Parisian Haute Couture Fashion Week is always a great parade of wonderful surprises and discoveries. It is the archetype of all collections from the past and present came together to represent the iconic styles of great romantic woman today. The new collection by John Galliano mirrors the early beginnings of Dior. The collection is distinctive of its charming and ultra feminine ladies of the 1950′s, such icons as Crudelia De Vil and high society housewives are covered by hundreds of yards of fabric. Transparency and fragility was another side of romanticism that was seen from the Chanel fashion house. Most of the pieces were done in sheer chiffon which added a few hints of sexiness without revealing too much; it also played with proportions in dreamy lines that were very tantalizing. Ivory rules for Valentino’s new collection, which created clarity of the moon in the image of a little fragile and ghost-like lady. Different images of a romantic woman were offered by Armani – the idea of a metallic futuristic lady wrapped in glittering and colorful sequins, jewels and trinkets was seen on the runway. Punk Lady of Jean Paul Gaultier had everything from Mohawks and dog collars, to looks that are typically known as, ” Vicious Frenchy” or “London Calling”, all tailored to perfection. Full skirts, flounce dresses, jackets, jumpsuits, and gowns were embellished, ruffled, studded, and even frayed to make even the most fragile-looking woman strong and viciously quirky at the first sight. Lady-glider by Elie Saab was presented in Eden’s garden powdered in pastel dust of imagination, covered with flowers and floating silk, like always Cinderella was just one step before her “red carpet” ball.
Moreover, the new collection of Christophe Josse gloriously presented innocent women illustrated in allusions of Cocteau plaster work. White horsehair lanyards with porcelain beads were signs of innocence in dove gray dresses. The women of Josse were flying in clouds of creamy butter hues such as lilac duchess satin. This image was inspired by photographer Heinrich Kuhn. Embroidery in stainless steel, waffle weave fabric, white neoprene fabric whipped up into a creamy volume like a neo silk gazer; this all gave the collection a contemporary approach and impressionists movements, a touch of excitability. The slender bust is built on a supple tulle corset, giving softer volume from the waist, puffed out into a flared skirt, or stretched out into wide trousers to be worn like a long skirt, in crisp pleats. All these delicate details made the collection uniquely different from past collections. The king of delicacy- Christophe Josse was successful in creating the imagery of innocent women who looked extremely feminine, dreamy, and courteous enough to resemble Greek goddesses.
The latest collection by Eva Minge is another romantic tour into an elegant past – the XIX century deeply spoiled by dark depravity of romantic fantasies about Dracula. This is another side of romanticism conveyed at first sight as very naïve, but perversely attractive and dangerous. Provocative images of luxurious woman played in tulle and silk, crepe and jersey or contemporary tight-flashy stretch. With vampirical hetaera woman of Minge shows spectral of darkness. It’s another contemporary goddess who exudes an ultra-powerful femininity. Famous ex-top model Adriana Karembu assisted in this delightful collection of Vampire heroines.
The romantic collection of Stephane Rolland is a story of a pure woman who just came out of a painting. I had a strong feeling that silhouettes were in large part inspired from his surroundings. The palettes and canvas were in all futuristic details from impressionist’s paintings and creating the amazing forms transforming one into another. Amazing bronze, brown, gold, saffron yellow, orange and green colors of silk, satin, lurex, chiffon crystal fabrics were made into amazing shapes, any woman would be satisfied in these gowns. The designer was inspired by the architectural work of Hadid, the photographs of Edward Weston, India, spirituality and the search for pure and a perfect form of being. The collection therefore is homage to simplicity, but opens up its complexity in the details, cuts, inserts, drapes, fabrics and geometrical forms. The outfits have precious necklines, asymmetrical lengths, balloon shoulders, curls and new volumes – amazing forms for pure and creative woman. The couturier asymmetrically draped fabric in a way that kept its form and shape, while also creating modern feminine silhouettes. Metallic accents on the gowns at the waist, shoulder, hip, or collar bone gave the gowns an avant-garde edge. The most memorable pieces were those with voluminous draping that highlighted the technique behind creating haute couture, and highlighted the art behind wrapping the female body in hundreds of yards of luxurious silk, crepe, tulle, and chiffon. The rich color palette consisted of gold, orange, brown, sandy tan, khaki green, white and copper. Some gowns were high-cut in the front and surprisingly flowy and long in the back, while others created the effect that the dress was in fact very rigidly constructed. Probably this is the only collection that gave me so many different images swapping over one another – sailing in the Ocean, chocolate cakes, knights of middle age, vitrage in the medieval church. Certainly it is possible that women’s fashion did stem from creativity that could have evolved from masterpieces of men. Mireille Mathieu – a famous French singer, the great lady of 50s, came to enjoy the show.
