The Best Paris Haute Couture Shows Made Theatricality Chic Again

The Best Paris Haute Couture Shows Made Theatricality Chic Again

Catch the dreamiest runway looks from Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week Spring 2024



When cavemen first pinned together dead animal skins and draped them over their bodies, they were probably just trying to keep warm and protect themselves from the elements. Clothing has always been function first, form second—even at the high-end designer level, ready-to-wear clothes have always been produced to fit the day-to-day lifestyles of people.


The same cannot be said for haute couture, however. While most ready-to-wear clothing is created to address basic needs, couture exists on a plane totally untethered from reality. As it doesn’t have to be mass-produced for general consumption, couture is an avenue where fashion’s best imaginations can soar and fantastical worlds are made real; where new ideas are explored, introduced and amplified.


For the recent couture shows in Paris, fashion’s top designers fully ran with couture’s fantastical aspects and showed impractical yet stunning flights of fancy on the runway. From full theatrical, avant-garde spectacles to more intellectual and conceptual fare, check out the 10 best collections from Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week’s 2024 spring runways.


Maison Margiela Haute Couture

Images via Instagram


Trust John Galliano to come up with a collection so moving, so emotional and so resonant in today’s social-media-fueled age. Inspired by photographer Brassaï’s portraits of seedy prostitutes and crossdressers in 1930s Paris, Galliano creates a world where society’s most shunned freaks are not only welcomed but celebrated. Models sashayed looking like porcelain dolls, with waists corseted so tightly for a grotesque effect—perhaps commentary on how too much artifice can weigh any person down? Without a doubt, this collection will go down in history as one of fashion’s most iconic shows.


Schiaparelli Couture

Images via Instagram


This season, creative director Daniel Roseberry was inspired by the rapid evolution of technology, both with how it quickly discards once-useful innovations, and also how the past informs the future. With the house’s typical surrealist flourishes, he showed intricately detailed gowns that highlight the tension between the two—a standout piece is this “motherboard” cocktail dress encrusted with thousands of Swarovski crystals and old outdated modes of technology like flip phones and CDs.


Robert Wun

Images via Instagram


With each season, daring London-based couturier Robert Wun continually proves that he has the chops to create garments that both stun and titillate. Using classic campy slasher movies as a reference, he created immaculately constructed looks based on a horror theme that somehow still feels witty and whimsical. We’re in love with the finale’s blood-splattered wedding gown carefully encrusted with hundreds of crimson glass beads—a look fit for the coolest IDGAF bride!


Rahul Mishra

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New Delhi-based designer Rahul Mishra is certainly making a splash in fashion as the next hot designer to watch out for. He’s slowly been making a name for himself with his love for nature and high-level craftsmanship, even becoming the first Indian designer invited to show at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week in 2020. This season, he was inspired by biodiversity and the species we would normally take for granted; hence, a dreamy tulle cape gown festooned with bedazzled dragonflies and a cocktail dress designed to look like brightly-hued moths under a petri dish.


Simone Rocha for Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture

Images via Instagram


Every Paris couture season brings about a fun guessing game: Who will be the guest designer at Jean Paul Gaultier Couture? This time around, the honor fell on coquette cult fashion designer Simone Rocha and she did not disappoint. There was a strong sense of her trademark feminine design ethos imbued in this collection (peep the classic Simone Rocha bows), but taken to the next level—details like 18th-century panniers and the 1920s robe de style were resurrected, corseting detailing and bejeweled fringe abounded, and the craftsmanship was simply beyond. (Can you imagine how many hours it must have taken to hand-crochet the gown on the upper right?)


Valentino Haute Couture

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Pierpaolo Piccioli has proved that he’s a master at wielding romance, and this season is no different. What’s new, however, is the play of textures mingling with one another: from rich shiny crocodile leather, soft cashmere and a sumptuous scarlet cape affixed with thousands of rose petals. Rendered all in Piccioli’s masterful color-blocking, this is a collection that redefines classic elegant luxury for the modern age.


Gaurav Gupta

Images via Instagram


There’s a reason why the world’s biggest stars like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion all gravitate to Gaurav Gupta come awards season. The Indian couturier has proven himself adept at delivering the drama in the most no-holds-barred glamorous manner possible. From his sculptural gowns that swoop high and low in every direction to his jaw-dropping metallic beadwork, he’s a choice designer for the woman looking to turn heads.


Armani Privé

Images via Instagram


Whimsy and fun aren’t words you’d normally associate with the Armani aesthetic. Known primarily for designing no-nonsense yet crisply elegant pieces for the socialite set, the renowned designer sent down looks defined with flounces, color and movement down the runway this couture season. It all feels like Armani reimagined for a younger set of couture clients, in the very best way possible.


Yuima Nakazato

Images via Instagram


Tokyo-based couturier Yuima Nakazato was in a meditative mood this season. Entitled Utakata (the Japanese word for “ephemeral”), he sought to create couture-level menswear that strayed from the functional and instead felt like what ancient Spartan soldiers would wear to battle. Beautiful toga-like draping flourished on men’s blouses that still felt masculine, while intricate beadwork came together to create an armor-like effect.


Viktor & Rolf Haute Couture

Images via Instagram


Aptly called Viktor & Rolf Scissorhands, the newest collection from the avant-garde Dutch duo was conceptual couture at its finest. Four garments were sent out at a time, with the first being a traditional garment like a ball gown or an overcoat. With a few choice snips, the next succeeding pieces would be reiterations of the same garment that were technically the same but felt totally different—a collection for the more intellectual fashionista.


While great gowns, beautiful gowns are always welcome, the best couture collections urge you to think, imagine and dream outside your life experiences. And isn’t that just fabulous?



Words Jer Capacillo 

Art Macky Arquilla

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