The guidelines for making an Oscars “Best Dressed” list go a little something like this: pick a gown that is dramatic without being outrageous, is elegant enough to avoid offence, a little sexy without being too revealing and on-trend enough for a fashion insider.

In short, that can be paraphrased to ‘sexy, chic, safe’. (Seriously, no one ever won big by being wardrobe brave at the Academy Awards.)

And then there are these gowns. Each was presented at the recent Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2018 shows, each is a marvel of modern design sensibility – bold, inventive, daring and a little bit bizarre.

In short, they’re the stuff fashion critics and aficionados love, but so far down the ‘sexy, chic, safe’ spectrum, they’ll likely never enjoy a global red carpet debut. If they did, chances are mainstream (read: non-fashion) media might slam them into the opposite category to Best Dressed, more’s the pity.

That’s not to say they’re from outrageous or little-known brands either. Below, you’ll find Valentino, Giambattista Valli, Jean Paul Gaultier and Ralph and Russo (of Meghan Markle engagement photo fame) in our pick of the best in this field this year, along with some relative newcomers likeĀ Galia Lahav and XUAN. (Seriously, drop-crotch trousers have never looked so luxe.)

Schiaparelli‘s return-to-the-runway collection – its first since the Maison closed in 1954 – was full of bizarre elements that would have bamboozled anyone unfamiliar with the label founded in the 1930s by Elsa Schiaparelli (Coco Chanel’s great rival). A satin-clad model wearing bunny ears, leopard-on-leopard styling and flamingo motifs were a literal nod to the brand’s impressive archives.

And then there was Maison Margiela, bringing its own magnificent style of ‘seriously, what the?’ moment. Creativity at its mind-blowing most, even if Rihanna is the only person who’d dare to wear it.

All we can hope is that some of these make the Met Gala 2019’s front steps.

25 BIZARRE BUT INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL COUTURE FW18 LOOKS

Ralph Russo, Fashion Show,Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Jean Paul Gaultier, Fashion Show,Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Xuan Fashion Show, Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Valentino, Fashion Show,Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Giambattista Valli, Fashion Show, Haute Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Galia Lahav Fashion Show, Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Maison Rabih Kayrouz, Fashion Show, Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Iris Van Herpen, Fashion Show, Haute Couture Collection, Spring Summer 2019 in Paris
Maison Margiela Fashion Show, Haute Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Valentino, Fashion Show,Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
NIHILO, Fashion Show, Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Aganovich Fashion Show, Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Viktor Rolf, Fashion Show, Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
RVDK, Fashion Show, Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Antonio Ortega Fashion Show, Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Zuhair Murad, Fashion Show, Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Franck Sorbier, Fashion Show, Couture, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Giambattista Valli, Fashion Show, Haute Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Patuna, Fashion Show, Couture, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Viktor Rolf, Fashion Show, Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Jean Paul Gaultier, Fashion Show,Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Giambattista Valli, Fashion Show, Haute Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Schiaparelli, Fashion Show,Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Giambattista Valli, Fashion Show, Haute Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
Schiaparelli, Fashion Show,Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2018 in Paris
thoughts?