On The Runway

Couture Continued

Looks from (left to right): Chanel, Valentino and Jean Paul Gaultier

Couture week closes today but one thing that ties all the shows together is the fact that there is a sense of modernity and wearability in collections that we haven’t seen before (despite Dior’s mess, they made an attempt in their own way). While there has always been an element of theatrics and frou frou in couture, most designers exerted control and focused on technique and craftsmanship letting the clothes really shine.

This was literal at Chanel. The brand is the embodiment of French luxury, but in case we needed a reminder Karl Lagerfeld brought it home by recreating Paris’ Place Vendome inside the Grand Palais complete with a dark sky, twinkling lights, black floors and a statue of Coco Chanel. The focus was the brand’s most iconic symbol – the tweed suit – which came in new sparkly versions with boxy shoulders, defined waists and longer skirt lengths. Models eyes were rimmed with kohl and covered with a lace veil to create a sense of mystery. It was Lagerfeld’s way of telling the world Chanel is still as modern today as it was 90 years ago – and that is in due part, thanks to him.

Modest, delicate, calm and serene are the words that come to mind when looking at the Valentino collection. Silhouettes were refined yet simple – long gowns had tight long sleeves while dresses covered the body with high collars and longer lengths. Even the palette was super soft – gold, ivory, blush with the exception of pops of red. The element of luxury could be seen in the fabrics and workmanship – one coat was hammered with gold while covered beaded buttons were dotted on backs. There was an air of nostalgia to the understated looks but you could easily them on style icon and singer Florence Welch. A beautiful, beautiful collection that screams luxury.

You can always expect theatrics from Jean Paul Gaultier and his theme this time was Black Swan. So out came the gorgeous suit jackets with plumes poking out from beneath the hems like a tutu. There was also plenty of men’s tailoring balanced with feminine details – a tailored jacket had draped cape sleeves on one side or came decorated with pleated panel. His signatures – biker jackets, trenches, padded bomber jackets, military parka, hooded gowns – were re-envisaged in more luxurious fabrics. It was fun, dramatic but surprisingly, not over-the-top.

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