The Spring 2019 Couture season has officially come to an end. We saw a graffiti-esquie collection from Maison Margiela, endless sequins and aquas from Elie Saab, and shimmering brights from Givenchy.
Last night the Viktor and Rolf show exploded on social media. We saw tulle dresses in every color. And when I say tulle dresses, I mean full-on human loofas. Somehow, these part-shower-accessory-part-garments weren’t the showstoppers. It was the billboard-like words that covered them that had people non-stop sharing on social media.
The phrases ranged from “I’m not shy, I just don’t like you,” to a heartfelt, all-caps “No.” While these dresses had everyone sharing and re-posting (the word “mood” was probably typed more times than we’ll ever be able to count), it really got me thinking about who these dresses were made for.
Couture fashion is not meant to be wearable or accessible- that’s what makes it couture. But at what point do we stop creating art for the feeling and start creating it to be shared on social media? There is nothing incredibly deep or thoughtful about words on a dress. Fashion itself can evoke emotion, no words necessary.
Cue the Valentino show. Ruffles and florals are a staple at Spring Couture shows, but something felt different here. Layers of iridescent fabric delicately floated around the models, cradling them in clouds of color and print. Makeup artist Pat McGrath crafted model’s eyelashes into delicate flower petals.
It takes something very special to make yards of fabric appear weightless.
Valentino’s creative director, Pierpaolo Piccioli, told Vogue Runway, “I don’t believe in modernist couture. I love couture for what it is– the lightness, the uniqueness.”
The show closed with supermodel Naomi Campbell returning to the runway after 14 years. Her sheer, drop waist gown cascaded into the ground, a puddle of ruffles and grace.
The words “iconic” and “etherial” were printed no where, but somehow they seemed to echo in Campbell’s footsteps. These dresses weren’t crafted to be shared across social media as a “mood.” They were designed to make us feel.
Fashion is subjective and ever-evolving in its meaning… But only one show moved our high priestess of couture, Celine Dion, to tears as she told Piccioli, “You have given women back their beauty.”