The Craziest Paris Couture Runway Looks Through the Years

When it comes to haute couture, the traditional fashion rules fly out the window.

While stunning, over-the-top dresses are common fare at Haute Couture Week, some designers take things a step further with fantastical creations that seem unrealistic for life off the runway.

One of the first designers to take things to such an extreme was the late Alexander McQueen. Designing for Givenchy’s fall ’97 couture show, McQueen came up with a look that felt completely outside the realms of reality. He showed a furry dress that featured high shoulders and a gold-plated neckline. While the footwear — a pair of strappy sandals — was tame, the model’s golden makeup and feather-adorned hair added another element of fantasy.

Dress made of hair with pointed shoulders worn with stacked gold neck rings and porcupine quill headpiece in the Givenchy Fall/Winter Couture 1997 show in Paris designed by Alexander McQueenGivenchy Fall 1997 HC, Paris
Dress made of hair with pointed shoulders worn with stacked gold neck rings and porcupine quill headpiece in the Givenchy fall ’97 couture show.
CREDIT: Giannoni Giovanni/Penske Media

During the years that John Galliano served as creative director of Christian Dior, the brand’s couture looks were completely over-the-top. At the spring ’04 couture show, Galliano took inspiration from ancient Egypt. He sent models down the runway in elaborate gold gown and footwear, with elaborate accessories reminiscent of sarcophaguses completing the looks.

Model on the runway of the Christian Dior spring 2004 couture collection on January 19, 2004 in Paris, France...Article title: 'Quelle DifferenceChristian Dior Couture Spring 2004 Collection, Paris
A model wears a look from the Christian Dior spring ’04 couture collection.
CREDIT: Dominique Maitre/Penske Media

The Maison Martin Margiela fall ’12 couture show brought a wild element that the brand has repeated in subsequent seasons. Models walked the runway in beaded masks that obscured their entire faces. While the looks themselves — for instance, a silver dress and ankle boots — were nothing crazy, the headgear was an unusual and memorable element to the show.

A model on the runway at Maison Martin Margiela's fall 2012 haute couture show.Maison Martin Margiela Fall 2012 HC, Paris
A model on the runway at Maison Martin Margiela’s fall 2012 haute couture show.
CREDIT: Giovanni Giannoni/Penske Media

More recently, the Viktor & Rolf fall ’17 couture show, models wore doll heads and skin-tone gloves. While the dresses were within the bounds of normalcy, the bobble heads got fashion fans talking and were unlike anything else shown that season.

victor & rolf, fall 2017, haute couture, runway
A model wears a giant doll head at the Victor & Rolf fall ’17 couture show.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Click through the gallery to see more of the craziest couture runway looks.

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