khaleej times Friday, February 4, 2011
Anyone who still thinks Haute Couture Week and its fashions are purely for the old guard need only have checked out the Valentino front row. It was chock full of the European high society jet set: the Santo Domingos, the Dellals and some Brandolinis, not to mention a sighting of a few Hollywood startlets, all sitting prettily in a row, perched on the edges of their seats to cast a discerning eye on each of the covetable looks turned out by co-designers Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri for Valentino. The looks were a refined mixture of precious day wear and exquisite long, slender silhouettes for evening. The day wear seemed a little too refined and ladylike for the edgier set that lives in denim, vertiginous heels and moto-inspired blazers, but was the true embodiment of the house, modernised. One of the looks that is sure to be seen on several young, tanned and society blessed, is the white long column with halter back and ribbon details down the entire back of the dress. The collection — an ethereal lightness of being — was a stellar one, where the designers continued to hit their design stride, offering something for everyone.
JeAN PAUL GAULtIer
One cannot be sure if the severing of ties with Hermes was the firestarter that jump-kicked the creative engines of Jean Paul Gaultier, but this designer deity definitely had his mojo back. The collection was an elegant soupcon of refined chic tinged with Gaultier’s signature, perversity. JPG is a master tailor and it was on full display in his punk parade that touched on anarchy, Sid Vicious, straightjacket-inspired gowns and the Can Can. The classic trench silhouette was accounted for in the opening black coat in what looked to be a lacquered black satin material with ball gown full skirt that exposed tulle underneath, as well as his one-shoulder satin floor-length gown in orange satin. Gaultier played up the punk side of things with tattered sweaters and Mohawk hair, with smatterings of chains and dog collars. He streamlined the collection giving the JPG woman many choices for day, formal and night wear. His pinstripe suit with tie-front blouse with ruffled collar and stirrup pant jumpsuit, showcased his impeccable tailoring, sensibility and his frivolity. One of the greatest looks from the show was the black and white organza floor-length gown that played on his signature nautical sailor stripes, elevating it to haute couture heights effortlessly. With an upcoming career retrospective in the works, the show touched on many of his greatest achievements without being too referential.
Karl Largerfeld continues to inspire us all with his limitless imagination and his ability to continue reinventing and modernising the House of Chanel without sacrificing its origins. This collection was luminous and airy, fused with a serenity and quiet beauty, best described as ethereal and whimsical. The classic boucle jacket silhouette, more than 85 years old, took on many incarnations and lengths that kept it fresh as a newly picked camellia bloom, making it once again the de rigueur item of the season. Pointy toe ballet slippers with clear ankle straps modernised the silhouette and gave the collection a refined yet relaxed élan. The jeans/leggings were tapered with either straight legs or side-button vents at the ankle, and were either sequined, leather or house fabric. Much of the collection had a gossamer fabric effect, said to be derived by the tens of thousands of beads that were used to create the light as spun gold effect. The embroidery itself had the look of delicate spiderwebs spun across shoulders, lapels and jacket fronts, teamed with raw edges that gave the structured look a sense of fragility. The silhouette that we are sure to see replicated over and over again in the upcoming fashion seasons is Karl’s dropwaist. It is silhouette that is modern, edgy and classic, much like Chanel today.
Riccardo Tisci was inspired by Japan this couture season, and not the apple blossom or geisha variety. His source of inspiration seemed to be Japanese theatre, nature and robotics, with a little science fiction thrown in. Where last season gave us skeletal vertebra along the back seams and zippers, this time the offerings were feathers and wings. The collection featured 3-D appliqués, armour-like pieces that resembled a robot’s face with a cross over them. Cranes were a repeating theme; case in point: a creation that had giant crane embroidered in a rosette design from a cloud of feathers, another displayed a exaggerated pair of wings across a skirt with sheer insets, while exquisite embroidery gave the illusion of amphibian eyes when in motion. The Japanese headgear was a cross between a robotic toy and a Samurai warrior’s helmet. With all of the plisse, tulle, crystals, appliqués and feathers used, it was undeniable the craftsmanship that went into it.
The eThereal confecTions from hauTe couTure fashion Week Were polished, oTher Worldly (liTerally), referenTial and perfecT for a fairy-Tale queen stephanie rivers reports
There is no denying that Saab always delivers red carpet-worthy gowns and haute couture creations, whether for RTW or Haute Couture Fashion Week. His recent collection was one that allowed a woman to be feminine, elegant and herself. The Saab haute couture customer is regal, appreciates Patrician glamour but has a touch of rebel in her that makes her a ‘woman of character.’ The designer worked in a polished palette of mauve, tea-rose pink, aniseed green and stone, while adding in wild flower prints, organsa and tulle, giving the overall collection that old world glamour allure (Ms Norma Shearer comes to mind) with sweet yet elegant make-up and hair. The looks were lighter than air, rearticulated the body’s curves in a manner that was complimentary and sensuous without being overt. The collection seemed to take Saab into new territory, one draped in tulle, organsa and applique overlays, with a Miss Havisham propriety and less sequined glamour from his last couture outing. It was a beautiful change that further showcased his mastery of tailoring and his flair for the elegant aesthetic.