Last week the haute couture shows took Paris by storm. The golden oldies were present; Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior, Armani Privé, Valentino and Givenchy. Others that took part in this extraordinary example of fashion at it’s finest were Alexis Mabille, Elle Saab, Thimister and Anne Valérie Hash.
The shows were awash with creative ideas inspired by both ethnicities and pop culture. Jean Paul Gaultier kept his tailoring title this year with clean cuts and a cream day suit with lattice jacket everyone will be pining after. However the rest of the collection left a lot to be desired. Gauchos, sombreros and Spanish shawls were styled with feathers and basket weave detailing that had the audience thinking they were in Mexico. He was just short of handing out burritos at the close of the show with the matador dressed models taming bulls.
Chanel surprised everyone (I think Lagerfeld was quite surprised himself) with a futuristic collection that was a definite change for the fashion house. He admitted that “It took me 54 collections to get there”, perhaps it took that long to create a time travelling mechanism. The sorbet shades were a delightful contrast to the usual monochrome looks and there wasn’t a navy blazer or a gold button in sight. Stockings glistened as much as the models hair- that was mounted in a love-heart shape on top of each models head with a streak of silver to add couture edge. Sarah Mower of style.com noted the rococo heels as a favourite and the ‘ethereal cloud colours’ had the models floating down the runway.
Held in the Dior house, Galliano’s collection was inspired by Charles James and the Gibson Girls. Snug fitted jackets and long draped skirts were not far off creations from Christian Dior himself back in the 50’s. Some of the editors sitting in the front row had to strain their necks to get a glimpse at these looks as Tavi, fashion blogger extraordinaire, donned an elaborate Dior headpiece. People were in awe at how Valentino models were able to walk unscathed down the catwalk as they were blindfolded with matching flowing fabrics. The multi-coloured garments match the kaleidoscope of colour the make-up artists had created and had one confused that perhaps Valentino had hired Avatar extras to model for them this year.
Ricardo Tisci at Givenchy delved into the houses’ archive to produce a 70’s inspired collection. He couldn’t help but admire the powerful, strong, erotic phase of Parisian women back then and he related to them. The tailoring created a masculine exterior to the feminine beauty of the models with tuxedo tailcoats paired with ostrich printed t-shirts. The flamenco influenced layers and the midnight blue column dresses juxtaposed the androgynous aesthetic eloquently and made for an all-round risk taking collection that went down a treat.
One that was certainly a shock to the system was the looks created at Alexis Mabille. The two-tone suit of pink on one side and black on the other really set the mood at couture week which screamed surprise. The two-tone detail was present from the shoes on either foot to the hair and even eyebrows of each model, an attention to detail all of the other houses should make note of and admire. Karlie Kloss stunned the audience in a lilac embellished gown which stole the Armani Privé show.
Couture week in Paris always has high expectations and these were certainly met, but not outshone. All shows had a similar idea-to out do the other, but only a few of them managed to create looks that will certainly inspire other designers and trends to come in 2010.