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All that sparkled at Paris Haute Couture Week

From ballet-core to heritage textiles, designers presented collections that spoke of both luxury and art

From the Fendi show on 25 January
From the Fendi show on 25 January (AFP)

The recently concluded Paris Haute Couture Week featured several presentations that hovered between dreams and reality. Fusing heritage with reinvention, some couturiers unveiled swirling clouds of tulle, floaty transparent trails and candy hues frosted in sequins and feathers. Others looked back at their maison's rich archives and reimagined looks and silhouettes with a contemporary flair, while some proposed a closet full of unapologetic evening dressing while underscoring the distinctive skills of their artisans.

Virginie Viard, for instance, looked at Chanel's historical links with the ballet. The Chanel pre-show teaser film titled, The Button, starred Margaret Qualley, Naomi Campbell, and Anna Mouglalis. It sees Qualley lamenting the loss of a button from her heirloom Chanel jacket. Cloaked in couture mystery, she opened the show in a white bouclé jacket with missing button and white tights.

At Dior too, Maria Grazia Chiuri explored femininity by proposing modern wardrobe staples for today's woman. Her billowing floor-length polka-dot dresses, a black gown with sleeves sheathed in feathers and a mustard yellow slip dress stood out.

From the Schiaparelli show on 22 January
From the Schiaparelli show on 22 January (AP)

Daniel Roseberry at Schiaparelli sent out exoskeleton dresses deriving inspiration from Elsa Schiaparelli's 1938 skeleton dress. A robotic ensemble pieced together from old flip phones, CDs, mirrors and gems was the highpoint of the show.

Ballet-core rules

The ballet-inspired Chanel presentation featured macaron-toned bouclé suits, plume-edged dresses, styled with white opaque tights, transparent pencil skirts with sheer patch pockets, crotch-grazing hemlines and white leotards.

Ballet was also the vibe at Jean Paul Gaultier, where it was Simone Rocha's turn to send out ballerina-inspired haute couture gowns made from tulle. Soft pastels and tulle-heavy creations were also seen at Armani Privé, Giambattista Valli and Giorgio Armani.

Also read: Paris fashion week: Gaurav Gupta's futuristic take on haute couture

High on heritage textiles

From the Christian Dior Paris show on 22 January
From the Christian Dior Paris show on 22 January (AFP)

Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior trained her focus on moiré, an often overlooked textile in the realm of couture. The show featured a big installation, Big Aura, by visual artist Isabella Ducrot was created with Karishma Swali and her Mumbai-based non-profit Chanakya School of Craft.

At Maison Alaia, every garment was handcrafted with a single yarn. They were based around a merino wool thread, reinvented with the house’s textile and knitwear suppliers. The collection was based on the curve, in the circle—the curves of women, and circle of friends—essential to Alaia family.

Gaurav Gupta presented Aarohanam, which means ascension. Surrealist metallic breastplates emoting spiritual mudras, sculpted beaded dresses and GG's signature theatrical wavy silhouettes shocked and seduced in equal measure.

High-octane embellishments

Rahul Mishra's Superheroes drew attention to the world of reptiles and insects, with monumental dragonfly appliqués, beaded reptile motifs slithering all over red carpet creations. Audacious cocoon shapes, gravity-defying silhouettes and dramatic veiled ensembles evoked instant desirability.

At Valentino, Pierpaolo Piccioli, too, rooted for decadent glamour—churning out vibrant hued coats and trousers. From feathered (crafted from metallic sequins and organza) outerwear to tactile waistcoats encrusted with 3D embellishments, each ensemble offered a gateway to seduction.

A fiery copper red appliqued floor-sweeping cape stood out and so did an array of sheer and black evening dresses.

Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad also generously peppered their gowns and dresses with tone on tone effusive embroideries. Kim Jones at Fendi, meanwhile, wrote a love letter to after-dark glamour by sending out column-like dresses embroidered with sequins and styled with matching glittery gloves and shoes.

Also read: Fendi's futurism-tinged tribute to Karl Lagerfeld


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