For me the Haute Couture Week in Paris is always like a sweet spring awakening in the middle of the winter, letting one dream of the coming season and admire the delicate creations. I have chosen here my favorite looks from the collections to see trends and get some inspirations.
For the spring couture collection Zuhair Murad literary dived into the theme of water and created spectacular gowns which played with typical design metaphors like dripping beadings, pleated waves, waterfall backs and tulle swirls to catch the element in its different shapes and movements.
Quotes from Shakespeare, bits and pieces of Dante's Inferno, and the paintings of Marc Chagall can describe the romantic mood of Valentino's couture collection best. Especially Chagall with his optimism and Russian ancestry gave the designer duo a strong leitmotif for silhouettes and embellishments.
Jean Paul Gaultier
Normally there is just one bride on the catwalk, but Jean Paul Gaultier dedicated his collection to 61 Ways to Say Yes. From lace bombers and tulle ball skirt to blue jeans and live orchids Gaultier played with contrasts and clichés and gave each look a strong personality.
Viktor & Rolf
Although every look of Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren's collection is based on the same three simple elements of a floral-print baby-doll dress with smocked detailing, a pair of flip-flops and a straw hat, they created an interesting collection through mutating, amplifying and exploding the elements into a strong typology of a countryside theme.
For the Haute couture show, Elie Saab dived back into his childhood in Beirut's "golden age", as he called it, with "parties that would never end". As personal as this memory, also the inspiration for the gowns have a story, as he used an old photograph of his parents as inspiration. The tulip-printed dress his mother was wearing was transferred into a design template for embroideries and applications of this collection.
Alevandre Vauthier is the latest designer who was awarded by the Chambre Syndicale with the official haute couture appellation. For his first collection, Vauthier focused on material manipulation and his signature bombshell looks with exposed hip bone and sheer inserts for which the stars and starlets love him.
This year is the 10th anniversary of Armani Privé which the designer celebrated it with an amazing collection inspired by bamboo which appeared in different forms reflecting its strength and delicacy.
It was embossed on a gold silk jacket, embroidered in lace or spun into organza stoles. The tan of a bamboo stalk and the green of its leaves provided much of the color scheme. Some of his most beautiful effects Armani achieved with plissé jackets and pants in a bark effect.
Karl Lagerfeld created for the Spring not just fantastic looks, but he also took us to a mystical artificial garden as a notion maybe of some future where all history and even nature have become a distant memory. He used the traditional materials in a decaying way were tweed looks solve into fringes and created on the other side an opulence with the floral overload.
Flowers were also a topic for Alexis Mabille's collection, though he took a look back into the past and into the work by French writer Albert Samain. "There are strange evenings when flowers have a soul." is the beginning of a poem from 1893. Mabille used that line to imagine female and floral forms as inextricably linked and worked with dramatic folds and contoured draping in solid, saturated hues.
You might remember the "Impossible Conversations"of the Metropolitan Museum as a "dialogue" between Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada. Giambattista Valli created his own impossible conversation with Coco Chanel and Janis Joplin in mind who both expressed their free-spirited independence in their own style. From Coco he took the little jackets and the menswear influence, while Janis inspired with her iconoclastic layering of cocktail dresses over pants.
Raf Simons has proved already couple of times that music is his master. For the Couture show for Dior he took his inspirations from David Bowie. "He's a chameleon, able to reinvent himself," Simons enthused. "But he's also the materialization of something else. More than a man—an idea." Which could be also said about Christian Dior who was ahead his time. In his collections Simons tries to concentrate more on the bound between future, presence by cleaning up the looks from the dust of history and finding the essence of Dior, rather than replicating the '50s lady style.
Brand ambassador Farida Khelfa let photographer Jean-Paul Goude design the set in a stocking pink as an ode to Schiaparelli who was famous for collaborating with artists. After Zanini's last collection, this time a design team took over and concentrated on the surrealistic essential of Schiaparelli's oeuvre.
For the Couture collection Donatella Versace wanted "to go back to the shape of a woman's body, which is curvy." According to this idea there wasn't a straight line to be found, instead she worked with cut outs and mesh inserts to emphasize body lines and curves.
Maison Martin Margiela
After the announcement that John Galliano is back on the fashion screen, the Artisanal collection of the fashion house Martin Margiela was eagerly expected.The fashion houses hasn't just called for a designer but rather for an alchemist bringing the bits and pieces together which make their couture collections so special and Galliano managed to bring in his extravagant aesthetics and combine it with the house's sense of deconstructionism and grotesque.