PARIS — Images of traditional embroidery and floral paintings adorned the walls of Dior’s celebrity-laden runway tribute to Ukraine as the four-day Paris Couture Week kicked off on Monday.
The set, by Ukrainian artist Olesia Trofymenko, was the starting point for designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, who returned this season to the needle and thread workshop. It was a collection rich in embroidery inspired by Eastern European styles, which the house said was also a message of cultural dialogue and support – a message that could imagine a “better future”.
Haute couture is the centuries-old Parisian tradition of producing bespoke clothing at exorbitant prices for the world’s wealthiest women.
Here are some highlights of the fall-winter 2022 collections:
THE ART OF DIOR
A pared-down ambience welcomed guest celebrities such as Naomi Watts, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver in a scented annex of the Musée Rodin Rive Gauche.
So Dior’s famed atelier ditched its glittery razzmatazz to put craftsmanship center stage this fall for an organic display of dresses in earthy tones — and the occasional muted highlight.
Everything this show lacked in energy, it made up for in detail. Chiuri channeled the “tree of life”, the leitmotif of Trofymenko’s art, evoking roots and branches in long loose folk dresses – or in stiff, short ethnic jackets embroidered with silk and threads and threads of cotton.
In an almost poetic touch, patches of bronze guipure braids on full skirts seemed to resemble shimmering morning dew on foliage.
Yet despite its precise execution, there was little new to the exhaustive 68-piece collection. At times, Chiuri seemed to fall back on the Renaissance styles that defined her tenure at Valentino from 2008 to 2016, such as tight crew necks, long royal dresses and flowing bishop sleeves.
Still, there were some standout looks, like a cinched-waist black dress with a white lace breastplate that looked like a rebellious nun who had had enough of the convent.
CACHE AND REVELATION OF SCHIAPARELLI
Wide-brimmed hats shrouded the face in dusty, dappled lighting. The torsos peeked through while sections of the belly were cut into a ribbed undergarment that looked like human flesh.
The house’s American designer, Daniel Roseberry, explored sensuality – and concealment – in a largely thoughtful display that deviated towards the end.
The collection featured dark, archetypal tailoring. Voluminous satin skirts flowed in all directions, capturing the weightless feel of a Renaissance painting.
But there were also plenty of quirks out of respect for the Italian house’s eccentric founder, Elsa Schiaparelli, whose heyday emerged between the two world wars.
Two huge earrings made of bunches of golden grapes cascaded down to cover the shirtless model’s nipples. In the center of a quilted zigzag crop top were two fanciful molded fabric breasts.
According to company lore, a 1948 survey of Americans put Elsa Schiaparelli at the top of their list of the most famous French people. But they still couldn’t pronounce his name – the “Sch” is hard, as in “school”.
Roseberry is on its way to making the house so famous once again.
The Schiaparelli couture show was held at the Museum of Decorative Arts to mark a new retrospective at the museum celebrating the late fashion designer who invented the shocking pink color and wooed surrealist artists.
From July 6, the museum is staging “Shocking! The surreal worlds of Elsa Schiaparelli”, bringing together 577 works including 212 clothes, rub shoulders with paintings, sculptures, jewelry, perfume bottles, ceramics, posters and photographs signed by her friends and collaborators, from Man Ray to Salvador Dali via Jean Cocteau .
The exhibition also traces his lasting legacy on fashion, showing his influence on the designs of Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, Azzedine Alaïa and John Galliano.
IRIS VAN HERPEN AT 15
The Dutch prodigy’s collection was a futuristic spectacle – with winged shoes, dynamic silver tendrils and gravity-defying abstract ribbed silhouettes that one viewer compared to the Marvel Universe – albeit a polished, couture version.
Billed as a “first mixed reality runway experience”, guests were encouraged to bring their mobile devices ready to capture the incredible detail on the garments which, in Van Herpen’s signature style, fused fashion and art. .
A bone-white creation gained extra dimension when captured and slowed down on video: its cloak-like tendrils whipping slowly in all directions like a sci-fi creature. This collection, the house said, merged the physical and the virtual. It succeeded.
There was something dreamlike about the show. It all started with the golden flowers hanging from the decor, the eerie white human sculpture and the haunting music. This is also reflected in fashion. Pops of sheer white structured fabric created large tubular ripples on the model’s body. It was as if the cosmic, the organic and the graphics of a video game merged.
The show, titled ‘Meta Morphism’, was also a milestone for the award-winning seamstress – marking the 15th anniversary of her eponymous fashion house.
THE FLOWERS OF VALLI
Large shoulder frills, sometimes falling to the bust or turning into bows, were the creative touchstone of couture master Giambattista Valli. He presented a frothy display at the chic Pavillon Vendôme on Monday night, which bled white wedding dresses into a stunning tulle highlight.
The quintessentially feminine Italian designer has had fun with shoulder details this season – from leg of mutton sleeves, shoulders dripping with tea green feathers, to abstract shapes resembling stark white origami clouds.
Still, the color was surely the highlight of the 58 dress collection – like a lime-green thick feathered coat that almost swept the floor. It was fabulous – part pimp, part Grace Kelly.