among others—the collection pays homage to the founder’s monumental success with the initials “C.B.” hand-embroidered on details that evoke his personal style. Silk sies, leather gloves, poplin tops, and more embrace the lettering, as tailoring (made in collaboration with his preferred tailor, Huntsman) in cashmere, mohair, and barathea wool is inspired by what he himself wore. In the presentation, models held or stood by their look numbers, dripping in the quintessential oversized Balenciaga coat or, for one lucky bride, a short-sleeved dress with a short train and an opaque veil.

Giorgio Armani Privè. Courtesy of Giorgio Armani Privè.

Giorgio Armani Privè tugged at our love for fashion with “Shine”—the designer’s expressive Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2021 collection that was hosted in the same building as the Italian Embassy in Paris. In the show, pieces from his past collection “In Homage to Milan” were seen, seamlessly weaving a thread from his past and present collections that transcend time. Luminous with eye-catching fabrics, shimmering sequins, ruffles, and joyful colors, the garments in the new collection took the viewer from elegant dinner-night-in to gala-night-out. Weightless gowns, glistening dresses, and sets with embellished overcoats were complemented by refined accessories—from fabric ballet flats and pumps with slim heels to small stone-covered clutches and bags made of feathers.

Maison Anastasia Mathiotte. Courtesy of Maison Anastasia Mathiotte.

Maison Anastasia Mathiotte embraced the concept of 4-D construction for a future-facing Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2021 collection, aptly titled “4D.” Creative experimentation coupled with immense research led to organic volumes with draped, ruffled, and sensual fabrics that were effortless and comfortable. “4D” showed Mathiotte’s eye for fabric, knowing its abilities and restraints in creating an unforgettable shape. Among a low V-neck suit jacket with wavy, billowing sleeves we were immersed in both short and long dresses that played with patter and cuts to create optical illusions. Our favorite look was a white dress with a high-leg slit and a plunging neckline that gathered at the hip in two ombre seafoam green flounces of fabric, reminiscent of flower petals.




The photographer’s newest project, “24H Air France,” commemorates the airline’s 90th anniversary with a stunning documentation of archival flight attendant uniforms.
We’re reminiscing on the spring/summer 2024 presentations of Miss Sohee, Viktor&Rolf, Tamara Ralph, Guarav Gupta, ASHI, and Robert Wun.


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