Romantic woman in the new collection of Basil Soda shows a woman of the Renaissance era, women of whimsical fantasy. There was great discovery this season – a new fashion house was discovered. Basil Soda – a Lebanese designer made a name for himself while working for Elie Saab before launching his own fashion house. Soda presented a flawless collection of fluid gowns with stunning, jewel-encrusted structured bodices. Mystical creature – a Mermaid – a goddess of Ocean, curved in organic, especially floral and other plant-inspired motifs, highly stylized, flowing curvilinear forms of “Art Nouveau” – this is the look for romantic woman of Soda. He made a collection of dresses in symmetry and harmony that we can see in nature. The dress is an opportunity to sculpt a hybrid form whether using inner living structures as an outer layer. In this collection, earthy beige and creamy leaves are precariously woven into delicate French Dentelle. Taupe jackets are layered with pale blue leaves which appear to be growing from their silk base-earth. A Mermaid is created with creamy fish-like vertebra and reptilian skin that are carefully reshaped into dresses. Harmonious decoration of dresses shows the real nature of the woman – the Ocean, the creative nature. Indeed, Soda’s collection is the most amazing and creative collection of the season.
Furthermore, the new collection of Rabih Kayrouz is “one-functional” – another discovery. Designer trough away all pompous style of “red carpet” what he used to show before, and put his romantic woman in atmosphere of simplicity and strong lines. There’s no more long and complicated silhouettes, no floating silk for elegant and mysterious woman – only function, volume and color. (It is the evocation of nobles, and the force and inner strength that is typically seen in Asia. Using work-wear as his base, “not anymore” romantic Rabih Kayrouz took his craft to the field or the butcher shop. Kayrouz does not believe in seasonal dressing, so even though he was showing in fall couture week, he conjured up dresses as light of summer on Japanese kimonos for royalties. Plastron from turtle in contracts of leather, cashmere, organza and satin creates massive and strong image of power in romantic woman. The modern world isn’t a most perfect place for naive or dreamy woman – it’s a place of predators and prey. She’s not a predator but she has to be strong and ready to face anyone who’ll try to eat her – she has her own armor, her own protection. Romantic woman of Kayrouz is a naked woman without her daydreams and illusion participating in her grace into real very masculine world. I’d say that this collection is so unique for this season, unwrapped from any romantic dream.
“On aura tout vu” (“We’ve seen everything”), a new fashion house with surprising, moved spirit, showed their latest collection for a romantic woman, “Flying dreams”. Romantic women of their new collection – is Alice in Wonderland with all imaginable creatures which are the transcendent images of her own personality, sculptured and stamped on her gowns. A desire to play with fabrics, objects, light, colors, so the true and false are always intermingling in the collection, like in real world. Live pigeons, eggs, feathers and aviation accessories took over the couture runway. On Aura Tout Vu used a basic palette of black and white, accenting with silver and gold. The most intriguing outfit of the collection was the Unicorn-inspired look. There can never be enough sparkle, never enough feathers and never enough mix of classic elegant European forms and Afro-Asian motives. Lily-white doves vanish in the sky towards radiant horizons in a flood of magical euphoria. Rebel Amazons dressed in ethereal laces whirl around in a never-ending dream. Every look was like a poem in drawing of celestial veils enveloping shoulders, necklaces of moons illuminating their faces with the brightness. The bodies of the fairy queens were covered with a thousand set of jewels that shone with a fiery glow. The highlight of the show was a glorious image of a romantic woman looking from behind the magic mirror into the real world.
Didit’s collection featured sugar candy silk with cherry on top – floral ornaments. The fit of a skirt refines the organic forms of a millefeuille drape on an off-the shoulder top. Feminine forms and volumes on the back created images of dragonflies and damselflies – mystical and attractive predators. Alongside youthful pinks, vine peach shades, blush pinks and milk-and-strawberries, in turn faded or pushed to saturation point, almost neon-bright, inspired by marble and water effects and reflections on wings of these charming predators. Designer Didit Hediprasetyo brought up flouting tradition of ceremonies of Bali in cuts and drapes, revealing sublime irresistible attraction in hand-made fabrics like tiny instants of happiness in paradise.
To celebrate Haute Couture Fashion Week, all big jewelry houses presented their amazing hand-made pieces. I discovered two absolutely outstanding pieces in the houses of Van Cleef & Arpels and Chanel. The Zip fastener invented for the clothing worn by sailors and pilots, has been transformed by Van Cleef & Arples into Zip necklace-bracelet for Duchess of Windsor in 1906. The first Zip necklace, introduced in the 1950s was a sensation – who would ever think about transforming a piece of technical magic into jewelry. The precious piece became the motive of the new collection – four models of gold, sparkling diamonds, in geometric set of colorful stones, emeralds and sapphires.
Miniature architecture was used as inspiration and innovation for the new haute jewelry collection of Chanel. Wonderful pieces in gold setting reminded one of waterfalls, mosaics of Russian churches, and cupolas of Bukhara magical sobors, where every little pearl and stone is set in motion and powered by wind. This is the most precious accomplishment for romantic summer 2011 and the type of innovation fashionistas wait year after year for.