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    Paris Haute Couture Week 2024: Where boundaries are broken and innovation reigns

    Mahak Saxena

    Designers pushed the limits of fashion, transforming runways into immersive experiences and garments into living art forms.

    This year, Paris Haute Couture Week became a platform for pushing the boundaries of fashion. Designers used every element, from clothing to runway presentation and performance, to create truly immersive experiences. Iris Van Herpen transformed her models into living sculptures woven from her creations while Rahul Mishra breathed life into fabrics, making them extensions of the models themselves. Thom Browne challenged the audience with a tug-of-war, while Dior broke loose from those same ropes, unleashing a sense of freedom through flowing silhouettes. Get ready to be amazed as we delve into the most captivating highlights of the week.

    Iris Van Herpen creates clothes that make you move

    Iris Van Herpen is no stranger to experimentation. This year, however, her focus underwent a dramatic shift: fabric reigned supreme, infecting the body and dictating its movement. Organic and structured materials draped the models, whose forms contorted to mimic the movement inherent in those fabrics, becoming living canvases. Van Herpen's work raises the age-old question: does art imitate life, or vice versa? Her collection is a testament to the power of both, where intricate fabrics seemingly emerge from the background and into reality.

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    Rahul Mishra (finally) becomes omnipresent

    Rahul Mishra's fascination with the otherworldly took root in the natural world this season. His "Aura" collection delves into the energetic extension of the human form, adding a new illusionistic dimension to the typical silhouette. Fabrics erupt from the body, creating an almost spiritual experience that transcends the physical. Mishra explores past, present, and future, prompting us to consider the unseen forces that connect us all.

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    Balenciaga's streetwear is neither for the runway nor for the sidewalk

    Although some may pronounce streetwear dead, Balenciaga breathes new life into the category with its innovative use of fabric and playful rebellion against practicality. Over-the-top hats obstruct vision and the excessive use of fabric restrict movement, and can be seen as a critique on consumerist culture's obsession with excess. This focus extends to their breathtaking but ephemeral final piece, which seems to comment on the wastefulness often associated with haute couture. In a single stroke, Balenciaga cleverly targets both ends of the fashion spectrum – the disposability of fast fashion and the extravagance of haute couture – proving streetwear can be a platform for thought-provoking commentary.

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    Thom Browne takes a leap of faith and scores gold

    Thom Browne drew inspiration from the upcoming Paris Olympics, taking a leap of faith that resulted in a winning collection. He returned to basics, utilising muslin and layering techniques to build up the body with exaggerated silhouettes.  But don't be fooled by the volume - Browne masterfully deconstructed elements, revealing anatomical details that ultimately elevate the human form. Creativity flowed from head to toe, with ice skate-inspired heels complete with spikes and gold olive branch headpieces.

    Image: Supplied

    Dior revives ancient Greece, minus the corsets

    Maria Grazia Chiuri's Fall collection for Dior channelled the spirit of the Olympics through flowing, draped gowns crafted from luxurious fabrics like silk and velvet. These garments were powerful statements about overcoming limitations. Chiuri subtly paid homage to the 1920s, a time when female athletes fought for recognition and equality. The absence of corsetry symbolises liberation, allowing the body to move with power and grace – a perfect reflection of the challenges these women overcame. This collection wasn't just a celebration of athleticism, it was a celebration of overcoming obstacles, a testament to the unwavering strength found within.

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