Five new houses make the Haute Couture July guest list

The next edition of the Paris Haute Couture Week will welcome a whole five new labels: A.F. Vandevorst, Azzaro, Proenza Schouler, Rodarte and Ronald van der Kemp. The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture has extended invitations to these houses for the chance to show their collections during the July edition.

Azzaro, Spring-Summer 2017 - DR

For the most recent January edition, six labels had received the prestigious guest invitations to show off their creations. This latest guest roster for the summer session is more proof of high interest in the Haute Couture Week, especially among foreign brands. Couture week gives them the chance to present their collections in Paris, the fashion industry's mecca, and it also offers an opportunity to show earlier in the season ahead of the regular calendar.

Besides the prestige, a spot on the Couture schedule also lets labels fill orders earlier, thus giving their collections a longer life in retail. American brands Rodarte and Proenza Schouler decided to relocate to the City of Light with such a time line in mind. Rodarte, under the helm of sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, has opted to skip New York for the next two seasons.

Proenza Schouler is pursuing the same strategy, announcing in January that it would be moving from New York to Paris, which it said would "aid in achieving the company’s short and long-term goals, and enable the organization to function in a way that is more aligned with the demands of the industry today." Known for its contemporary, avant-garde style, the New York label led by Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough will present both its main collection and cruise collection in a single show.

Belgian designers An and Filip Vandervorst from A.F. Vandervorst have stayed away from the runway for two seasons now, instead opting for new presentation formats that include videos and a virtual showroom. Come July, they will return to the catwalk, this time as part of the Haute Couture week in Paris, staging a show that combines both the traditional and high-tech.


A look from the most recent RVDK collection - ronaldvanderkemp.com

Less surprising was the invitation of French brand Azzaro. Founded in 1967 by Loris Azzaro, the historic label has always been known for its couture line. The house is meanwhile in the midst of a total reboot, having just named Maxime Simoëns as its new artistic director.

Nor does the presence of Ronald van den Kemp come as much of a surprise. The Dutch designer had already been presenting his demi-couture line during Paris Fashion Week. A graduate of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy of Art and Design in Amsterdam, van der Kamp first worked some 25 years as a consultant-designer for many international companies, including Céline, Escada and Wolford. He decided to launch a solo career in 2015, founding his own luxury label RVDK, which specializes in womenswear that is both chic and modern, with a touch of surrealism.

Translated by Susan Spies

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