Modest Inspiration From The SS19 Couture Week

The Spring/Summer 2019 Paris Haute Couture Week ended on 24 January. After a short break, time for us to slowly get back to reality, we quickly delved into this season’s outstanding collections and picked to best inspirations for your own modest looks. Follow us on this journey through the most magical division of fashion and finally get to know more about Haute Couture and its strong bond with modest fashion.

What Makes Haute Couture Modest?

Before we start, let us explain what Haute Couture actually is. No, Haute Couture cannot be used to describe a slightly fancier-than-average luxury item. No, everything that is designer isn’t Haute Couture.

Haute Couture is undoubtedly one of the most misused words in the worlds of art and fashion. It is actually a very specific form of art which is protected by French law. There are currently only 15 permanent Haute Couture houses and a handful of guest members on the Paris Couture week but their creativity and freedom cannot be matched.  Although often ignored for it is considered too elite, Haute Couture can be a never-ending source of inspiration for the modest lady. Actually, Haute Couture is often modest by essence!

Resolute Timelessness

Fashion is undeniably creative but Haute Couture is pure art. With an extremely small pool of regular customers (approximately 200 women worldwide) and six-figure price tags, Couture is apart from the real world and completely immune to trends and market expectations. Women who can afford and actually purchase Couture pieces do not seek style and street credibility. They are looking after extraordinary, unique and phenomenal masterpieces. Couture designers are free of the constraints set by the current idea of beauty which provides their designs with a strong timeless feeling.
The “trendy” aspects of fashion like the length of a skirt or the depth of a neckline do not have a direct influence on Couture. That is not how things work in Fashion: Haute-Couture inspires Ready-to-wear fashion, not the other way around.

Traditional Elegance

There are few rules in Couture but collections must be artsy and represent the very epitome of elegance. The truth is in most cultures, elegance is traditionally modest, the rest being at best considered daring, at worst provocative.
Haute-Couture designers put a lot of efforts into turning the female silhouette into an awe-inspiring sculptural piece of art without relying directly on the shape of the body.
Fluidity, rigidity, and contrasts are strong characteristics of Couture designs which tend not to be overly tight-fitting.

Couture uses more fabric than any other forms of fashion. The more it covers, the more it tends to look Couture! As French journalist Loïc Prigent jokingly suggested in an interview with Vogue Paris: “To create a Couture look, get a roll of fabric and roll inside it. Make sure you use all of it. If it drags along the floor all the better.”

This Season’s Most Inspiring Looks For The Modest Lady

Stephane Rolland

Couture designs are typically supported by their details and the intricacy of their ornament.
Skin and body parts are not necessarily expected to complement the garment. Every inch of skin can be used as a support for more art and creativity. It just expands the size of the canvas!
The iconic Stephane Rolland is an expert at magnifying necks and wrists by covering them in delicate, elegant sculptures.
In his latest Summer 2019 collection, necks were covered with incredibly elegant floral neck-pieces crafted in rose gold while wrists were hidden behind fun and yet chic feathery materials. Such bold and strong accessories are perfect to elevate a monochrome look.
For Stephane Rolland truly has something for everyone, modest ladies who wish to cover their hair can also drain inspiration from the wonderful looking embroidered chiffon headscarves, carelessly tied on the heads and flowing to the lower backs of most models on the catwalk.

Julien Fournié

Images: Courtesy of Julien Fournié Haute Couture

Haute Couture can provide many tips on how to play with already existing pieces to bring creativity and modesty to an initially regular outfit.
This season, French designer Julien Fournié used an additional piece of fabric to complement a single-colour dress and provide further coverage to the neck. By passing it beneath the belt, he made it possible for both fabrics to blend and create a perfectly vintage monochrome impression. A clever play on textures heightens the contrast.
Julien Fournié also crafted a matching headgear which brings a perfect modest final touch to this look.

Katrine K

Photo credit: NowFashion

Katrine K’s Summer 2019 collection featured extremely clean lines and plain colours which perfectly cater to the minimalist values promoted by modest fashion.
The Monaco-based house revived prominent shoulder pads, although in a less extravagant way than Jean Paul Gaultier. Katrine K’s loose, high-neck top is not designed to showcase breasts and cleavage, all elements that are typically exposed in regular fashion pieces. Another step towards power dressing as high shoulders and trapezium-shaped silhouettes influence the perception of status in women who wear them.

Alexandre Vauthier

Photo credit: Vogue

Alexandre Vauthier never fails to impress. This season, the designer blessed us with many ideas on how to combine fun and modesty.
His collection confirmed that we should never be afraid to shine. Glitter revived the so-far so dull long black skirt. The combination with an equally daring and shining jacket is only acceptable for it is paired with a high-collar, long-sleeved shirt. One good example of how modesty can actually improve a look!


Photo credit: Vogue

Valentino offered surprising designs for a Couture show. Pierpaolo Piccioli played a rather safe card this season but it does not take away the originality of his looks. Fluidity was everywhere on the catwalk. The wide leg trousers – sweater – long coat combo is an established classic of modest fashion. Valentino managed to break the apparent simplicity of it by using silky fabrics and daring colours which clearly help elevate the outfit.

Author : Renaud Petit