Another stellar season in Paris kept fashion pulses racing ahead of a new Haute Couture season

Alexis Mabille

All images below (c) Alexis Mabille

Alexis Mabille creates beautiful Haute Couture and also Ready-to-Wear that bridges between the Baroque and Neoclassical beauty of the past and the contemporary high fashion culture of Paris with it's milieu of international clients. For Winter Alexis produced a collection that included the reliable touches of style and glamour with some new ideas that followed his signature vein of style 

The collection opened with a sweep of frosted bridal White setting a sugar sweet note for the colder months lying ahead. A tuxedo dress cut above the knees is cinched at the wiast with a gentle ribbon tie and metalic buttons accented the reference to the classic double breasted blazer look. Making a reversal of the classic bridal finale the debut of the bride also turns the classic form of the dress around with the short, shoulderless style. A dotted lace veil trails from above the right ear decorated with a large earring set with diamonds and I believe an Amethyst. Centre above a two piece suit with veil creates an interesting exploration of classic bridal fabrics. The woven lace of the classic veils or surface weave of silk appears in gently cut floor-length trousers. Above it is placed a shift dress slashed at the side and also dropped to a second length in a unique form of train behind the wearer. The neckline is bordered with jewels that run across the upper arm and above encircle the neckline. It's a beautiful innovative approach to wearing jewellery in a more complete way. To the right, a soft White lace blouse is teamed with a Navy Blue silk skirt that is banded high at the waistline before falling to thick un-pressed pleats in the length of the skirt. The silk falls to the midi-length with a dropped hem of Navy netted fabric dotted casually with circles of silk just as the White veil above. It's a serious note of statement glamour that could be worn in more formal settings and would travel well through an international client base.       

A Midnight Blue dress is tiered through the full lengths of the skirt from a high waist to the floor. Sheer tulle layered around the figure creates a swaying mystery around the wearer and the neckline of the off-the-shoulder dress is banded by feathers. A veil of dotted wide weave netted tulle falls from the crown of the head to knee length behind the model making a statement for an alternative piece of bridal design or a ball dress. Mabille chooses his colours carefully and this tone like it's peers will be flattering to many clients across the world. Centre above a bodice dress moulded to the figure is accented by a sweetheart neckline and a bow tied at the waist. The dress is completed by a gown jacket that features an over-sized ruffled collar of Elizabethan proportions with lengths of semi-sheer silk tulle sweeping behind the wearer. All is bordered with a Golden brocade that adds a fine off-setting touch to the sheer Black. It's pure glamour of statement proportions.

To the right a dress woven of beautiful Black lace wraps around the figure from shoulders to feet leaving the wearer partly veiled. To accompany this a Black silk cape cut in circular folds around the wearer uses voluptuous expanses of fabric draped over itself time and again. This chic outer layer will protect against the chill winds of the autumn and winter and could be worn and treasured across many seasons by a client and her family. There is no height requirement to wear Haute Couture as pieces are always tailored to the needs of a client but these looks elongate the figure gently whilst looking comfortable on clients of different heights.

Show-stopping party and formal wear looks are a mainstay of Mabille's work that keep his clients returning and drawing on new ones. This is the fresh take on classic Haute Couture that people from all over the world look to find. Above to the left a long dress features a bodice created by bands of ribbon silk tied close to the heart. The off-White of these streams form the classic Black/White contrast with the long lengths of the skirt wrapping the figure in glamourous volume and and also proofing against the cold. Beneath at the ankles you can see woven lace detail of semi-sheer lace trousers in the same fabric as the dress above to the right. It's statement glamour for nineteen year olds and those in their nineties. To compliment, a veil dotted with White and Black spots falls from the crown of the head behind the wearer, again hinting at bridal and possibly as a second reception dress for after the wedding, or a pre-wedding party.

Centre above an abundant White dress coat makes an elegant entrance with broad lapels and a shoulder cape extending from the collar before descending to a tailored upper jacket flowing through to the skirt. The expanse of fabric just asks to twirl through a dance floor but this will also make a stunning Red Carpet piece that will create a beautiful entrance during awards season. The bow tie at the waist adds the touch of signature Mabille prettyness with the tie length falling past the knee of the wearer. From film stars to royals and society belles, this outfit is another working classic that could slip into the wardrobe of women across the generations. To the right a dress featuring exquisite embroidery descends the figure fluting at the hemline that circles feet of the wearer. Sewn in a Silver-White woven carept of flowers, this piece is complete with a sheer cape descending behind the wearer with a sweetheart detail dip. Jewelled banding from the neckline flows in a continuous stream across the border like a ribbon of Silver light.    

The layers of tiered tulle return once more with a floor-length sheer dress partly concealing a jewel sewn mini-dress underneath. It's both a contrast of textures and of line all wrapped up in Sugar Pink. There is a hint of flamenco in the ribbon banding of the tiers in the voluminous sleeves and tripple tiered descending skirt. It's a fiarytale look but also one that's serious about the statement that it makes. The detail of the jewelled applique craftwork in the under dress is truly memorable.

