Haute couture is about many things this season – from Maison Margiela’s musings on the tearing of paper to street and leisurewear given the va-va voom magic at Versace, and the most fairytale of red carpet gowns at Giambattista Valli. But it is united in its pursuit of pushing the boundaries of the world’s most skilled artisans to create pure perfection. Caroline Issa shares her view from the front row.

Atelier Versace

"Donatella always brings it with her couture shows - and by that I mean the hotness factor. And this show had an overt vision of femininity and dynamism. Sure, there’s a lot of skin on display, but the incredible construction to the dresses always beg for a second, closer look. I loved this season's crystal ropes tying everything together – it's always va-va-voom with impeccable tailoring!"

Bouchra Jarrar

"Bouchra Jarrar always makes me leave her show wishing to be the Bouchra Jarrar woman. Her mastery of tailoring shows off perfectly shaped tailored jackets and her military theme meant that gold jacquard and navy velvets were transformed into stunningly adorned epaulette jackets."


“The Chanel tableau of the season was less opulent than previous seasons – the airport, the supermarket, the casino – but the minimalist suburban landscape carried a message on sustainability – “eco-couture”. I was intrigued by the many environmentally mindful techniques that were at work in the clothes, with wood chips whimsically used as beading, an organic colour palette, and recycled and ethical fabrications. With tweed twin sets and embellished shift dresses aplenty, the Chanel aesthetic was maintained coherently in spite of these novel parameters."

Christian Dior

"Despite a leaderless atelier, Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux lead the Dior studio beautifully, showing feminine and gasp-inducing feats of embroidery. Silhouettes were romantic while still keeping to Raf's legacy of modern cuts and DNA he quickly established while helming the brand. It was a confident showing as they await their new visionary and we all hold baited breath."


“Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli presented their ever-successful algorithm of gauzy, translucent, romantic Valentino fantasy once more. The Grecian narrative was a fitting context to exercise the atelier’s exacting drapery and craftsmanship. Although styled barefoot, we can imagine the gowns in the contemporary fairytale of awards season – Valentino’s occasional wear is failsafe for a sublime red carpet moment.”