The couture week has just come to an end and after days and days of sequin diarrhea I finally came up with a diagnosis regarding the fashion industry’s Holy Grail.
As my mission was to report this couture week, I started wondering about the whole concept and mythology around it.
First, let’s face it: couture still exists for major houses to show off their power. Indeed, aside the dozens of kilometres of taffeta, a couture show also implies a pricey decor and an even more expensive audience that’s going to be flown and accommodated at the houses expense.
Yet couture is also the best way to save, celebrate and show the know-how of many craftspeople.
So, let’s see the results of designers, artisans and billion-euro companies working hand in hand in wallet.
Following the tradition of couture week, it’s Atelier Versace that opened the parade. As always, Donatella shows nearly more skin than fabric,but far from looking slutty there’s a lot of sensuality exuding from the runway. Beautifully draped dressed and some fluid dressing gowns with almost nothing worn underneath go fiercely down the catwalk. The garments seem to naturally slip off the body, as if after her crime the Versace woman was on the lam. It’s a couture murder at the embassy.
Then we head to Dior’s headquarters, where the titan of couture soberly chose to show. The house didn’t have a proper creative director since the departure of Raf Simons. Now, the billion euro company will no longer hide – they wanna sell. So it’s clean, precise, it shimmers here and there in black and white…It’s hand made ready to wear. 40K for the dress. Sold. Sold. Sold.
Up next comes Chanel who pay tribute to their ‘petites mains’, inviting the audience in to an atelier like decor. So humble for Chanel that they almost make us feel charitable. Emperor Karl delivered a ravishing collection where crystals, feathers and sequins grow over the tons of signature tweed like a rash on the Queen’s buttocks.The timeless Chanel jacket will be all about the shoulder this season : Nicely square or aggressively pointy, any Star Trek villain would die to wear one of these.
We leave Coco, to meet the Armani lady. She’s the businesswoman of the couture crew. Always rocking a collarless jacket with wide silk velvet trousers ,where she can hide her wads of cash.You might catch her wearing a bicolour coat made of a thousand dead birds when her empire gets cold. No need for bright colours when you have diamond lenses on…So it’s black, black, black and white. Four funerals and a wedding in billionaires heaven.
We take off to the show of one of the most irreverent couture labels : Maison Margiela. Indeed, Galliano takes us on a trip from a laminated parka to a jacket and shirt giving birth to a faux fur coat (that’s one look). Along the way? Everything you wouldn’t dare to imagine! Although the whole show might look like a pillow fight inside a waste bin in Belgravia, it’s definitely one of the most refreshing moments of the week.
The next show we head to is where tasteful golden youth takes shelter : Giambattista Valli. All the wives of Henry VIII were brought back to life and threw on a Tudor style crop top. Also in store: pastoral dresses for girls that have never seen a cow. And the cherry on top of an enormous tulle cake: dresses to be the most cumbersome prom girl ever.
We continue our couture marathon with the “enfant terrible de la mode” – Jean-Paul Gaultier. The designer that recently dropped his ready to wear lines is now fully dedicated to couture. True to his aesthetic ,this collection flirts with bad taste without ever crossing the line! The catwalk displays everything you wish to see in couture : Fur,feathers and lavish embroidery overflowing from every single seam. Even though, some of the looks will make you appear like you escaped a chocolate trade show in Switzerland, you’ll die for the hardwood print that makes Pinocchio wanna remain a puppet forever.
The couture week closes with Valentino.The uber rich girls finally get their Game of Thrones wardrobe. The ruffled collars paired with the Renaissance-like jackets will help them getting into character. The Pope will also be spoiled for his “cross dressing Fridays” with some jaw-dropping monastic dresses in vibrant red shades. Amen.
At last, I have to mention the two UFOs of this week.
First one, being Brioni, the Italian tailor that once dressed James Bond showed a collection mainly featuring men’s couture. If you wonder how that looks, it’s an army of impeccable white suits for your business trip to Vegas, the world population of chinchilla turned into long coats and a few crocodiles that probably had it coming. Mafia realness.
Finally, what was probably the most eagerly-awaited show of the week: Vêtements. Alas, the trick is getting tired and the post soviet-union trash aesthetic starts getting old. I would have expected more refined collection, like Gorbatchev bathing in 24 carat gold. Sadly it turned out very underwhelming despite the collaboration with iconic brands such as Levi’s,Alpha Industries, Juicy Couture and others. Although I still can’t get enough of Vêtements but young dogs do need to learn new tricks.
As to conclude, couture forcefully survives and basks in its paradoxes. It’s a double headed creature with on one side the powerful houses that need to create a buzz, and on the other side,young designers living on the edge with a voice that’s not loud enough to shake couture to its frozen core.