Merely weeks before the all important Fall/Winter 2014 season begins the top fashion houses show their couture collections. Haute couture, meaning high fashion, showcases the most luxurious designs. Made from expensive fabrics by hand, the craftsmanship that goes into the pieces makes them all the more valuable. Traditionally during Couture Week, held in Paris, we see gowns and glamour. This time around it was different. From the bum bags, knee pads and trainers (or sneakers) at Chanel to the more understated looks found at Dior an important question was left lingering: has couture itself had a makeunder?
Well, Chanel was certainly interesting to say the least. If it were not for the dreadful wigs and out of place sports attire this may have been a wonderful collection. Karl was doing what Karl does best; creating controversy. By putting trainers with expensive skirts, dresses and gowns the vibe overall was different than say if the models were in stilettos. Whilst I would prefer the more sophisticated idea of some heels with a dress the models would not have been able to bounce down the steps with the same spring in their steps as they did in the trainers. Overall, it was a beautiful collection with lots of impeccable pieces in the classic shapes and silhouettes which have become synonymous with Karl’s work at house.
If you do not like Raf at Dior, you are unlikely to like this collection. If you are still pining over Galliano, you are unlikely to like this collection. Note to all, Raf is not Galliano and he never will be. They have completely different design aesthetics and although we have had multiple years to get used to the transition now, many have not. While I am a big Galliano fan and do miss his work, I realise that fashion is about change. Fashion is a constant cycle of change: it is all about progression and moving forward into the future. For this reason, I must give Raf a chance. This collection was light and airy and above all, understated. The only criticisms I have seen are that it is not theatrical enough, didn’t really look couture, too much like ready-to-wear. I do not see this as a problem. There was one dress upon first glance that reminded me of one worn by Kate Moss in the S/S 2012 Louis Vuitton RTW show. However, upon looking again the dresses are more dissimilar than I originally thought. See below.
The talk of this collection was the hoods. Most places referenced Grace Jones but I instantly thought Kylie Minogue in “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”. I adore this collection. Everything looked expensive, luxurious and opulent. Basically everything I imagine couture to be. There was an abundance of draping and such seductive silhouettes which literally hang on the body in the most flattering way. Also, Lindsey Wixson created a moment which will be hard to forget upon reaching the end of the catwalk. If you haven’t seen the gif by now I will include it.
Some people are completely over her work, they think she’s doing this as a hobby – I am not and do not think she is. You can tell that this woman loves what she does and puts so much effort into creating a visually pleasing, as-perfect-as-can-be collection. Being a relatively new designer, she still has a long way to go and I look forward to enjoying the journey over the upcoming years. With this collection you can see the attention to detail that has been put in along with the idea of telling a narrative, this being a trip on the Orient Express. The end product was a beautiful, old Hollywood feeling collection with the kind of glamour that is unfamiliar these days but with a modern twist to ensure the collection is not stuck in the past.
Honourable mentions to Viktor and Rolf for the marvellous ballet extravaganza. Such an elegant way to showcase the collection and put on a show at the same time. Watch here. Also, Giambattista Valli had an amazing collection with interesting shaped skirts. I love the first look shown. Finally, Jean Paul Gaultier was exaggerated, theatrical but mostly lavish. It also featured an appearance by Dita von Teese whom I am a fan of hence leaving me most pleased.
Now, peering into the future, my excitement for the upcoming fashion week(s), or Fashion Month per se, is rapidly growing. It will be interesting to see what is offered up by the designers this time around.