Ready-to-wear showings in New York, London, Milan and Paris–and the newer fashion hubs like Tbilisi, Berlin, Kiev, Sydney, Seoul, Tokyo, Stockholm and Copenhagen–all lead up to Haute Couture in Paris come January and July, when the world’s most avant garde, outside-the-box confections and concepts walk a select few designers’ catwalks. But you know all about this, and you await it with breath just as bated as we do–because Couture is the gold standard that graces the red carpet, a select few It-girl aisles and other than that, where it’s worn remains a mystery…until now.

During Fall 2017 Haute Couture, we headed to Paris to debunk the query Couture has often left us pondering. Can these pom-pom adorned, oversized, tiered and embellished creations be worn in real life? After seasons of street style and many age-old discussions regarding fashion’s place in the art world and whether wearability naturally makes a garment utilitarian rather than a collector’s item, we decided to put one of the season’s most jaw-dropping creations to the test.

Enter Giambattista Valli‘s string of finale ball gowns for his latest Haute Couture presentation, each one grander and more pleated, tiered and saccharine pink than the next. Red carpet superstars like Rihanna and Kendall Jenner have worn altered versions of these looks in real life–with an array of handlers, stylists and seamstresses on hand to help them make it to the end of a long carpet without taking a tumble and adjustments made to ensure the perfect fit. Instead, we gave up-and-coming face Solange Smith one of the designer’s most inventive and challenging silhouettes as her OOTD, and challenged her to wear Couture IRL. Here, what 24 hours looks like when Couture takes the streets.

8:30a.m. After a restful night’s sleep in a suite at the Plaza Athenée, it’s time to start the day. A statement look requires minimal makeup and easy hair. Delicate earrings and an ear cuff add some edge to the pomp and circumstance of a ballgown.

9a.m. Slip into something less comfortable–like a pair of Alexandre Birman velvet stilettos and a pleated tulle, pop-pink, high-low ball gown.

After touch-ups, head out for the day. Getting into cars is cumbersome, so it’s best to take the metro. Upon exiting the metro, aside from trying to get your bearings, strike a pose–you’re in Couture after all.

Head to Le Marais for people watching and a late morning coffee; be sure to grab a seat on the outskirts of any outdoor seating area to avoid onlookers, bystanders and fellow coffee sippers stepping on your train. Strangers who don’t give you enough space to exist when you’re sporting a cathedral length gown are the worst.

A pang of hunger on the horizon and an empty fridge call for a trip to Le Grand Epicerie, where you can sneak a cherry tomato and a berry or two in the produce section and stock up on gourmet goodies, indulge in a pastry and grab the essentials. The best part? The aisles here are luxuriously wide enough for the breadth of your full skirt.

1p.m. After a quick bite, browse the floors at Le Bon Marché–start in the beauty department and work your way up. Rather than simply browsing, challenge yourself to find the look that rivals your OOTD.

Yoga or Pilates seem impossible in your current ensemble, and your train would likely get caught on any and all equipment. Taking a brisk walk and breaking into a run for a bit of cardio is your best bet.

Take a load off, you’ve been running around all day…in an 8-foot train.

6:30p.m. Once you walk through the door and shed your tiers of tulle, relax, order room service for dinner and plan to turn in early. After all, sporting Couture on the daily requires ample amounts of beauty sleep.


Stylist Carrie Goldberg; Director of Photography Robert Dumé; Photography by Tyler Joe; Market Editor Tennille Yamashita; Makeup by Moani Lee for The Beauty Exchange NYC; Hair by Jenna Rosenstein; Casting by Muzam Productions; Model Solange Smith for The Face Paris wearing Giambattista Valli gown, Alexandre Birman shoes, Colette earrings and Ana Khouri ear cuff. Special Thanks to Le Bon Marché, Le Grand Epicerie, Chez Janou and Hotel Plaza Athenée.