ALL THE FRILL OF THE FAIR – PARIS HAS EXPLODED INTO A FLURRY OF FEATHERS, RUFFLES AND HYPNOTIC TECHNICAL WIZARDRY AT THE HANDS OF THE WORLD’S MOST EXQUISITE HAUTE COUTURE SHOWS
IRIS VAN HERPEN
Few shows render us completely speechless, but Iris Van Herpen’s visual masterpiece was a lesson in technical wizardry. Collaborating with American kinetic sculptor Anthony Howe, each piece came alive with a fluidity that enabled the show to be in a constant state of movement, as material twisted, turned, expanded and contracted like beating wings or a breathing heart. The most beautiful of optical illusions, this was a spectacle on truly extraordinary levels.
Sticking to a colour palette of almost all-black, Maria Grazia Chiuri worked to the notion that clothes should be comfortable, above all else, as well as a reflection of style, culture and society. Because, after all, the modern woman needs form and function as well as fashion. That said, this was Haute Couture, so there was some merry grand-standing with divine creations draped in feathers, tassels, capes and veils all to deliciously elegant effect.
Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika’s show was a visual bath bomb explosion of colour. A chromatic scale that ranged from tangerine orange to powder blue by way of lemon yellow and dusky pink, the collection was entitled Birds of Paradise, where imaginations took flight amid a frenzy of feathers, tiered organza and dresses dripping in sequins. Arguably the happiest Haute Couture collection thus far, Georges certainly brought the sunshine.
RALPH & RUSSO
Art Deco-inspired, Ralph & Russo brought all the fun of the roaring 1920s to the catwalks, with flapper-inspired dresses, fringing that swished and swayed and a colour code that felt all-inclusive. The idea for Tamara and Michael is that while couture should feel exclusive, it should also appeal to the every day. So a wide-ranging and workable line-up of gowns, suits and easy-wear day dresses will certainly keep their clients’ wardrobes sated this season.
As we’ve come to know, love and expect from Schiaparelli, the focus was on the structural cuts of the clothes, at once wildly dramatic yet gently elegant. Daniel Roseberry sent out playful pieces that demanded a place on the red carpet as much as they did on the French Riviera – a place of realness that fuses into fantasy. Filled with soul, passion, love and laughter, this was couture’s joie de vivre as only the house of Schiaparelli knows how.
RAMI AL ALI
One of the region’s most beloved couturiers, Rami Ali Ali delivered artful elegance, with his 17-piece collection showcased at Hotel Ritz Paris. Paying tribute to the ‘in vogue’ Cafe Society of the 19th century, his pieces were decadent each with their own twists and turns of layered and folded fabric, lashings of tulle, structural plays and embroidered leaf motifs. Not for the faint-hearted, Rami’s approach to fashion is bold and brilliant, speaking to the woman who has something to say.
- Words: Emily Baxter-Priest