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Giorgio Armani creation at the haute couture show in Paris, 2016, Copyright: Reuters/B. Tessier
Image: Reuters/B. Tessier

Paris haute couture discovers art of practicality

Rachel Baig
January 27, 2016

Versace and Giorgio Armani have special privileges in the Paris haute couture scene - but also one small drawback. Join us for a look at the designers featured at this year's haute couture fashion show in Paris.


From Chanel's glamorous fanny packs for supersized smartphones to figure-flattering cuts from Versace, this year's haute couture in Paris isn't screaming, "Look, don't touch." There's even a slight nod to ergonomics and practicality.

That doesn't make the haute couture fashion event from January 24-28 any less elitist. Not just anyone is allowed to show their work.

The French fashion association, founded in 1973 out of a much older trade union dating back to 1868, who is included in the select circle of haute couture designers - and who is not.

The criteria are very strict and all fashion houses have to reapply each year. Their creations must be handmade unique pieces, and the designers need to have at least 15 tailors working in their studios.

The designers have to create 35 new designs per season in January and July, including both daytime and evening wear. Obligatory is that the company's headquarters have to be in Paris.

This rule, however, has been relaxed for Versace and Giorgio Armani, both from Milan. There's just one drawback for the Italians: They have to be content with the title "couture," without the valuable "haute."

(Haute) couture highlights from 2016

French fashion house Christian Dior epitomizes Parisian chic, innovation and elegance. For decades, the label has shaped the global fashion industry, both with its classic models and spectacular designs. Have a look at their latest collection in the video below.

Versace is famous for its bright colors, opulence and provocative cuts. Donatella Versace, the label's head designer since 1997, presented her latest designs on the first day of the fashion week in Paris.

Karl Lagerfeld became chief designer at Chanel in 1983, following in the footsteps of Coco Chanel's timeless elegance. In the 1920s, the French designer had changed the world of fashion with her "little black dress." Even today, Chanel is still chic.

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