Image source: Elle
The value of couture in the digital age has been much debated – it works, after all, at a polar opposite pace to the rest of luxury fashion, which has become so sped up as to see its seasons increasingly merge. But in a fast-paced industry subject to near-constant fashion weeks and the rise of the mid-season collection, Paris Haute Couture Week has retained its sense of occasion.
Paradoxically, for the facet of the industry most dedicated to creating in slow-time, the value of couture for luxury houses is now anchored in instant gratification, too. In a fashion environment that’s inextricable from social media, the bigger the event, the better the buzz.
In Paris, the most traditional and luxurious of houses has also emerged as the most social-media savvy of recent times. Chanel mounted its star-studded online offensive with a fantasy casino set up in the Grand Palais. There, the likes of Julianne Moore, Lara Stone, Kristen Stewart and Lily-Rose Depp (daughter of Vanessa and Johnny and Instagram heroine to teenage girls everywhere) placed their bets on gambling tables. The show, inevitably, hit the social buzz jackpot, enthralling press and followers alike.
Elsewhere during couture week, Giambattista Vali x Mac’s rose-covered Opéra and Dior’s pointillist church made the point that the outside of the show can pack just as much of a social media punch as the inside. What’s more, though Miu Miu has no couture collection of its own, the brand made the schedule work for its own benefit – throwing a disco party to show its Resort 16 collection that doubled up as a launch for its first ever fragrance. For brand-loyal fans, the #MiuMiuClub was a reminder of what youth and fun can do for couture – even without any couture clothes to speak of.
The value of physical events to brands in a social-mediated world is something not lost on many consumer brands: just look at the Super Bowl in the US, where the ad break bonanza resonates across social media like never before. But during a high-fashion institution like Haute Couture Week, the injection of social media value forms an important part of the pushback against minimalism for global brands: as the clothes, event and social media output of houses like Chanel demonstrate, it is still worth gambling on all-out excess.
Reported by Claire Healy