Style Spy: People-Watching at Couture

Was that Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing we saw trying to go undetected as he nonchalantly slipped into the Giambattista Valli show

Olivia Palermo and Olivier Rousteing at the Giambattista Valli Fall/Winter 2018 Couture show in Paris. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.

People-watching has proved to be quite the pastime so far this week at the couture shows – as you might expect during one of the industry’s most creative and flamboyant of occasions. Yet one might imagine that there was more than ample fodder to entertain on the catwalk (recall, this is when fashion doesn’t have to stick to any rules, really). But as wait times set in and the heat starts to fester, the audience starts to fluster. It’s time to people watch! 

And when it comes to the matter of taking selfies, nowhere does it seem more appealing than at the front row of couture – especially if one falls into the not-a-buyer or not-the-press category and is caught up in the novelty and the excitement of it all as opposed to the “work” aspect (disclaimer: I’m never not happy to be at the couture shows!). Instagram is a hungry beast and couture, therefore, provides it with a substantial social meal. So there, at one show, where dresses glittered like all the best splendour from Barbie’s wardrobe with sequins and feathers in blue and pink, a phone “appeared” to film said wares (bustiers and ball skirts, gowns and trailing beads of zingy swing), yet in fact documented its own viewer’s delight instead (and this writer did all she could to dodge from shot) via a constant panoramic kind of shot. Meanwhile at the same show, a model took a flash moment to wave at (presumably) friends and family in the audience. 

Schiaparelli Fall/Winter 2018 Couture show in Paris. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.

At Schiaparelli, where Bertrand Guyon presented a typical eclectic fantasy world of fashion past, one too many models struggled to walk in the dresses, with Winnie Harlow almost taking a tumble while one fashion editor leaped in to catch her as she steadied herself professionally back into action. Later, as a navy blue gown wandered out, another fashion editor’s phone snapped to attention, this clearly the piece she was shopping for mentally in that moment. 

Maison Rabih Kayrouz Spring/Summer 2019 ready-to-wear show in Paris. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

And at Maison Rabih Kayrouz, an invited member designer of the schedule, his wearable clothes (emphasis on the word “clothes,” an often-overlooked piece of terminology in couture), everyone in the audience was wearing his stuff. Because it’s easy to wear. On the catwalk he had iconic fashion muses and former favourites of Galliano at Dior such as Chrystèle Saint Louis Augustin, Debra Shaw, and Georgina Grenville work it for him.

Sometimes, just sometimes, it pays to pay attention to your surroundings – and not your phone.