Against the florid, baroque backdrops of Paris, the fancy and fantastical come to life.
Interestingly, some novelties played out, with a handful of subversive designers shunning the typical pre-Versailles nature of Haute Couture.
Hermes, for example, decided to present a Resort collection in favour of couture, perhaps an indication of its assumed entitlement in the fashion world.
Here, some of the designers who left us in awe.
As Coco Chanel’s greatest rival, Elsa Schiaparelli was always testing the fashionable waters, inspired by the surrealism of such close friends as Salvador Dali and the like. It’s no wonder then, that designer Bertrand Guyon looked to the past for inspiration, repurposing the iconic Circus collection created by Schiaparelli in 1938. Along with a cocktail of clown-esque motifs, there was colourful cubism, surrealist faces, modernist appliqués and even a deeply galactic feel. Despite the pin-wheel of colour, silhouettes remained streamlined and structured, but of course, her beloved shade of shocking pink was manifest throughout.
A master of volume, the Italian haute couturier presented one of the most memorable shows of his career. Typical to Valli’s aesthetic, his tumbling tulle gowns were bigger and better than ever; confections of layered tulle falling in mounds around models in shades of lilac, crimson, ivory and stone. One who favour epic proportions, exaggerated silhouettes were on show, with perfectly puffed-up shoulders complimenting exquisite beading and floral appliqué. A standing ovation for the true hero of haute couture.
As always, the Queen of sexy, Donatella Versace injected a good jab of sex into a typically refined genre; with thigh-high splits and leg aplenty. The collection however, was a sculptural feast; folds and ruffles played out in every which way, in a romantic palette of dusty pink, sea foam green, glacial blue and moody crimson. Waists were cinched tightly with big belts and the hourglass shape emphasised overtly, as a distinct homage to the 50s was evident.
Ladylike as ever, the Dior ladies waltzed down the runway in beautifully constructed haute couture pieces. Mostly monochromatic, the collection was one of sophisticated refinement. Artfully composed two-pieces, frocks in nostalgic shapes and floral embellishment. Championing structure and class, it was classic Christian Dior.
A blatant snub of traditional haute couture; brand of the moment went rogue, choosing to show a Resort collection instead – in true Vetement fashion. A colossal collaborative production, the French designer sent a throng of models down in pieces by the likes of Manolo Blahnik, Juicy Couture, Dr Martens, Canada Goose – repurposed the same way the French designer did its reconstructed Levis – the most enduring fashion item of late. 18 brands were cross-pollinated with their own aesthetic, making for a very interesting – and much-talked about – show. And of course, a high-street step away from the usual ceremonial venues, it was housed in a shopping mall, the Galeries Lafayette in Paris.
Ralph and Russo
One for the birds and bees, and butterflies and flowers, this was a most spectacular collection. Painstaking attention to detail was at its core – with appliqué, embroidery and lace mesmerising the masses, even extending to retro hats. Models fluttered down the runway in fantastical creations, our own Shanina Shaik reminiscent of a snow queen. Creativity at its core, there was a wonderful sense of whimsy throughout.