Valentino Couture Spring 2017. Images & Source Via WWD
One could argue that this couture season saw two major debuts, the more obvious, that of Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri. In a sense, her former partner, Pierpaolo Piccioli, had his own debut, his first solo couture collection for Valentino, since he and Chiuri ascended to the role of joint creative directors after the retirement of the house founder.
“To do couture for a designer is a great opportunity,” Piccioli said during a preview, appearing not at all frazzled on the eve of his third show in three weeks. (He’s shown men’s last week in Paris, and prior to that, pre-fall, in New York.) “For me to create couture, to have the opportunity to work with the atelier, is a dream come true.”
For spring, Piccioli staged another exquisite Valentino Dream sequence. What did surprise: The challenging nature of the collection. These were not easy clothes. Exquisite, yes, but not easy in terms of proportion. Dresses fell free-form to the floor from a high neck or off the shoulders, unfettered by demarcations of waist or hips. Often, subtle trapeze cuts, pleats and vertical ruffles added sly volume to the gentle plissés and chiffons. The overall look was surrealist, otherworldly nightgown; these beauties could have costumed Heaven in a Cocteau film, had he been a minimalist. There were day looks as well, including a round-shouldered cape and a long white coat embroidered discreetly with classical symbols of love and nature, both in sturdy, austere cashmere double-face.
Dior Couture Spring 2017 – Source & Images Via WWD
As Maria Grazia Chiuri develops her identity at and for the house of Dior, she feels its complexities and pressures, particularly for couture. ‘OK, I want to determine what it means for me to do couture.’ I think it is important to maintain this idea that it’s wearable, because in any case we have the clients. But at the same time, I don’t want to lose the idea of dreaming.”
Lest anyone think Chiuri would ease into that idea of a wearable dream, think again. For her Dior couture debut, she authored an extravagant visual tale, one that drew on the founder’s love of gardens. Chiuri had one installed on the grounds of the Musée Rodin, hers a fairy-tale place, magical, sinister and overgrown with foliage. Arriving guests wended through an outdoor maze, and once inside, around straight and curved seating of the bucolic sort, covered in dense greenery. Centering the garden: an ominously enticing tree, its branches strung with beads, ribbons and tarot regalia.
The dresses, meanwhile, included moody, broody, heroine-lost-in-the-woods gowns and a lovely white ecclesiastical shroud. Mostly, there were exquisitely rendered variations on delicate otherworldliness, laces and tulles gloriously embellished, some worn with fanciful Stephen Jones headgear.
Speaking to Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli is always like hearing an Italian art history lesson in stereo. In one ear, she is talking about Mariano Fortuny, his Delphos dress, and “aged” velvet, and in the other, he’s speaking about Isadora Duncan and Loie Fuller and their “expressionist dancing.” All of this exotic early-20th-century Venetian-pagan romanticism was sewn lightly into the Valentino Haute Couture collection and trailed around by barefoot nymphs with gold metal serpents writhing in their tendriled tresses. Via Vogue
Chanel Couture Spring 2016 Images Via WWD & Instyle.com
Karl Lagerfeld hit the fashion trifecta at his Chanel Haute Couture spring 2016 show, recruiting the famous faces of today’s It girls—Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Bella Hadid—to complete his line-up of models. Jenner was the first of the squad to march along the zen-like, eco-inspired garden set in the Grand Palais. The model was clad in a sweeping black lace creation that boasted a plunging neckline and embroidery running down the front of the dress, along the bodice, and straps.
Giambattista Valli Couture Spring 2015 Source & Images Via WWD
Giambattista Valli had photos of Gabrielle Chanel and Janis Joplin pinned to his mood board backstage. Dresses and skirts over pants were a new addition to the Valli couture canon, a logical extension to his tiered approach to design, wherein the bodice, the waist or hips, and the rest of the body are banded in different fabrics, textures and embroideries.
Exit three, in the black-and-white shades Coco always favored, was a simple stunner: a sleeveless silk shell etched with botanical embroideries, a band of black satin and a fog of point d’esprit flaring over silk crepe pants.A cardigan-like jacket in silk cloque, or a handsome redingote in white lace, matched with more skirt-and-pant combos, were other obvious nods to the Rue Cambon.
The show climaxed with more demonstrative flourishes, as dresses sprouted puffy sleeves and neck ruffs that Valli said winked to the Victorian blouses Joplin and her psychedelic ilk might have worn. The pink ball gowns for the finale were the usual bulbous explosions of tulle and ruffles that made a great photo op grouped together on Valli’s carpeted runway.