Spring Haute Couture in Paris has already concluded with fashion month right around the corner. I definitely expected outrageous this season. However, I thought there were more hits than misses, with powerful presence and no nonsense, in a way only couture could approach. While couture is considered elite and maybe even old fashioned, often begging an answer to the question of ‘who would wear that?’ these collections threw away the notions that couture is stuffy and pretentious. It is indeed unique and as opposed to the past, couture is now more readily available to the public. The designers of today have embraced the traditional feel of the ateliers of days gone past while making today’s lines more modern, not just for wonderful evening wear but great daywear as well.
Zuhair Murad was inspired by Native American culture that many found controversial. I thought the collection was tasteful, intricate beadwork in almost every look was toned down by monochromatic shades carrying a reverence about them. The cactus print was an astute distinction and slouchy boots paired with elegant ball gowns was a refreshing runway look as teepee inspired silhouettes carried intriguing shape. Maybe the feathers in the model’s hair was a bit too far, but I thought the collection walked the delicate line of fashion and insensitive tactfully.
A sugary sweet, glamorous dream world was at every turn at Ralph & Russo. Drawing on inspirations from a trip to Asia, chic embroidered silk gowns were nothing short of excellent. Creamy colored gowns had skirts with every kind of detail: fringed and feathered, tiered and peplum, slits of every length. There were a few more vibrantly colored designs that could have been omitted for overall aesthetic, but the quality and charm wasn’t lost because of their presence.
Chanel shared its classic tweed in majority of looks through the collection. I found it to largely be a snooze fest, largely playing with Victorian era concepts in pretty pastels, but it just didn’t get my blood pumping. The most interesting concept was the short black veil each model wore that fell from a small floral arrangement at the top of her head. I guess with couture being such a free concept, I expected something more inspired, less cliché Chanel.
The title of Armani Prive was “The Sky and All It’s Nuances”. It was like you could follow the phases of the sun through a day. Early morning light inspired the shimmering lavender shades that glided across the canvas of material. Deeper pops of coral and that last dusty pink light swirled together to perfectly capture a sunset. Deep navy material presented the evening sky. As light color transitioned to dark then back to light, its was like a journey of the sun by fashion. This collection was masterfully constructed and artfully crafted in couture shapes and mesmerizing style.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the cutout eyewear featured throughout the runway, but I was pleased that on many outfits from Christian Dior had more draping of sheer material over an opaque layer for volume and construction rather than the absence of material.
An homage to 1920s Paris, beading and sparkles in the softest shade glittered through Elie Saab’s couture. Because most of the dresses carried the sheer trend torch with them, I wasn’t overly thrilled, but Saab’s designs always carry plenty of charisma and ooze high fashion. This season included glitzy art deco patterns in dreamy colors, glitzy and adorned with feathers, even wrapped up and tied with a bow.
Elegant, graceful and structured, Givenchy’s first couture show in eight years was not a disappointment. Sharp tailoring, long hemlines, tiered skirts and miniature capes glided down the runway, each saying “notice me!” in an extremely satisfying and sophisticated manner.
The color combinations that started off Valentino were not only beautiful, but seemed plausible to wear (sans hats of course). The color faded into neutral shades still fresh and undeniably spring.
A bright palette with outlandish but pleasant accents dominated the runway of Viktor & Rolf. It was dramatic attractive couture, everything was made from technical duchesse satin, which is a strong, lustrous material. It’s small amount of elastane makes it bend and stretch well along the curves of the body while maintaining good shape. Its also wrinkle resistant, making it ideal for bridal and evening wear. The design duo, known for using recycled materials, took their interest in conscious design in a different direction this year by rethinking the possibilities of fabrics. I loved the playful mix of color and pattern.
Stay tuned for full length videos of the Haute Couture runways.
Photos courtesy of Vogue