Last year, designers who usually relish haute couture week as an opportunity to create fantastical, larger-than-life clothing wrestled with how they would shift their shows online. Some houses postponed their dates—and with good reason; how could they possibly translate the out-of-this-world presentations for which couture is known into a digital space? Others, however, approached the challenge head-on: Iris Van Herpen made just one dress; Dior had a multi-tiered digital rollout that included a short film directed by Matteo Garrone, an accompanying AR experience on Instagram, and miniature doll ensembles based on the Théâtre de la Mode; Chanel, meanwhile, opted for a scaled-back, black-and-white film with behind-the-scenes footage of the couturiers inside the atelier. This year, couture week is back—but when it comes to the pandemic, circumstances have not changed. In fact, they’ve worsened, and any fashion house hoping to host an IRL show in Paris was shut down by local police, which banned in-person gatherings. Still, as it was in 2020, this is an opportunity for these masters of fait main to get creative with the way they redefine what couture means against the backdrop of Covid-19. And there’s no debate: we could all use a little fantasy and escape at this moment. Below, we’re listing our favorite looks from the spring 2021 shows, which will run from January 25-28, in real time.