The Fall 22 edition of Haute Couture saw couturiers deriving significant emblematic details from their archives and recontextualising them with a refreshing spin. Intricate fine detailing, a focus on weightlessness and shrewdly scaled up embroideries defined the couture season. Stylist Edward Lalrempuia shares, "Couture is about showcasing true craftsmanship and it was great to see a sense of lightness in terms of how the 3D embroideries were realised. Today couture clients want to walk around and enjoy freedom and the collections resonated that spirit."
Here are the key couture trends that emerged:
Virginie Viard at Chanel experimented with round shoulders, square backs, surface texturing with geometric shapes and patterns which were a nod to the 1930s, while also referencing the 1970s. The tactile and luscious surface ornamentations and refined silhouettes echoed the constructivism of a very “graphic” décor - synonymous with the late Karl Lagerfeld. Moreover, from the anniversary High Jewellery collection ‘1932’, which pays tribute to the first and only ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ collection created in 1932 by Mademoiselle Chanel, Viard chose to use necklaces as “celestial elements because they fit with pleats.”
Giorgio Armani at his sparkling Armani Privé outing referenced the nightclubs of 1920s and ’30s, which stood out in form of his exacting, elongated silhouettes and shine on embellishments. Moreover, Schiaparelli designer Daniel Roseberry crafted embroideries inspired by sunflowers and roses which sparkled on hand-painted and pailletted silk.
At the subdued yet symbolic Dior collection, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri extrapolated the Dior rose in 3D beaded embroideries and lace patchwork detailing. Always initiating a cross-cultural dialogue and collaborating with artisans from different regions, Maria had the works of the Ukrainian artist Olesia Trofymenko (representing womankind and better future) on her moodboard. Indian couturier Rahul Mishra's exuberant outing was easily the highpoint of the season as he sent out an array of bold and fierce minidresses and bodysuits accented with phenomenally exaggerated sleeves - all artfully embroidered with metallic thread leaves. Statement-making and immersive yet exuding a sense of freewheeling weightlessness.
The mastery in execution of Mishra’s artisans was evident - be it the ball gown and the jumpsuit with a gold-sequined plunging-neckline bodice. Mishra reimagined an enchanting Mughal garden—spirit animals, lotus flowers—on a frock coat. This luminous outing titled, The Tree Of Life, was inspired by a banyan tree growing in the courtyard of Mishra's ancestral home.
Stylist Akshay Tyagi notes, "Florals in a statement 3D format along with feathers conveyed a sense of lightness and optimism. After two years of pandemic, designers are feeling celebratory and one can see the prowess of fine hand done work at the ateliers. Gilded glamour was seen across brands in the form of beads, gold, flat metallics and with designers experimenting with sparkly tweed. Also, I saw a strong nod to the long and lean shapes of the 30s."
Most couturiers had an uninhibited take on sequins, from Alexandre Vauthier sending out full beaded dresses encrusted with macro sequins, to Giambattista Valli sending out a holographic gown with feathered sleeves. On the other hand, Chanel showcased a fully sequinned skirt suit styled with a pair of riding boots and Armani Privé proposing a panoply of shine-on jackets. Armani's take on three dimensionality stood out in his beaded trompe l’oeil black and white patterns and midnight blue bloom paillettes.
Be it Mishra who sent out a sensual bodysuit enveloped with dramatic billowing sleeves, or Alexis Mabille who showcased a corseted bodysuit wrapped with a sheer sash - the bodysuit had a moment of sorts.