Paris Fashion Week: Some Couture
There is nothing quite like Paris Couture Fashion week to arise you out of your winter despondency. For most of us, it is our chance to get a momentary glimpse into the magically breathtaking beauty that is couture. Here is my choice for the most spectacular and elaborate gowns to grace this year’s runway.
A Passage to India for Elie Saab 2016
Elie Saab cited Lilah Winfield’s 20th Century passage to India as his inspiration for his Spring Summer 2016 couture collection. The programme for the show read, “India is her backdrop and her inspiration for a new blend of formalism and ease, opulence and elementary lines.” The palm-lined jungle set was the perfect backdrop to showcase Saab’s interpretation of the majestic beauty of India.
Saab’s inspiration on the Edwardian era was evident through his high necklines, furrowed sleeves and dresses with beaded capelets, which in turn made a sharp contrast to his portrayal on Indian fashion, which demonstrated harem pants, a cropped jacket with a Nehru collar and full length dresses with a sari sash. In each piece Saab offered an East meets West approach.
It was lacking that exotic colour palette one would usually associate with India, but the beautiful metallic silvers, ivory’s and lilacs were exquisite and elegant nonetheless. Opulence and precision was apparent throughout with the jewels and heavy beading, which graced the silk fabrics, yet never overriding them. The end result was simply stunning.
Timeless Beauty – Alexis Mabille 2016
Feathers, lace and organza is what captivated the star studded audience, and fashion world alike at the Alexis Mabille’s Couture Fashion show. The collection was summed up perfectly by the shows title – Timeless Beauties. “It’s a hymn to beauty. That’s why I called the collection ‘Timeless Beauties’ in my show notes,” Mabille said backstage. “The idea is that the beauty is there — you don’t necessarily have to create it. You provide a foil for it, but when it’s there, it’s evident.” Carmen Kass opened the show with a white tuxedo dress draped with ostrich feathers, which I do not doubt would hold the same attraction and beauty 50 years ago, as it would in 50 years to come.
Though it was difficult to focus on anything other than the embroidered lace and layers of feathers, I must applaud the versatility of looks which was on offer. Mabille celebrated old Hollywood glamour whilst embedding more classic styles in a subdued colour palette of black and white, navy and nude. My favoruite was the ample shirt dress in billowing white organza with a trimmed scarf collar embroidered with white flowers.
Zuhair Murad’s Floral Fantasy 2016
Stepping away from his racier roots, which he is notoriously known for, Zuhair Murad is another designer who took a step back in time, and was heavily influenced by the Elizabethan era. “I love the possibilities of corsets. You could say I wanted to put women in a gilded cage,” the designer offered in his show notes backstage. He made corset boning and dresses with panniers seem romantic, as though the models stepped straight of a Disney set. This whimsical look was achieved with the help of many kinds of lace all lavishly embroidered to showcase floral lattices.
Though Murad has said his collection isn’t intended for the red carpet, and is aimed at his non celebrity customers, I can’t imagine it not been showcased as next year’s awards season. After all, how can you not when each piece is a seductive showstopper?
Until next season…