Paris Haute Couture @ Hotel de Ville, Paris


I had previously been of the idea that it was only the English who liked to queue. I was wrong. The French like to queue too it seems, particularly for the sake of fashion. This Spring the French are holding a spectacular tribute to the city’s status as the home of Haute Couture and the women – and men of France were more than happy to brave the cold and queue outdoors to sneak a peak.

Paris Haute Couture gives a behind the scenes look at the life of the couturier. Beginning with early photographs and illustrations the exhibition presents us with a stunning history of craftsmanship, design and quality. In the early photographs there is a clear emphasis on hands. These images show the importance of the hand made and the ultimate care in craftsmanship.

The show – which is displayed over two floors begins with a top floor explanation of the work behind the designs. Here we are shown fashion illustration from as early as 1887 until the most recent decades. Amongst these are designs by Chanel and Schiaperelli. We are also shown examples of broderie, toiles and other embellishments, including a stunning blue sequinned dress and bolero from Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel from last year.

After going downstairs, the visual treat begins. The floor is scattered with stunning couture gowns. Early designs by Jean Patou, Bouchra Jarrar and Paul Poiret are shown amongst Maison Martin Margiela 2013 as a testimony to how timeless couture is. Each garment accommodates one another. Nothing looks dated. All is classic and utterly timeless, and of course, impeccably well made.

One of the most visually stunning fashion exhibitions that I have seen in a very long time which should be enjoyed by all lucky enough to visit Paris this Summer.

Paris Haute Couture is on display at Hotel de Ville until July 6

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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