Haute couture becomes political


Protests, bans, inequality and violence. Those are a few of the things that we as citizens of America and the world have witnessed since the year began. Protests in airports and in the streets of the world’s most popular cities. Multiple shootings where innocent people have died for being at the wrong place at the wrong time and an exponentially-growing divide between the nation’s political parties.

In the midst of this chaotic environment, one of the most opulent and lavish events took place: Haute Couture Fashion Week. Haute couture is synonymous with high-end fashion. The clothes are custom-made using only high quality fabric and with extreme attention to detail. Haute Couture Fashion Week has been a part of the fashion industry since the mid-nineteenth century.

This year, the shows took place in Paris just a week after the Women’s March, where thousands upon thousands of men, women and children marched through the streets in cities around the world to protest President Trump. Thus, to have something so glamorous and over-the-top right after a worldwide protest seemed inappropriate and unnecessary to some.

However, the beautiful fabrics and glittering silhouettes was how the fashion industry took part in the protest. The designers created clothing that gave the audience a feeling of optimism and hope for the future of our world.

Elie Saab, debuted a collection of golden, beaded dresses and silky skirts that the designer, Saab, said was inspired by the turn of the 20th century in Egypt.

During that time the people in Egypt were able to freely express themselves in a progressive and cultural hub. Saab used that idea to embroider his dresses with pictures of city skylines and boats sailing along the Nile River.

The dreamlike dresses gave the audience a sense of wonder. The collection served as a reminder that while the present is chaotic, there is always something to look forward to on the horizon.

Valentino, showcased a collection that depicted a pure and classic aesthetic that is reminiscent of Grecian goddesses and architecture. The smooth lines and flowing cloaks reminded me of the popular saying “less is more.”

The simplicity of the collection was a direct contrast to the complexity of our reality. It served as a much needed simple distraction to the disarray that is so apparent in our daily lives.

The Vetements show was a praise to one’s unique and individualistic attitude, something that seems to be at risk in this political climate. The inspiring collection was modeled by people of different ethnicities, races and ages.

They walked down the runway wearing eccentric ensembles including all leather outfits, long fur coats and silk dresses over hoodies.

Imprinted on some of the outerwear were saying like “Not Your Resident,” which mirrored the popular saying against President Trump, “Not My President.”

While these are just three examples of the way designers used the uneasy political mood as a major theme in their haute couture collections, many other fashion houses did the same like Maison Margiela, Jean Paul Gaultier and Chanel.

The designers took advantage of their stature, the large audiences and publicity of the week to make a statement. That statement being: there is a light at the end of the dark tunnel.