Paris Haute Couture Week: A Breath of Slow Fashion


How the Chanel and Christian Dior Haute Couture 2016 shows lead the way in reasserting haute couture as the leader in moving the fashion industry away from fast fashion.

One can always turn to haute couture as a reminder of fashion shows of old. The brilliant tailoring, exquisite beading, and genius designs of haute couture are a world away from quick trends and odd fashion fads. But the 2016 Couture Fashion Week in Paris seems like more than just a reminder; this year, there seems to be a distinct statement among the shows of a shift in the fashion industry. That shift is a transition away from fast fashion. Both the Chanel and Christian Dior haute couture shows, arguably the two biggest powerhouses of Paris Couture, gave the world what many call “the antithesis of fast fashion.”

For starters, if Karl Lagerfeld acknowledges it, it must be true. For the Chanel Haute Couture Spring Summer 2016 show, Lagerfeld found his inspiration in “ecology,” stating that it is “something that’s never been used in high luxury before.” Well… at least not at Chanel. The show’s energy efficient set, which the house guaranteed was going to be recycled after the show, was just one aspect of Lagerfeld’s eco-couture vision. The figure of the honeybee wove itself into various garments, while other pieces featured feathers and wood details. Whether Lagerfeld is simply jumping on the sustainability trend to maintain relevance (see: Chanel’s feminist fashion protest), or actually supporting it is unknown. But Lagerfeld does know the future of fashion, he always has, and his acknowledgement of it in his latest couture show is reaffirming that sustainability is here to stay.


Photo: Indigital | Vogue UK

Aside from the set and ecological detailing on the garments, there was certainly a tone present in the show of returning to the original, instead of following trends. Not only did the show feature Jaimie Bouchard as Madame Coco, the original original, it also prominently focused on the famous Chanel suit. The simplicity and perfection of the clothes are the epitome of investing in quality and perfection rather than buying cheap, trendy clothes.

Photos: Indigital | Vogue UK

Chanel’s focus on returning to the original echoed the Christian Dior Haute Couture SS16 show. Being the first show without leader Raf Simons, the Dior house did something perhaps expected of a brand in flux: it stuck to the classics, which in this case is the signature Dior jacket.


Photo: Indigital | Vogue UK

Almost as a sign of rebelling success, the house transformed the classic bar jacket into a platitude of various reinterpretations. Reinterpreting the classics, rethinking and reusing fabrics that we already own, is another clear nod to slow fashion.  The show’s notes stated, the “Dior woman asserts herself by wearing clothes in a new way. It’s her attitude, her way of moving, her way of simply being.” Thus, like Chanel, Dior reasserted the power of haute couture has on changing and improving the fashion industry.

Photos: Indigital | Vogue UK

What to take away from this? Well certainly we’d all love to invest in a Chanel tweed or Dior jacket, but since we are not all millionaires, let’s say that the moral of these shows in Paris is to rethink the value of the classics and change our attitude about caring for eternal favourites.

Feature Photo: Alessandro Garofalo |@alepix

Oringinally published on Stylekick Blog

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