The very best of fashion design is revealed during Haute Couture Fashion Week. Paris Haute Couture Week has just finished for the Spring Summer 2017 season. Held on January 22-26 in between the end of the Men’s RTW collections and the start of the Women’s RTW, Haute Couture Week always generates a flurry of interest and attention in the fashion world.
I avidly look forward to seeing the couture shows and this season certainly did not disappoint. True to tradition, the shows were a display of the very best creative flair the houses had to offer. No expense is ever spared in the magical haute couture world. The final ‘bride’ look of each show – a tradition that goes back to the beginning of haute couture institution – should always be paid close attention, as it is a representation of the creative integrity of both the collection and brand.
Here are my top 4 picks from the Spring Summer 2017 Couture shows.
- Elie Saab: Entitled The Birth of Light, this collection is the substance of dreams. As I watched the Instagram live stream (genius idea on their behalf) I was transported to a warm, exotic and enchanted place filled with beautiful clothes sent from the heavens. According to the brand, the collection was inspired by the glory days of Egypt and an ode to Arab women. Looks were fluid and gentle, with a strong sense of old Hollywood glamour coming through. Silhouettes were feminine and architectural in their execution. Delicate embellishments and embroidery reflected traditional motifs found in Arabic culture.
The show featured a balanced mix of dresses and separates and I especially loved the looks with elegant cigarette pants, which to me exemplify graceful sophistication.
As a side note, the marketing team involved in the Elie Saab Instagram is to be applauded – it was one of the most generous and informative feeds from the season. Key looks were picked and each had a concise blurb to explain the inspiration. In this way the show became accessible to regular people, doing away with the exclusive pretension that typically surrounds Haute Couture.
- Viktor and Rolf: entitled Boulevard of broken Dreams. A dramatic, whimsical display of a fragmented reality. Although the looks were uniquely Viktor & Rolf style, they were beautifully mature and represented the organized chaos of deconstructionism. Throughout the show there was a sense of displacement coupled with a desire to piece things together, a kind of push and pull. Tulle acted as a kind of bonding agent to unite. The final bride look is surprisingly conventional – pure white with gold accents.
- Giambattista Valli: If you can look past the deliberate fold/crease marks, this collection was youthful, light and serene. Dominated by floral motifs and prints, this collection is a truly traditional spring/summer affair. The first few looks tended toward a semi-oriental feel with straight clean lines and modest embellishment, then it lead into a series of extravagant gowns. The colour palette is organic and nature inspired. Volume and dimension added interest and lifted the collection to a theatrical level. The final bride look is a butter yellow invention with layers upon layers of tulle.
- Chanel: This collection started with an ode to the history of the house with a lineup of tweed suits. It then got progressively more opulent and fancy, with sequins, feathers and metallic leather accessories. There were a variation of lengths; some short, mid and long. The gowns had an overall party feel, with acknowledgment to past eras of fashion almost in a historically accurate timeline. The prevailing colour palette was comprised of soft, candy-coloured pastels – mint, pink, apricot and blue – with silver metallic accents. The final bride gown, worn by Lily Rose Depp, was a textured yet fluffy soft pink reverie.
- Elie Saab: Vogue.co.uk Elie Saab Spring/Summer 2017 Couture Collection [http://www.vogue.co.uk/shows/spring-summer-2017-couture/elie-saab/collection/]
- Viktor and Rolf: Viktor & Rolf Boulevard of Broken Dreams Couture SS2017 [http://www.viktor-rolf.com/haute-couture/boulevard-broken-dreams/]
- Giambattista Valli: Vogue.com Spring 2017 Couture Giambattista Valli [http://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2017-couture/giambattista-valli]
- Chanel: Chanel Haute Couture The Looks [http://www.chanel.com/en_AU/fashion/haute-couture/show-2017-spring-summer-looks.html]
- *cover image: Giambattista Valli Haute Couture SS17