haute couture ss24

The must-see looks from Haute Couture Week SS24

26 Jan 2024 | Updated on: 13 Feb 2024 |By Zoe Gunn

Discover this season’s most fantastical fashion

So here we are once again. Merely three weeks into the new year and the merry-go-round of major women’s fashion weeks has already kicked off – starting, as always, in serious style with Haute Couture Week in Paris.

First though: a quick primer on the distinction between ready-to-wear and couture. Unlike the four core fashion weeks in London, New York, Milan and Paris, talent, funding and sufficient interest alone will not get a designer on the Haute Couture Week schedule. Instead, each house must be invited by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM) – the French equivalent of the British Fashion Council – having met very specific criteria.

These include creating made-to-order garments for private clients, with each piece requiring one or more fittings; maintaining a Paris atelier with at least 15 full-time staff; and presenting a minimum of 50 looks at the twice-yearly Haute Couture Week. Another key facet of haute couture is the craftsmanship and innovation that goes into each piece. Handmade by the legendary petit mains – widely considered to be the most skilled seamstresses in the world – it is this level of care and attention-to-detail which means couture garments are the most elevated, avant garde and exquisite you’ll see each year.

Got a few hundred thousand to drop on a dress? Then let’s go shopping. Read on for the most spectacular looks from Haute Couture Week SS24.


For his latest outing at Fendi, Kim Jones looked back to Karl Lagerfeld’s work at the Italian fashion house to inspire a futurism-themed couture collection. “In the collection there is a humanism at the heart of this future; there’s the body, the silhouette within the silhouette, the person and the handwork of the couture,” explains Jones. “The collection is about structure and decoration, where the two become indivisible. I wanted an idea of precision and emotion at once.”

On the runway this translated to, on the one hand, light, floaty gowns cut in the flou to create weightless volume and, on the other, precise tailoring rendered in fine cashmere, mohair and vicuna wool. The two come together in Scatola: a new and deceptively minimal silhouette for the house. Translating as ‘the box’, these silk gazar strapless gowns married a heavily-structured, straight-cut top with a draped skirt to create the epitome of quiet luxury.

For Spring 2024, Jones also enlisted the help of Delfina Delettrez, artistic director of jewellery, and Silvia Venturini Fendi, artistic director of accessories and menswear, to give the house’s signature finishing touches a couture twist. Among the standouts were custom sunglasses tailored to the wearer using measurements from facial scans and crafted in 18k white gold and diamonds, alongside the new Fendi Gems Baguette bag, which was seen on the catwalk in a miniature version rendered in crocodile leather with 18k white gold, white diamond and platinum leaf hardware.

Visit fendi.com


Held in the Rodin Museum gardens, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s latest collection for Dior was shown against a backdrop of Big Aura – an installation by artist Isabella Ducrot comprised of 23 enormous gowns echoing the dress of Ottoman sultans and a study in the power of garments to have symbolism beyond the body.

This was reflected on the catwalk in a collection that captured the aura of the house of Dior by tracing a line from the eponymous founder – and specifically his fascination with moiré fabric (a finish applied to give material a wavy appearance) – to the brand’s modern silhouettes. Taking Dior’s 1952 La Cigale dress as her starting point, the original’s nipped waist, highly-structured wide skirt and sculptural neckline were in evidence across pieces that were simultaneously strong and sensuous.

Imbued with a mid-century aesthetic, which provided a departure from Grazia Chiuri’s signature romantic designs, highlights included a series of iridescent midi dresses with playful necklines, dramatic feather-embellished capes and a shawl-collar gown worthy of any Hollywood starlet. We’re calling this one for the Oscars red carpet.

Visit dior.com


Named Le Salon, after the traditional designer showrooms in which couture collections were originally shown, for Spring 2024 Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli interrogates the unique mores and expectations of Haute Couture – a form of fashion in which the seemingly impossible is made reality – and their place in an era where we are all bombarded with the augmented, artificial and unbelievable everyday. Couture but make it Instagram, if you will.

The upshot is a collection of contradiction and illusion. Take a closer look at that green crocodile skin coat and you’ll see that it’s actually an intricate web of hand-cut sequins. Are those really marabou feathers or delicate coils of silk organza? As if in direct revolt to ‘influencer greige’, Piccioli once again proved his mastery with colour, reviving his signature Pink PP hue alongside primary brights which brought an almost childlike joy to classic ballgowns and tailored trousers.

In an age of AI anxiety and social media-induced stress, Piccioli took couture back to its birthplace in a celebration of the tangible, physical beauty that can be produced when we bypass digital shortcuts and embrace the ingenuity and skill of the human hand. Colour us refreshed.

Visit valentino.com

Armani Privé

Next year will mark Giorgio Armani’s 20th anniversary in the rarified world of Haute Couture. Given that he’s now 89, albeit seemingly in perfect health and still going strong, it was never a given that he would reach that milestone. Perhaps that’s why the designer, famed for sticking steadfastly to his self-imposed aesthetic codes of strong tailoring, dark hues and sumptuous fabrics, seems to have lightened up a little this season. After all, shouldn't fashion, even in its highest form, be fun?

Describing the collection ahead of the show as “peculiar”, it’s a shift in tone that seems to have taken the designer a little by surprise but, judging by the reaction of an audience that included Gwyneth Paltrow, Glenn Close, Juliette Binoche and Ronaldo, not one that was entirely unwelcome. While Armani classics – the long line coats, the balloon trousers, the bracelet-length sleeves – were in evidence, the overall effect was freer and more playful than we’ve come to expect from Armani. Pattern and embellishment abounded throughout, while long, loose layers added texture and movement to everything from silk trousers to ombre ruffled gowns. It’s party time at Armani.

Visit armani.com

Tamara Ralph

Having returned to the world of Haute Couture last year under her own name, following a hugely successful tenure at the creative helm of the now-dissolved house Ralph & Russo, Tamara Ralph’s Spring 2024 collection was evidence of a designer truly having fun with her craft. A riot of colour and embellishment underpinned by impeccable construction, these are gowns that demand an occasion befitting of their grandeur. Forget subtlety, this is the collection everyone really wants to see when Haute Couture Week rolls around.

It’s testament to Ralph’s skill that she can create gowns brimming with sparkle and shimmer without tipping over into brashness. Instead there was a hint of the glamorous ‘70s hostess in floor-sweeping feather-trimmed gowns, while others were imbued with the romance and hope of a spring garden via floral detailing and trellis-style finishings. Let others busy themselves with notions of refinement and good taste, Tamara Ralph’s is the couture for which we all came to town.

Visit tamararalph.com

Tony Ward

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the Golden Ratio makes a pretty good basis on which to build a couture collection. That ratio, approx. 1.62, and also known as Phi or the Fibonacci number, abounds throughout the natural world, as well as in art and architecture, and represents the proportions which best transfer to the human brain, thus underscoring our perception of beauty. Like we said, not a bad place to start if you want someone to drop the equivalent of a house deposit on a dress.

The Golden Ratio’s occurrence in nature also offers rich ground for showcasing Ward’s skill in fabric manipulation. Sweeping curves exaggerate the lines of the body on slinky asymmetric gowns and add drama and volume via cascades of ruffles on more traditional silhouettes. A palette of sea blues, vibrant greens, deep reds and elegant silvers and golds also draws on the four elements, with some disco-ready metallics thrown in for good measure. Exquisitely crafted and deeply flattering, we smell a sell-out collection.

Visit tonyward.net

Read more: 2024's most spectacular high jewellery collections