If there's anything else that lifts our spirits besides a politically charged Cardi B tangent or this video of a baby pug named Pepito, it's clothes — specifically, haute couture. No matter where you're watching from — the front rows of Paris or via Instagram — couture week delivers unrequited bliss. Though we can't afford any of it, we still can't help but love it. And it's why, in recent seasons, so much of what happens during the week goes viral: Valentino, Celine (Dion), Viktor & Rolf, etc.
But one dress — er, one style of dress, we should say — held court over the others. It's a dress you've most likely seen before, on Rihanna or Kelsey Lu (you're welcome), but probably never pictured yourself in. It's cumbersome and boisterous — unapologetically so — and it packs a hefty dry-cleaning fee (if you can figure out how to clean hundreds, if not thousands, of layers of tulle). From Giambattista Valli, who sent a dozen of them down his spring 2019 couture runway, to Jean Paul Gaultier, Schiaparelli, and others, it seems a monstrous tulle number is the ultimate crowd pleaser. But we've seen it before.
It's true that there can only be so many trends, despite how endless our imagination turns out to be when it comes to cataloguing them each season, but fashion is indeed cyclical. And the entire point of haute couture-level clothes is that they're one of a kind; that they're made by hand is besides the point. But it can't be coincidence that more than five couturiers made essentially the same dress just in different colours, right? Or maybe it can.
It's unlikely that designers are fresh out of ideas, but despite what this dress style lacks in practicality, it must make up for in profitability. (In other words, these couturiers are all betting that this style will please their customers, the 4000 folks around the world willing to spend £40,000 to £250,000 on a single dress.) For an industry that operates on its own schedule, and often seeks the skills of outsides embroidery houses and artisans (like Lesage), it's a rare moment of duplication. So far, the silhouette has yet to trickle past contemporary designers (à la Molly Goddard) and down to fast-fashion. Either way, it's a welcome escape from the '90s craze that's consumed the ready-to-wear market for the past decade. Could this be a warning that the '80s are upon us once again?