Haute Couture Week in Paris: the highlights so far

The haute couture autumn/winter 2017-18 collections are being presented in Paris until July 6.

Models walk the runway during the Schiaparelli haute couture autumn/winter 2017-2018 in Paris. Photo by Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images
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Haute Couture Week is under way in Paris. Twice a year, a few dozen fashion houses gather to outdo one another, showcasing the very best of their artistic and technical prowess, and creating collections that, sadly, most of us will never own. The very definition of closed, haute couture is available only to the few women who can afford it, and created by the few houses invited to join the newly renamed Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.

The autumn/winter 2017-18 presentations will take place until July 6, with some of the really big shows, such as Chanel, occurring later in the week.

Highlights from the runways so far included Ronald van der Kemp delivering a slightly madcap collection that, at first glance, looked too bright and colourful for couture. Closer inspection revealed that the patchwork elements were made from vintage fabrics, and some of the most eye-catching prints were, in fact, made from floating, embroidered flowers.

Atelier Versace delivered an exceptionally restrained and refined collection that felt like a newer, sleeker direction for the brand. Beautifully cut, exquisitely executed and understated in tone, this collection is sure to be gracing many a red-carpet event in the future.

Schiaparelli gave us an evolution of dresses, with 33 pieces that moved from crisp mini-dresses to full-blown chiffon, before coming back to a mini-skirted and corseted bride. With shocks of pink (a staple of the house) and pops of surreal imagery, it was everything we could hope for.

Chinese designer Guo Pei embraced the glamour of bygone eras with a procession of shimmering gowns. Moving through a palette of the softest blush to green and teal, before coming right back to inky black, it was an utterly charming collection.

See the Weekend edition of The National on July 7 for full coverage of this week's haute couture shows.