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Is The Fashion Show Going Back To The Basics?

No big, elaborate sets and far-flung locations – Dior took its Fall Couture show back home to 30 Avenue Montaigne.

In the beginning, there were the ateliers. Fashion houses would welcome the who’s whos into their hallowed halls to witness the unveiling of a new haute couture collection. Models, sometimes holding number cards, would walk out in a slow, single file, each taking their time to show off the clothes they had on. The audience? Oh, they sat very close by, close enough to scrutinise every detail from hat to hem. It was simple, but it was intimate.

With all the chaos going on in the world today, a return to simplicity feels like a form of relief. For the fashion industry, which seems to be evolving faster than ever before, a return to simplicity and intimacy feels like a breath of fresh air. This may have been the reason behind Dior’s choice location for Couture Week – 30 Avenue Montaigne, the address of Dior’s atelier and the place where it all began. It’s obvious that Dior’s iconic “Bar” suit from 1947 served as the primary source of inspiration, but the looks were far more mid-2010s. Silhouettes were relaxed and unfussy, with some looking almost summer-appropriate. Hems grazed the ankles, exhibiting the shoe-of-the-moment in full view – black lace-up sandals. There was not a heel in sight. Couture with sandals? Why the hell not?

Dior is not the first in recent seasons to adopt the old-school method of showing a collection. Hedi Slimane did the same for his final collection at Saint Laurent back in March. Yesterday at Chanel’s Fall Couture 2016 show, Karl Lagerfeld transformed his go-to Grand Palais to resemble the workrooms at the house’s atelier on Rue Cambon. The set was complete with actual staff from Chanel, who carried on working on their sewing machines as the show went on around them. Elaborate sets and spectacular locations make for memorable shows, but ateliers have their own brand of magic, too.

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