I realise the January Couture shows seem like a distant memory with fashion week fully upon us but as I wasn't blogging back then, I feel like posting this article I drafted for my university's paper.
Fashion’s finest displays of artistic design and craftsmanship took to the catwalks of Paris last week for the biannual Haute Couture shows.
Simplicity at Dior
The absence of John Galliano in Christian Dior’s atelier was more noticeable than ever in the iconic house’s recent couture show. It was a classic affair featuring 50s style clothing, a clear nod to the famous Dior New Look, a predominately monochrome palette with houndstooth prints, sheer skirts with flower embroidery and pencil skirt suits accompanied with long gloves. All-in-all, a rather wearable collection; a word one would never associate with Galliano’s grandeur. The closing looks seemed to pay homage to the British designer’s creations with gigantic gowns exploding into layers of monochromic, deep purple or light red tulle with feather embellishment and sparkling gems. Rewind 12 months and Galliano’s last couture show was a theatrical spectacle; you name it, he had it. The simple beauty of this collection cannot be denied, but one can’t help but secretly miss the show-stopping splendour Galliano’s couture shows never failed to deliver us.
An homage to Amy
Her signature beehive, distinctive eye-liner and quirky style were key looks in Jean-Paul Gaultier’s latest couture offering as he took influence from the late singer, Amy Winehouse. There were looks ranging from 40s style skirt suits, a baseball jacket paired with a black satin skirt and lace leggings, snakeskin bustiers, 80s shoulders, exquisitely embroidered bustier dresses and black veils. Every idea Gaultier could imagine appeared, making clear reference to the array of styles Amy would put together.
The show has received considerable criticism, with Amy’s father, Mitch Winehouse, believing that the designer acted in “bad taste”. Perhaps the show was too focused on the singer, but it seems that Gaultier was simply inspired by the woman he dubbed “an icon of fashion”. Though the collection displayed his fashion mastery, it seems it may have been more fitting for the ready-to-wear runway, as tightly fitting underwear isn’t exactly the epitome of Parisian couture.
All aboard Chanel Airways
Lagerfeld took us on a journey this couture show aboard an aeroplane, a setting that puts his peers to shame, as usual, but we can’t help but feel like we haven’t quite reached the divine destination that Chanel couture usually transports us to.
It’s not that the clothes weren’t beautiful. Lagerfeld offered us dresses exquisitely encrusted with delicate jewels, especially in the evening wear section which gradually progressed from the lighter blues of the collection’s first phase, but it was rather hard to see past the models with their hands in pockets over half way down their bodies. This bizarre silhouette, particularly odd with the pockets on sheer skirts paired with black puff-sleeved jackets, spurred images of teenagers with jeans half way down their thighs, not the usual image associated with Chanel elegance. Yes, 1920s -style dropped hemlines are a Chanel signature and it was this more casual look which its founder pioneered, but we were left too focused on their overt use, rather than on the manifestations of Couture expertise that we know and love from the French fashion house.
The best of the rest…
Elie Saab gave us a collection of gorgeous and desirable pastel-coloured gowns; Valentino also offered an array of pretty floral chiffon dresses, whereas Alexis Mabille’s paired his brightly coloured frocks with matching face paints and gigantic hats. Versace made its return to la semaine d’haute couture and proved Donatella can do couture just as well as high-street collaborations with a 15 piece collection featuring tight-fitting and show-stopping pieces in bright colours, silvers and golds. Finally, Ricardo Tisci at Givenchy delivered understated drama with white, brown and black gowns made from crocodile skin or delicate tulle, together with exaggerated jewellery and rather peculiar nose rings.
All images from vogue.com or style.com