A Review ..
It was Haute Couture week last week, Spring Summer 2014 couture to be precise and you all know how much I love Haute Couture week. I don't know whether its the out of this world craftsmanship, the attention to detail or the whimsical stories that lace the productions but I just love the romance of it all.
I haven't covered all the shows as not all of them were to my taste, as with every couture season I found some of the shows a tad too much and far to OTT but here are my favourites.
OH MY WORD those Jackets! How Amazing. In December, French fashion's governing body, the Chambre Syndicale, granted Bouchra Jarrar an haute couture appellation which secured her a place in couture's history books, joining the ranks of women designers like Chanel, Vionnet, Grès, and Schiaparelli. It's been more than thirty years since a woman was named a grande couturière, far too long! This was the reason for the newfound swagger in her exuberantly embellished jackets and gilets. "J'ai des oiseaux," she said backstage. "I have birds." And she meant it, the evidence was everywhere.
I love the way she has reintroduced the classic black tailored trousers into evening wear, a classic staple back in my 90's clubbing heyday.
ChanelAs we know Karl never skimps on the pennies for Chanel's show production and sets and this one was no different, this time round there was a glistening gigantic white tube that revolved to reveal French music star Sébastien Tellier, his orchestra, and two giant sweeping staircases fresh out of an Art Deco fantasy from the Hollywood thirties. Non, Lagerfeld corrected, "It's an ice palace, a nightclub on another planet."
Lagerfeld strapped his cool young ladies into corsets with stays, the very thing that Coco herself got rid of in the name of modernity nearly a century ago. He compared them to motocross belts. "This is ballroom-cross," he joked.
The corseted midriff was the core over which he laid the signiture Chanel bolero or crop top and a short skirt for the collection's defining look. It was buzzing, athletic and matched the footwear completely. Every outfit featured a couture sneaker by Massaro made from python, with lace, pearls, and tweed. (If you're curious about the cost of these fabulous trainers, the price tag will probably be something in the vicinity of €3,000, yes €3,000) And then there were the bunbags....OH MY. I predict this bunbag will be making an appearance on the shoulder of Rita Ora, RiRi and every other rich young hipster pretty soon, definitly next seasons Chanel perfume bottle bag.
This season I think Chanel and Dior, two most significant fashion houses in France made a major commitment to a new generation of Haute couture, to the future, in fact.
Raf Simons is like a kid in a sweet shop with couture, its combination of technique and psychology could have been tailor-made to satisfy his obsessions. The first thing that got me about this show was the lightness, not only in the weightlessness of the clothes themselves, but also in an attitude that proved the designer's wanted desire to modernize couture, this presented itself clearly when Raf paired a couture dress with flower-strewn trainers like at Chanel (Simon's painted a picture of a starlet leaving the red carpet, pulling her comfy shoes out of her bag, and spending the rest of the night taking over the dance floor of the after party).
"Dior loved movement in his clothes," said Simons,
" and I was wondering what would have happened if he'd been in business twenty or thirty years longer, when the sixties happened, when there was a literal movement in society."
Well we dont need to wonder any more because the collection that Simons showed for Dior had the bohemian vibe that you imagined he imagined Dior would have brought to couture. Oh and least we forget them shoes!! It was definitely all about the accessories this couture season.
Ellie Saab is Couture. His collections to me are synonymous with fairy tales, red carpets and princesses. There was plenty of of his signature looks here, as usual, but perhaps sensing that a change wouldn't go unappreciated, interspersed among his signature embroideries and appliqués were a handful of gossamer-light pleated goddess gowns. Strapless, plunge-front, or one-shouldered, the plissé numbers felt of-this-moment. I love Ellie's dresses they are simply magical.
Giambattista brings a youthfulness to the couture collections that no one else can match. The attention to detail was astounding as usual, especially apparent on the white lace dress adorned with intricate, jewelled raspberry and black flowers. If I was a budding actress I would certainly be trying to get my paws on one of these frocks for the upcoming award season. The definition of OH MY WORD.
Maison Martin Margiela Artisanal
This was the second outing for Maison Martin Margiela Artisanal but the methodology behind the execution was no different. These clothes are ART, plain and simple. The fashion houses alchemists sourced the somewhat prized materials for the collection from each corner of the globe, gathering up bits and pieces from other times and places to re-purpose in the here and now, such as the scarves found in a 1930's brothel that were transformed into a pencil skirt and the 1920s Bauhaus tapestry cut into an opera coat. Pieces of the collection were wrapped and draped from textiles designed by the artist Frank Lloyd Wright which was sourced from a private collection in Flagstaff Arizona. The clothes were paired with bricolages of found thingymebobs, beads, chains, can rings, crystals, keys and more. It was all mesmerisingly and bizarrely beautiful. The only thing that I didnt like were the masks, unlike the jewelled creations from the houses last collection (made famous by Kanye West when he wore them on his Yeezus tour last year) the ones this time round were just plain scary and took you away from the clothes.
Fifty looks for fifty operas was the basis of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Picciolli for the Valentino spring summer couture show which was inspired mostly by the musical arts. Silks adorned with musical notes and other melodic themes ran through the collection. Each look described the character for each of the chosen operas protagonists in a primordial way. The connections were sometimes lost on me but this did not distract me from the beauty of these garments. Oh and lets not forget "a carnival des animaux, a swan, a snake and a peacock made from feathers wrapped around the waist of a ballerina tutu.
(The swan dress reminded me of a remake of the swan dress worn by Bjork designed by Macedonian designer Marjan Peojoski)
I know like me you may not be able to afford these exquisite gowns but use the guide to help plan any dresses you may want to get tailored this year for a special event! I am making it my mission this year to interpret some of those Giambattista Valli designs.
All pictures from Style.Com