Paris couture week is over, and these were the most exquisite gowns

Yahoo Lifestyle

After a four-day whirlwind of fashion shows, Paris Haute Couture fashion week has come to a close. Although the time frame is much shorter than NYFW‘s upcoming 10-day marathon, the stunning gowns just wouldn’t stop. But that’s the magic of couture: All of the gowns are custom made and one of a kind, with most constructed by hand at the fashion houses’ ateliers.

One Elie Saab couture dress, for example, was hand-embroidered with 9,000 sequins and crystals. The process took 12 people more than three months — a total of 500 hours. Plenty of other couture collections had hidden stories, too, and all of the dresses were undeniably beautiful.

Interestingly, couture dresses are not sold afterwards like ready-to-wear pieces, which are picked up by buyers and sold in stores following their runway debuts. Instead, because of the couture dresses’ uniqueness and high level of craftsmanship, each piece is considered a prized possession for both the fashion house and designer — and anyone with enough cash to want to buy one. (Couture gowns can cost upwards of a few hundred thousand dollars).

So why does couture even exist?

“Couture supposes a high level of creativity and a high level of savoir faire delivered in the atelier. And also the absolute level of individualization,” Pascal Morand, the executive president of the Fédération Française de la Couture, explained to the New York Times. In essence, it provides designers with an unparalleled avenue along which imagination and creativity can flow freely, away from any retail pressure to hit a specific sales mark. The result? Dreamy, inspirational — as well as aspirational — gowns.

So without further ado, here are the most exquisite dresses from couture fashion week.

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<p>Kaia Gerber makes her couture debut wearing a pink feather-and-crystal dress from the Chanel SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Chanel

Kaia Gerber makes her couture debut wearing a pink feather-and-crystal dress from the Chanel SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a long, sleeveless, silver crystal-embellished gown from the Chanel SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Chanel

Model wears a long, sleeveless, silver crystal-embellished gown from the Chanel SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a blush pink pleated halter dress with colored crystal embellishments from the Chanel SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Chanel

Model wears a blush pink pleated halter dress with colored crystal embellishments from the Chanel SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a couture version of the “choker dress,” decorated with floral appliqués and beads from the Chanel SS18 Haute Couture show.(Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Chanel

Model wears a couture version of the “choker dress,” decorated with floral appliqués and beads from the Chanel SS18 Haute Couture show.(Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a black-and-white checkered, feathered cape and matching gown from the Dior SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Dior

Model wears a black-and-white checkered, feathered cape and matching gown from the Dior SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a white and black feathered bodice gown featuring black tulle, from the Dior SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Dior

Model wears a white and black feathered bodice gown featuring black tulle, from the Dior SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a surrealist-inspired silver crystal dress from the Dior SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Dior

Model wears a surrealist-inspired silver crystal dress from the Dior SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a yellow-floral embellished dress with a wide cage skirt from the Guo Pei SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Guo Pei

Model wears a yellow-floral embellished dress with a wide cage skirt from the Guo Pei SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a voluminous, strapless gown featuring opulent gold floral embellishments from the Guo Pei SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Guo Pei

Model wears a voluminous, strapless gown featuring opulent gold floral embellishments from the Guo Pei SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a semi-sheer crystal and sequin-embroidered dress with matching headpiece from the Elie Saab SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Elie Saab

Model wears a semi-sheer crystal and sequin-embroidered dress with matching headpiece from the Elie Saab SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a black turtleneck and multi-colored tier skirt from the Givenchy SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Givenchy

Model wears a black turtleneck and multi-colored tier skirt from the Givenchy SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a blue- and silver-embellished gown with long gold tassel earrings from the Givenchy SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Givenchy

Model wears a blue- and silver-embellished gown with long gold tassel earrings from the Givenchy SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a silver sequined and beaded fringe gown under a black feather-trimmed coat from the Givenchy SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Givenchy

Model wears a silver sequined and beaded fringe gown under a black feather-trimmed coat from the Givenchy SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a white, long-sleeved gown with petal appliqués from the Givenchy SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Givenchy

Model wears a white, long-sleeved gown with petal appliqués from the Givenchy SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a blush-pink satin gown from the Givenchy SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Givenchy

Model wears a blush-pink satin gown from the Givenchy SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a voluminous lime-green, multi-tier tulle gown from the Giambattista Valli SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Giambattista Valli

Model wears a voluminous lime-green, multi-tier tulle gown from the Giambattista Valli SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a dress accented with floral appliqués from the Giambattista Valli SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Giambattista Valli

Model wears a dress accented with floral appliqués from the Giambattista Valli SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a pink feather- and crystal-embellished gown from the Ralph & Russo SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Ralph & Russo

Model wears a pink feather- and crystal-embellished gown from the Ralph & Russo SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Herpen, known for using 3D printing in her work, is able to create new shapes and forms previously unseen in the fashion industry. Here, a model wears one of her pieces during Paris Haute Couture fashion week. (Photo: Getty) </p>
Iris Van Herpen

Herpen, known for using 3D printing in her work, is able to create new shapes and forms previously unseen in the fashion industry. Here, a model wears one of her pieces during Paris Haute Couture fashion week. (Photo: Getty)

<p>Model wears a semi-sheer dress with silver and gold embellishments from the Iris Van Herpen SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Iris Van Herpen

Model wears a semi-sheer dress with silver and gold embellishments from the Iris Van Herpen SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a svelte one-shoulder black velvet gown with silver embellishments from the Ralph & Russo SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Ralph & Russo

Model wears a svelte one-shoulder black velvet gown with silver embellishments from the Ralph & Russo SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Model wears a multi-tier, pink feather and crystal dress from the Ralph & Russo SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Ralph & Russo

Model wears a multi-tier, pink feather and crystal dress from the Ralph & Russo SS18 Haute Couture show. (Photo: Getty Images)

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