ICYMI! Dior Haute Couture, Bella Hadid, Joan Smalls, Candice Swanepoel & More Walk For Off-White, And A New Era At Alaia

by Julia Oakes

It was a buzzy weekend in Paris, with no shortage of shows. In case you missed them, we’ve prepped a crib sheet of highlights for you.

Dior Haute Couture FW ’21

The runway has officially returned, and Maria Grazia Chiuri is making sure you know it. For her first IRL couture show in 18 months, Chiuiri tapped Dior’s archives as inspiration for her latest offering. Furthermore, after finishing Clare Hunter’s book, Threads of Life, the artistic director knew that her next collection should honor the traditions of weaving and embroidery, as well as the people integral to the craft. Aptly set against the backdrop of a 3,765 square-foot, hand-embroidered landscape stitched together by 320 artisans in Mumbai, India, the collection was something reminiscent of a 1960s-era Dior—boasting coordinating tweed sets, baker boy hats, swing coats, and both tailored and oversized knits. True to form, Goddess-like dresses in pleated and embroidered chiffon also danced down the runway. The collection spoke to the power of women, especially when they work together. As for those in attendance, Jennifer Lawrence, Cara Delevingne, Jessica Chastain, and the house’s latest global ambassador Yara Shahidi were sitting in the front row. 

Off-White Fall Winter ’21

If there’s anything we’ve learned from Virgil Abloh’s latest star-studded runway debut, it’s that cobalt blue might just be the color of the season. Though dubbed “Laboratory of Fun,” the collection spoke only to sophisticated tailoring and chic evening wear—and proved that bright colors are good for much more than the statement streetwear and accessories synonymous with the brand. Dancing down the runway, beginning with Bella Hadid in a show-stopping mini sheath and matching over-the-knee boots, was a genderless collection of see-now, buy-now pieces. Full-length gowns, leather suits, and slimline coats all flaunted high slits, exposed cinched fabric, foam padding, and hardware accessories. Also among those sporting Abloh’s latest were Honey Dijon, Alton Mason, Amber Valletta, Georgina Grenville, and Joan Smalls and Candice Swanepoel. To celebrate the brand’s return to the runway, English rapper M.I.A. joined models and front row fixtures to perform a medley of her hottest hits. For Abloh, the latest show marks the eight-year-old label’s transition out of its streetwear phase, as well as its evolution into something, perhaps, more sophisticated. The marriage of subtle neutrals with oranges, yellows, and blues make that transition seamless, proving that adulthood can be just as fun as adolescence. 

Alaïa Spring Summer ’22

Taking to the runway nearly four years after founder Azzedine Alaïa’s passing, all eyes were on new creative director Pieter Mulier and his debut collection. For his first-ever Alaïa offering, Mulier—otherwise known in the industry as Raf Simons’ right-hand man—kept to the legendary brand’s roots. Held at Maison Alaïa’s Parisian headquarters, where Alaïa himself once called home, the Belgian designer’s offering paid homage to the signature silhouettes and longstanding love affair with tailoring: head-to-toe bodysuits, knitwear, hooded tops, exaggerated fur, second-skin fabrics, and cinched waists were abounding. Calling it a “distillation” of the founder’s stylebook of designs, the collection was Mulier’s translation of old school Alaïa into something that’s bound to be a hit with a new generation of fans. His playbook? Tight, sculptural midis and sheer fabrics that evoked elements of sensuality, while also keeping draping elements and oversized pieces at the forefront of the offering. 


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