Paris Haute Couture Week kicks off this Monday
Following the menswear Fashion Weeks in London, Milan and Paris, Haute Couture Week kicks off a particularly interesting program on Monday, bringing the first fashion marathon of 2018 to a close. Over the last few seasons, more and more emerging brands and ready-to-wear labels have been choosing to present during the Couture Week, thereby preempting the womenswear calendar, presenting their collections in a more exclusive setting and guaranteeing greater exposure. Olivier Rousteing is among the latest designers to jump on the couture bandwagon, having announced on Saturday that he would be presenting 15 looks for Balmain during the week.
Another sign of the effervescent atmosphere surrounding the event are the numerous brands choosing to present off calendar during Couture Week, some of which already opened proceedings on Sunday. For many of these young labels, which formerly presented during womenswear Fashion Week, the move reflects a shift towards couture, as is the case with Dutch designer Esther Louise Dorhout Mees, or a change in strategy, as with Australian brand Ellery, which will present its first off-calendar runway during Haute Couture Week on Thursday, in order to anticipate sales and better organize production.
The official program, dedicated to Spring/Summer 2018, will welcome 33 couture houses, a slight decrease from last July's 37, and will run until January 25. Along with the usual suspects such as Dior, Chanel, Armani, Valentino and Elie Saab, the A.F. Vandevorst runway at the Oratoire du Louvre on Thursday, January 25, should be one of the week's highlights. As announced by the brand's Belgian founders and designers An and Filip Vandevorst, the runway will be a "unique show" to celebrate 20 years of the house.
Spotlights will also surely be shining on two names that have returned to the calendar this season: Givenchy and Christophe Josse, the latter returning as an invited member. Having launched a ready-to-wear line in 2011, the designer has since worked on a number of projects, including a collaboration with Chinese brand Klova.
Givenchy is also making its comeback. The luxury Parisian fashion house decided to take a break from the couture calendar last July, as it was going through a period of creative transition at the time, British designer Clare Waight Keller having only just stepped into the role of creative director in May.
As for Moroccan-born designer Noureddine Amir, who should have been making his debut as an invited member this Thursday, he no longer appears on the definitive calendar.
The return of Givenchy and Christophe Josse will have to compensate somewhat for the absence of five of the big houses on the official program this season. Among them, Maurizio Galante, which opted for an unprecedented show in July, Fendi, which usually shows its "Haute Fourrure" collection in the same month, and Adeline André. Also missing is the Italian brand Francesco Scognamiglio, which has decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the house with a show-event in Rome on January 28, as part of the Italian Altaroma Week.
The American house Rodarte, which pulled out of New York Fashion Week last year to establish itself in Paris with a runway presentation during Couture Week, has decided against a show this season, preferring to present the new collection in its Parisian showroom during Haute Couture Week.
Proenza Schouler, however – another American brand to have made the trip across the pond to the French capital last July –, will be present, opening the week on Monday with a show scheduled between Christian Dior's and that of the two Australian designers Ralph & Russo.
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