Friday, 24 January 2014

Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2014 - Part I

A whole week dedicated to the art of dressmaking is just over. I was thinking first to show you my favorite looks, but I decided it might be more interesting to see the variety of the 25 fashion houses and their approach to keep the tradition alive and bring fashion forward.

Sunday:

ATELIER VERSACE
The Haute Couture week began last Sunday with Atelier Versace and her glam goddesses in crystals and acid hues of orange, green, and purple. The familiar body conscious silhouettes with corsets and cut-outs where combined this time with more fluid drapings. A key element was the hood which reminded of Grace Jones, but also Ingrid Bergman and Jeanne d'Arc. The looks reflect the strength and confidence of a modern modern woman.

         
Atelier Versace
Atelier Versace

























Monday:

SCHIAPARELLI
With vivid prints, sweeping drama and gorgeous embroidery, Marco Zanini tried 60 years after the closure of the House Schiaparelli to bring back the attitude of the house and to catch the humor of Elsa Schiaparelli without falling into clichés. There were no lobsters, no shocking pink.

"She was a delicate paradox, the epitome of elegance with a certain taste that wasn't very elegant," Zanini said of Schiaparelli. "She was the first to mix high and low."

           
Schiaparelli
Schiaparelli


























ON AURA TOUT VU
Between light and shadow, between couture and show. The collection was based on the contrasts between black and white and included elements of uniforms, ballet costumes and rock chic. The show was partly held in darkness to emphasize the special fabrics and techniques which made parts of the dresses glow in the darkness.
The outcome was a magical world of light and darkness with reflections, absorptions, illuminations and glowing.

            
on aura tout vu
on aura tout vu

























CHRISTIAN DIOR
The Haute Couture show was the 4th for Dior under the direction of Raf Simons and one can witness the transformation of the traditional Haute Couture House.  He brings a lightness, not only of the clothes themselves, but also in an attitude that reflects the designer's desire to modernize couture. The 52 models were inspired by the theme of circles and cuts in form of honeycombs, ellipses and abstract petals. We could see layered dresses in modern silhouettes, but also old friends like the famous bar jacket.

"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." Simons has a modern view of femininity and experiments with shapes and materials. Couture is not about creating a costume, but about maximizing the know-how.

             
Christian Dior
Christian Dior


























GIAMBATTISTA VALLI
"Petite Robe" and "Petit Manteau" calls Valli the micro minis he sent out to conquer the catwalk. Every piece had a special volume or silhouette and played with drapings, layerings, wrappings, pleatings to give every piece a special character. Although his creations reflect his obsession with youth, his approach as a designer is very classical.

          
Giambattista Valli
Giambattista Valli


























ALEXIS MABILLE
Also Alexis Mabille was dreaming of goddesses. Though his view of a goddesses is based on the  traditional Greco-Roman image which was also reflected in his designs of classically constructed gowns. While the color palette was harmonic and reduced to shades of white, creme and powder, the clothes were rather opulent in the details. Already the materials where rich and sophisticated and wouldn't need so much gold applications and stones. One had the impression here, more is more.

           
Alexis Mabille
Alexis Mabille

























Tuesday:

CHANEL
Also Chanel is in a permanent process in renewing without loosing itself. The stage for the battle between tradition and youth culture were two giant sweeping staircases, no thirties Hollywood movie could have better fantasized. They also remind of Coco Chanel's famous stairs in the Rue Cambon. But here they should be part of an imaginary ice palace, a nightclub on another planet, and Mr Lagerfeld had his models sprint them down, as light as fairies, skipping and spinning in sneakers. Ozzy Osbourne wanted to convince us that fairies wear boots, but in real life they wear sneakers. In the spirit of sportiness, there were also knee and elbow pads...

But most intriguing was that Lagerfeld strapped his young fairies into corsets! The very thing that Coco herself cast off in the name of modernity nearly a century ago. Even though they might remind the one or other of motocross belts, there is a certain irony in corseting the Chanel woman. But anyway, the corset was the core over which he laid a crop top and a short skirt for the collection's defining look.

            
Chanel
Chanel

























ULYANA SERGEENKO
Every couture collection by Ulyana Sergeenko tells a story. This time, she took us on a ride on the Orient Express. Sergeenko's femme fatale not only crossed borders of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, which one could witness in the handcraftmanship of the dresses, but also but also by mixing men styles in, to emphasize the femininity.

            
Ulyana Sergeenko
Ulyana Sergeenko

























STÉPHANE ROLLAND
The designs are based on small silhouettes in a reduced color palette of white and different shades of yellow. Like a sculptor Rolland plays with different organic shapes and adds peplums, ruffles and sashes. His designs vary from trousers and costumes to dramatic evening gowns.

                   
           Stéphane Rolland
Stéphane Rolland


























BOUCHRA JARRAR
After being invited as a guest to the Haute Couture, Bouchra Jarrar is now a member of the Haute Couture circle and has secured herself a place in couture's history books, joining the ranks of pre-war women designers like Chanel, Vionnet, Grès, and Schiaparelli. It's been more than thirty years since a woman was named a grande couturière. Thirty!
Jarrar, reminds a little of Coco Chanel. Just like her, she is obsessive about clothes for everyday. Natural and confident is her style. Key elements of her collection were tuxedo trousers and feather embellished blousons.

         
Bouchra Jarrar
Bouchra Jarrar


























ALEXANDRE VAUTHIER
The collection of Alexandre Vauthier had a lot of rock glam and sex appeal with its studs and leather. Whereas the topic of the Atelier versace and Alexander Mabille were goddesses, here we had the show girls.
One interesting detail were the heels and the fold-over clutch that had a chain running between them, mimicking a surfboard leash. Between surfing spirit and fetishism.

          
Alexandre Vauthier
Alexandre Vauthier

























JULIEN FOURNIÉ
Delicacy, femininity and romance are undoubtedly the words that best describe the Haute Couture collection" First Frisson " by Julien Fournié. The color palette varies in silvery shades of gray, lilac and soft green and the silhouettes are inspired by the ballet.

               
Julien Fournié
Julien Fournié

























VIOLENT
Hussein Chalayan accepted the challenge to produce a demi-couture collection for Vionnet. According to him, there are always two approaches to work with a fashion house with a long tradition, one can observe and reinterpret the house's heritage for today or ignore it. Chalayan opted for the latter path. "There are so many brands that are old, that are being revived," he explained. "It shouldn't be about revisiting the archives."
The collection was inspired by modern industrial design with spiral staircases, furniture, electric wires which turned into dresses. The spiral staircases morphed into a five-layer techno organza bias-cut dresses with single seams and laser-cut concentric circles in varying degrees of sheerness. It made a connection between Vionnet past and Vionnet future as the bias cut is credited to Madeleine Vionnet.

           
Vionnet
Vionnet

























GIORGIO ARMANI PRIVÉ
Tonight's collection was named Nomade for all the tribes who drift under heaven's dome. It had a seventies atmosphere with the head scarves and the dangly earrings. The full skirts and low-heeled shoes reminded of the gypsy spirit of arch fashion icon Loulou de la Falaise who was muse to Yves Saint Laurent.

         
Armani Privé
Armani Privé


























The biggest challenge in the Haute Couture is to stay true to the tradition and a legacy while at the same time projecting it into the future to create something unique from the artistic perspective. Haute Couture is about achieving the exceptional, beyond the restrictions of the Pret-à-Porter. And the two most significant fashion houses in France made a major commitment to a new generation and to the future.

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