Centre above a rhapsody in lace again brings hints of traditional Spanish but also British and French crafts to the collection for this season. A bodice is framed with Black lace descending to a warm glow at the middle, like a flickering flame, above a Grey-Lilac embroidered silk base. From the lower waist to the hem, three dual bands of lace, a thick line of Black above a slender line of Peach descend in gradually increasing lengths dipped at the front of the dress. It's an imaginative approach to a lace which often has traditional connotations. The veil appears as a soft apron tier through the upper haplf of the skirt lengths. Lively and fun, this look could whirl around a ballroom or dancefloor happily this season. It's also another piece that's completely ageless.

To the right a Black lace body suit is teamed with a Rose silk jacket styled partly like a Japanese Kimono gown and partly like a light shawl to cross the shoulders. Adding a contrast of textile from silk to lace and the delightful harmony of Black and Pinks, this is a daring look that would wow in the spotlight on the Red Carpet. It's another way to bring the traditional fabrics and crafts from the past up to date and in a new configuration of style.  

Sweeping acres of fabric swathe a model in Blush Pink and Cardinal Red. As ever, there is a softness in this look contained in the strength of the piece and the bows tied at the left shoulder and waist sweetly contain the vast expanses of fabric. Folds form naturally through the fabric as it falls around the wearer and the gentle light construction makes this an easy piece to be comfortable in across long evenings at formal gatherings where you mind is on guests and conversation, not your outfit. It's a beautiful colour harmony. To the right an entire piece in Scarlet Red again plays with the theme of layering up two dresses as one. A floor length evening dress with flowing lace outer skirt falling as a hem descends from more voluminous fabric. The waist is framed by roses ringed around the wearer whilst the outer layer of the dress takes the netted silks of veils from earlier in the collection and creates a bodice, sleeves and a knee length skirt. It's a warm romantic look for the cooler Autumn, Christmas party season and perhaps also for late Winter Valentine's balls. 

A Salmon Pink dress is pleated in a consetina style wraped around the figure. With it's off-the-shoulder style descending to a hemline of pressed out pleats for a few inches above the knee, the dress is given shape by the fluted bodice area and a band of ribbon around the waist the same colour as the dress. Centre above the theme of pleats extends to a full length dress in Mandarin with shoulders accented with a bouquet of applique flowers. The voluminous expanse of the maxi dress is kept in check by a simple thin belt fastened precisley at the lower centre of the bodice. Like all of the pieces of this collection, you can see how comfortable this would be to wear across the time of an even and it's not too complex or otherworldly to pack for travel to weddings, balls, parties and staying with family and friends. Many of these pieces would make superb contemporary Bridal options and as ever with Haute Couture you can make requests to designers for alterations in colour and to suit bespoke needs. To the right above a final piece from the collection that falls in degrede from the softest sugar Pink, through Peach and Salmon to an Umber reminiscent of Italy. It's a play on the fish-tail design and evokes the Supermodel dresses and era of the 1980's and early 1990's. It's glamour in the very core of it's being and as it is, or re-tuned into White, it could make a special bridal piece for a client as well as a Black Tie dress. 


All images below (c) Chanel

If you imagined a women's college, one where all the students aged mostly 18-24/25 wore Haute Couture as they devoured books in the libararies, then this was the scene set in the Grand Palais in Paris for Autumn 2019/20 Haute Couture from Chanel. Learning is for all ages though and many of Karl's clients across the decades are no doubt students of art, history and politics around the globe. There was a collegiate dedication to decorum in this collection that is often encapsulated within the core of Chanel.   

The collection opened resplendant with tweed that Gabrielle Chanel discovered in Scotland during her time visiting and living in the UK. A coatdress seals a long line silhouette with large round buttons forming angular bisection across the garment. Waves of electrified Purple run across a deeper old Crimson base likes waves of energy exuding from the form of the woman. The singular external colour is broken by flashes of White satin that comprise the inner lining of the jacket. With White tights or leggings and shoes with sweet bow tie detail it constitutes a more grown up version of what the Americans call 'preppy' meaning school-like. Whilst this look features two pockets at the chest and hip on both sides, the second of the series features Blush boucle tweed is set with three pockets on either side of the coat jacket. Falling to the ankle and with a raised collar it will sheild the wearer against the cool winter season airs in Paris, London, New York or Turin. A confident note of Purple appears in the lining of this piece at a jaunty off-set angle to the outer colour just like it's predecessor.    

