PARIS COUTURE WEEK AW2019
Different sensibilities and identities, balanced silhouettes− elongated and sophisticated, modern and innovative, luxurious ease of movement and top performance have led to the absolute triumph of haute couture in Paris. For the season of Fall 2019, everything was made possible. I was there to witness performances, not mere shows, of some of the greatest names of the world fashion scene: Dior, Iris Van Herpen, Zuhair Murad, Georges Hobeika, Tony Ward, Ralph & Russo, and Yuima Nakazato. I also attended an exclusive couture presentation of Luisa Beccaria, contemporary Italian couturier, held in the charming space of the 18th-century Hôtel de Gesvres. Designs created for selected clients who appreciate luxury and handmade clothes, turned the fashion into a dream - Oui! C'est un rêve!
In four days of complete fashion chaos, Paris transformed itself into a big catwalk− that on which I boldly stepped on so that our readers could experience the magical world of haute couture, from the first rows! British couture duo Ralph & Russo presented their collection in the British embassy in Paris in the late afternoon. As the sun over the City of lights continued to shine unselfishly, I stepped into the time machine that transported me to the 1930s. It seemed that the time really stopped and rewind while decadent designs were being presented on the catwalk; made of crystals, pearls, and layers of ostrich feathers. Crystal resins, silk flowers, and diamond tiaras have additionally highlighted creations designed entirely in impressionist pastel tones. It was the extravagance that one can only experience in Paris.
Hypnosis− one of the most anticipated collections of the Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen literally hypnotized the audience in the magical hall of Élysée Montmartre. American artist Anthony Howe, in collaboration with Van Herpen, installed a spherical sculpture Omniverse in the space which, like the designer, questions our cyclical relationship with nature. Iris Van Herpen presented us with her dream: transparent silhouettes, rotating aluminum wings, stainless steel and feather dresses, laser-cut silk pieces that almost float as they levitate on the model. The floating effect was achieved using the Japanese water drawing technique suminagashi. After the completion of this unique performance, I asked Van Herpen what this collection represents for her. "My Hypnosis is a hypnotic visualization of nature, the symbiotic cycles of our biosphere in which the air, earth, and oceans interweave. Hypnosis reflects a constant dissection of the various rhythms of life and resonates with the fragility I find within these intertwined worlds“, she stated.
I found some more glamorous, fresher and lavish creations in the collections of Lebanese fashion designers: Zuhair Murad, Tony Ward, Georges Hobeika and Elie Saab. For the upcoming season, Saab found inspiration in far-off Asia. Silhouettes made of velvet and satin are richly decorated with jewels and embroidered patterns that relate to royal garments, especially when it comes to abstract motifs on kimonos and dresses. In the notes on the collection, Saab pointed out that he was fascinated by the"rich culture of Asia and voluminous, imperial garments." After taking the fashion train Asia, Zuhair Murad led us to a magical journey through Marrakech. "Marrakech is my paradise, I'm in love with it," Murad stated after presenting the lucky Parisian invitees creations reminiscent of the early works of the doyenne of couture, Yves Saint Laurent. Embroidered corset velvet dresses, patchwork in amber, brick and amaranth tones, feathered cloaks and floral motifs have portrayed Marrakesh through the eyes of the designer. Known for creating the most sought-after couture wedding dresses, Murad presented us with a magic wedding dress in the shade of ivory, completed with an abstract floral pattern. Tony Ward found inspiration in the world of mushrooms (yes, you have read it correctly). Inspired by the infinite forms of mushrooms, his couture world has been explored through folded organza, voluminous forms of threads that are reminiscent of the mycelium. It was the blooming of fibers− couture way! Another designer who found inspiration in flora, fauna, and birds of paradise was Georges Hobeika. His show closed the couture week in Paris, from where a clear message was sent that high fashion, despite an unstable market, will never go out of style.
However, for this feature, I choose my own ending – Dior's Metamorphosis. I attended the presentation of this amazing collection at Dior headquarters, located in the famous 30 Avenue Montagne. Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director of the famed Maison, has celebrated the power of women since her arrival at the forefront of the cult fashion house. It is, therefore, no surprise that the inspiration for the collection, among other things, has been found in mysterious female statues that beautify the facades of Parisian buildings. Meta-theater created through an accentuated Baroque atmosphere, along with the sounds of violins and cellos on curved stairs, emphasized the architectural lines of creations as applied art, not just fashion. The absence of colors in the collection is not surprising, given the concept presented by Chiuri. "Clothes are our first home. We live in them. They should be a comfort“, stated Chiuri after the show.
(Feature was originally published in Gracija magazine, August 2019.)