At Paris Couture Week, the designers brought more than just fashion to the runways. As a whole, the elite group restored strength to a shaken city after the terrorism attacks in November. With gorgeous gowns inspired by the city’s gardens, a line dedicated to the famous nightclub Le Palace, looks centered on talents such as David Bowie and Mariano Fortuny, and art references to cubism and surrealism, the diverse shows reminded viewers of the parts of Paris that are unbreakable, even after the most unthinkable.
The romanticism of the “city of love” was present in nearly every line via not-so-subtle peeks of skin. Elements of transparent detailing were seen on almost every runway, with lingerie inspired looks, lace, and nearly there fabrics. Versace‘s geometric line of sharp whites and contrasting neon accents had strappy tops, fabrics held together with ropes, and endless cutouts. At Elie Saab, the ethereal vibe involved a lot of sheer lace, in shades of silver, taupe, and royal blue. Dior’s couture line offered more mature looks with structured necklines and hems, yet in contrast were sheer tops, sans bras, partnered with ruffled bottoms. Even Valentino’s regal line of rich textures and colors dressed up by gold details would be fit for a queen, aside from the gauzy fabrics giving a look at what is underneath.
At Ralph & Russo and Jean Paul Gaultier, transparency was balanced with lux lingerie looks, bringing undergarments to the forefront of fashion. JPG expertly crafted a Le Palace scene with Annie Hall like looks, complete with a few bondage-inspired bra tops. From Ralph & Russo we saw princess style ball gowns at a sexier level. Detailed lace left just the right amount of skin showing, while bodysuits with billowing silk wrap dresses, reminiscent of robes, took the most sultry pajama-esque looks from bedroom to runway.
Where there wasn’t a pop of bare skin, there was a focus on fashion as a form of art. Over the top and endlessly interesting, was Viktor & Rolf’s surrealist and cubist inspired line. With sculptures larger than the the models wearing them, it’s a wonder if these looks will ever make it off the runway. Though at a lesser scale, Maison Margiela also played with structure, creating massive ruffles and collars to compliment the edgy beauty looks on the models. The designers focused on creating works of avant garde art, rather than just another dress.
Contrasting to this was Lagerfeld’s latest Chanel line: which featured a very wearable classic collection. One can expect the Chanel iPhone cases slung around waists as next season’s biggest bag trend.
Florals were a major part of Zuhair Murad, Giambattista Valli, and Ralph & Russo’s couture lines. For Murad, lavish embroidery and 3D elements gave the line their flowery flair. Giambattista Valli paid ode to the gardens of Paris: Bagatelle, Palais-Royal, Luxembourg and the Tuileries, with cocktail dresses covered in blooming lace looks. Ralph and Russo’s line designed a line based on their love of peonies, tulips, ivy leaves and roses.
The couture designers make up a strong, but mighty group, bringing the peak of fashion at the most outrageous of levels. From insanely gorgeous, to incredibly intricate, to downright odd, there’s always something interesting with the couture lines and spring 2016 was no exception.
Kaylee Denmead for The Untitled Magazine