Fantasy fashion: new fur techniques dazzle at the AW17 Haute Couture shows

Every season, the Paris couture shows celebrate and showcase the astounding craftsmanship that springs from skilled atelier hands with painstaking attention to detail. Fur is treated with such innovation and dedication to perfection that it’s almost impossible to imagine how such garments come to life. We round up the couture moments that took our breath away.

“Flowers from another world” was Karl Lagerfeld’s tagline for Fendi’s masterful ‘Haute Fourrure’ show. In a garden of furry delights, the fantasy flowerbeds were awash with purple and blue mink poppies amidst a rosy fox coat and coral miniskirt curved like tulip petals. True to form, the Fendi ateliers had dreamed up ingenious new ways to work with fur: sheared mink became lace stretching sensually across the body while a shaved mink cape on a matching coat had been hand-painted like a floral watercolour canvas. Another standout piece was a cocooning cape constructed from 10,000 shaved mink paillettes hand-stitched onto silk organza like an impressionist painting seen up close.

Ulyana Sergeenko
Femme fatales and a 1940s photograph of Sergeenko’s grandmother kicked off a strong, ultra-glamorous fur-filled collection. The forties silhouette – commanding shoulders, nipped-in waists – made for serious statement furs: a Saga® Pearl Mink coat with a sumptuous tonal Saga® Platinum Gold Fox collar extending into a full skirt, a mannish Saga® Palomino Mink coat with plush white fox and a Saga® Fox and Mink coat dyed in black and dark chocolate suit striping. But there were whimsical elements, too: a grey coat with Saga® Silver Fox sleeves and hem, embroidered with delicate garlands and trumpets. In looks like these, it’s definitely okay to blow your own horn.

Jean Paul Gaultier
It was sweltering in Paris, but Gaultier took us to a very haute Christmas ski resort. A signature slouchy cardigan jacket in a nostalgic Fair Isle pattern was elevated with a glossy black mink lapel while a coat sparkling with warm copper took cover under a black mink cape – après-ski, next level.

Elie Saab
Winter is coming, and Saab went all out with medieval warrior queens that made everyone think of Game of Thrones and its powerful female message. Dyed fox wraps in dusty rose and petroleum blue were gorgeous accents against sweeping gold-embroidered gowns and capes (capes: definitely an autumn couture trend) and came closed with gilded fastenings.

Monique Lhuillier
New York-based Lhuillier had come to Paris to show her SS18 ready-to-wear collection during couture, and there was a definite fairytale side to her fur: a fox and ostrich feather coat-slash-dress in the colour of a glass of pale summer rosé – light, hyper-feminine prettiness.