Digital Haute Couture Is Here—How Is It Thriving in the Virtual Landscape?

Haute couture presents on the digital landscape again, and it might be staying this way indefinitely.

Since normalizing the digitization of fashion presentations last year, prestigious fashion houses and designers remain afloat in the virtual world. From Gucci’s mini-series, Moschino’s marionette show, to Valentino’s mesmerizing live-streamed video, fashion labels elevate their creativity each season. This week, Paris Haute Couture continues its key shows. They are all available to stream online from January 25 to 28, 2021. As we watch these presentations from the limitations of our screens, what can we expect? How are brands raising their artistic levels to deliver ingenious shows as astonishing as physical ones?

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The digital masterpiece

The first day of Haute Couture Week this year witnessed the marvelous collections of top luxury brands and designers like Schiaparelli, Dior, Giambattista Valli, and Iris van Herpen. Their videos stand out for presenting their designs in the most inventive ways, highlighting their unique artistry.

Dark and enchanting, Dior’s short film Le Château du Tarot presents its collection inspired by tarot cards. Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri wove fairy tales into each piece, setting forth fascinating mystic symbols. These reflect the characters from the short film as well, evoking a haunting yet intriguing atmosphere in the video.

Iris van Herpen may have taken a simpler approach to the presentation, but it is actually an intelligent move. The video features an ordinary runway with a black backdrop to highlight the extraordinary details of the collection. Titled Roots of Rebirth, the designs take off from the fascinating structures of fungi and other organic forms. The dresses and gowns resemble mushroom clusters, reflect their hues, and feature detailed hand embroideries. Herpen proves there is no need for special effects—the designs speak for themselves.

Schiaparelli opts to feature the collection by showing the process. With sneak-peek shots, audiences are able to see the meticulous work it took to create such stunning pieces. Artistic Director Daniel Roseberry focuses on his fresh take on women’s ensembles, redefining what they wear (and when). He highlights more separates, bold jewelry, and either a detailed body or pieces that allow women to freely move around.

Bearing his signature opulence, Valli presents his designs in slow shots featuring 360-degree views of Spanish architecture. The extravagance is not amiss with the gigantic hair of the models wearing trailing tulle, mounds of taffeta, silk petals, and dainty floral. Each ensemble is dramatic, full in volume and flair.

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Iris van Herpen designs. (Photo from Fashionista)

Faithful to identity

These collections are only the beginning of the rest of the mesmerizing designs of top designers. Joining this season are Valentino collaborating with British band Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja, Alber Elbaz and his much-anticipated comeback via film, and Kim Jones who will present his first womenswear for Fendi.

Haute Couture Week 2021 is certainly witnessing a wide range of presentation styles. Each fashion house and label are tracing back their roots, drawing inspiration either from their origins or from different worlds while remaining faithful to their brand. Standing out in the digital landscape is tough but it is the way to adapt to recent developments. The fashion industry is definitely evolving—and we are thrilled to stand witness to it.

Watch the Haute Couture Week shows here, or follow your favorite fashion house or brand’s Instagram for updates.

Photos from Harper’s Bazaar.

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