Here we are! The latest edition of Couture Fashion Week has hobbled in to blow our minds yet again. A few shows are the slightly monotonous and repetitive fare, but the beauty is still there. Top surprises for me were Maison Margiela (with Galliano at the helm, redeeming himself one bite of cheese at a time) and Victor & Rolf. Valentino also blew my mind, but in a different way: totally beauty for beauty’s sake but “I’m also a strong, demure and smart woman.” Check out excerpts from each show and be the judge yourself.
Alberta Ferretti Limited Edition
A splendidly anachronistic assortment of Baroque inspiration and wonderfully modern cuts swathed the models of Alberta Ferretti’s couture collection. The dresses evoked a gilded era of opulence and proper etiquette while maintaining scandal with see-through tulle and lace. These are beautiful for special occasions but
easily adapted to casual events with a pair of flats and a free spirit.
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While Vauthier’s couture collection doesn’t seem far reaching from regular ready-to-wear fare, closer inspection reveals intricate detailing and meticulous attention to precision and art. These clothes are all about molding ease with a myriad of tubes, beads, and cuts. All of these are laborious and time-intensive, lending their use for couture more appropriate and easier to manage for a client who prefers to look impressive without added fuss.
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The ability to mold dress for the woman wearing it is impeccable in this season’s Alexis Mabille couture collection. Couture is all about being one-of-a-kind, and by arranging the designs for Mabille’s muses he manages to pull off a compilation amazingly cohesive despite being completely individual from dress to dress.The feelings evoked by each piece vary, but not so much to completely lose the audience. Clothes need to envelop the woman’s body and make HER shine, and this is precisely what molding the couture pieces for the women has done.
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A parade of ’80s punk-rock divas heading out for a glam night out in bright hues and loose silhouettes at Armani Prive! The rawness of the materials and the intricacies of textures playing with similarly grouped colors evoked a feeling of silent film star meets underground club scene. The impeccably dramatic sense is undeniable, but I’m not completely convinced the clothes stand up to the test of being timeless and overall desirable. The artist in me wants to love every piece, but the consumer side is a bit put off by the close flirtation with experimental garishness.
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Let me preface this by saying that I live not for Versace RTW (sorry, at least not as much), but for this stuff! Atelier Versace is stunning when it comes to opulence and glam. This season saw a bit of a toned-down approach in the usual hard-edged drama – think of it as a ‘younger’ couture presentation. The raw and unflinching desire to portray pure emotion still reigned with the display of frayed hems, low-draped necklines and strategic cuts held together with the softness of flowery vines. This collection is a down-to-earth glam routine for the painstakingly devoted followers of all things ease.
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Bouchra Jarrar relies on her vigorous tailoring skills to push her collection to the limits and mark her fashion spot in consumer culture. While I find this extremely desirable, a lot of people might find the designs too tame for couture. And while the get-ups might not appeal to the wild sided fashion connoisseurs, the clothes have a timeless sophistication and lovely precision that indicates effort and refinement. The unusually colorful feather gilets add
much needed spice to an otherwise demure collection with strong bones.
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Karl has an undeniable talent for precision and disciplined art. But that accuracy can sometimes lead a person to obsess over single details and lose sight of the bigger picture- the bigger picture being a viable direction for Chanel that lends credibility to a younger market. I love tailoring, suits and all that is fitted and detail-oriented, but I can’t help but run in the opposite direction when I see the same classic suit over and over with no end in sight. I think it’s important to stay faithful to the roots, but it’s just as important to keep up with the changing times. I can’t help but feel Mr. Lagerfeld needs to regroup his focus and tackle projects with pure artistic ferocity rather than operate on too ambitious corporate deadlines. The joie-de-vivre is not here. That includes the somewhat sad casino ambiance. The redeeming points come toward the end, with Nadja Bender’s flower tufted overcoat and delicate beaded skirt peeking out.
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I want to love this, and I love some of it, but Raf Simons slightly let me down. The shape and the draping of the outerwear were impeccable, and the feel was undoubtedly Dior. However, the collection seems more appropriate for a ready-to-wear debut than for Couture Fashion Week. While the loose silhouettes made me giddy with joy, the lack of drama left me desiring more. I love the aesthetic, but minimalist couture is somewhat of a contradictory concept.
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Elie Saab doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel to send out pure red carpet fodder that we’ll see on celebrities and socialites no matter what. It’s sometimes hard to distinguish one season from another because of the intense focus on grandiose gowns that only vary in color. That’s not necessarily a bad thing seeing as every single dress beckons to for wear to a special event.
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Karl is an amazing artist, but the choice to sum up his career at Fendi in fur leaves more to be desired from the high standard he sets in acclimating to changing tastes. Fendi as a brand was originally founded as a fur boutique, appropriate to the era’s (1920’s) insatiable desire for mink stoles and sable capes. A reinvention of the original concept and innovation in faux choices would’ve been more appropriate in enticing the younger generation of eco-conscious consumers today (2015), myself included. Being acclimated to fashion means I don’t jump on the frenzied PETA train, but I also don’t abandon my humanity when I see a continued train-wreck of human standards. At its best, the show was an expertly crafted and wonderfully imaginative array of creativity and novel silhouettes. At its worst, it was a slaughterhouse parade stuck in a bygone era.
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It’s quite a talent to keep mass market attention while delivering delivering non-conventional silhouettes. Gambattista Valli sent out a parade of fluffy tulle and loose, straight tunic-like compatriots. Splashes of neon were interspersed between an otherwise subdued, creamy palette. The collection sums up whimsical high fashion without any silliness.
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Jean Paul Gaultier
A Jean Paul Gaultier Couture show is never disappointing, this one included. The Brittany theme of the show referenced the classic sea-faring stripes and patterns interspersed with silhouettes both classic to JPG and fresh, in all their circular glory. The outerwear was spectacular, with attention paid to the fine details and embroidery along the hems and shoulders.
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John Galliano skillfully merged his profound aesthetic with Margiela’s famous desire for juxtaposition, discovery and transformation. The collection pulsed with haute couture’s ability to elevate frocks into art.
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True to Schiaparelli form, the aesthetic centered around luxurious fabrics and the intricacies of embroidered detail.
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Ulyana harkened back to the USSR with her Fall 2015 Couture collection. Elements from Mother Russia glorified half-glam. The feeling of deconstructed society lingered as dress folds draped askew over corsets. One couldn’t help thinking of a boudoir mystery.
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Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have really outdone themselves with this collection! The pure Roman motifs dominated each spectacular piece: olive branches, eagles, wheat stalks and griffons. The demure color scheme consisting of mostly black lent the perfect backdrop for the ravishing gold jewelry. This wasn’t purely about show-clothes but about intelligent frocks and thought-provoking mystery.
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Victor & Rolf
Victor & Rolf made it that much harder to debate the difference between tradition art and fashion as art with their Fall 2015 Couture collection. The models literally wore canvases construed into silhouettes worthy of grand balls, in some cases. The entire collection was pure creativity and excitement. Cherry on top is your closet need not fill up since you can hang one of these directly on your wall!
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From the opening look it’s easy to figure out this collection is all about celestial offerings. The starry theme transfers well to the red carpet, literally embodying star status. The jumpsuits evoked Ziggy Stardust, on the other hand, with a more alien-like approach.
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(All images originally via style.com)