Centre above a Black coat continues the form of line that opened the collection with a woven tweed boucle that hugs close to the figure in a smooth line. This touches on the classic codes of Chanel as demure and discreet with pockets that are almost invisible to the naked eye. It will keep you warmly wrapped up this season. To the right another Black coat dress features the signature broad lapels of a women's double breasted suit and the sweeps gently into the long lines of an elegant coat dress with almost invisible pockets at the hips and the upper chest. A White satin lining to the suit gives a hint that this ideas makes a play on the traditional men's evening Black tie outfit. A Claret coloured jacket and culotte pants also feature the Chanel classic '2 by 2 pockets' as I call them and evoke the bold independant strides that women made towards independance in the 1920's and 1930's, with Gabrielle Chanel playing a key role in this new era of freedom with her re-styling of women's fashion to suit an era when more women had choice and control over their lives in many places in the world.   

A jacket and dress is one of the most easy, versatile options for fromal and semi-formal day wear. Magenta shoots a bolt of colour to brighten the autumn days and the cut of the jacket that reached to the waist is a blend of the classic and casual styles that developed during the 20th century. Breast pockets are reminiscent of denim jackets as well as the classic cut of the higher pockets in the Chanel jacket. It's a 'go-anywhere' piece, to the office, out for drinks or a lunch or to the movies. To it's right a Purple and Black dress and jacket combination in stretched houndstooth makes another impactful combination whilst still being easy to take anywhere. The colour isn't too bright or too dour. As with everything that comes out of Chanel, it's been mulled, tested and checked to perfection before making the final cut to add to the collection.

Centre above another daring moment with double tweed shows that Chanel are interested in playing with classics in ways that might surprise. Medium weave boucle tartan tweed is composed into a jacket, tied at the neckline with a Black silk simple bow. Trousers are cut once again in the broader style of the 1930's and early 1940's emphasising freedom and practicality. Broad shirt sleeve cuffs borrowed from the gentleman's wardrobe partially break the two fabrics apart and make them appear to coalesce by creating a sharper contrast. A broad woven check featuring chain-like ties keeps the wearer warm and wrapped inside a winter dress that could be worn from during the day or evening. A thick White belt defines the waist whilst pockets at the upper chest bring some of the styling of the classic Chanel jacket to the look. To the right the soft curling form of a cocktail dress is brought into the daytime wardrobe complete with peplum gathers curivng round the figure like a wave. The classic Black of eveningwear translates naturally to a chic daytime piece that sits just off the shoulders and would be appropriate for smart social ocassions through the late autumn and winter. Buttons falling down the left hand side of the garment give a nod to the female closing of the double breasted jacket.     

Purple is played with much during the collection and above to the left a trouser suit is cut to couture heaven with sleeves rouched at the shoulder, panels sewn at gentle arching angles and pockets above the hips. Trousers are cut in the collection de jure 1930's style and offer ample flexibility and movement to the wearer as well polished style. It's the combination of the look of ease but technical excellence that keeps Chanel in the fore of the Haute Couture houses of Paris. Again this look worked by Virginie Viard and her studio is a super adaptable piece for the wardrobe. To it's right a look in Midnight Blue/Black loosens the lines of the structure to simplify the silhouette of the jacket and long trousers are cut into Palazzo pants width with fabric running to the hems unsewn. It adds a faint hint of Bohemian to the look and again places and emphasis on freedom whilst still looking stylish.

A coat dress centre above employs the same tweed outer fabric and satin silk lining to provide both warmth and comfort and an intriguing weave like a maze or jigsaw weaves acros the surface reminiscent of the complexity and infinate scope of the female mind. Here and in many other places through the collection, you can see a reference to the many positive strengths contained in the female form. To the right a Cardinal Red skirt suit cut at off-set angles is another new take on the classic Chanel suit. Always the designers go back to Gaberielle Chanel, her life, her beliefs and inspirations and then draw a fresh approach. In recent decades the brand has steered a clever path in the frought journey of maintaining the vision of a founder of House when they have passed. Breast pockets are set at a roughly 45 degree angle from the vertical and lapels are created by a pristine White blouse underneath. It's another bright bolt of colour in soft fine textiles that would not age in the wardrobe and prove a useful investment look. The mode of cutting the jacket in a cresent arc high over the waist was taken a step further by the next look in the series that I chose to talk about. Caramel clusters are woven on a base of Silver across a jacket cut higher into the bolero style. Broad lapels reminiscent of the 1980's using the ladies jacket fold descend to a single button positioned high above the waist. In contrast the skirt beneath with it's horizontal fine lines creates an opposite visual pattern that is still easy on the eye. It's another fresh crisp classic look with broad appeal for the coming season.       

A suit coat cinched in at the waist makes a clever play on the visual effect of the traditional houndstooth design with a soft lattice shaped weave running through the fabric. Volume appears again in the wider upper sleeves and shoulders above a narrowed waist and an above the knee skirt. It's an easy single garment look. The stretched houndstooth fabric appears again in a second suit woven swapping out the previous Purple for White. The above knee skirt and coat offer both practical warmth and comfort as will as great look for city life or time in the countryside where you need a sharp suit of sorts. It's another abundantly well crafted look from Chanel. Centre above a small houndstooth weave is chosen for a classic Chanel-line dress and jacket. With pockets of the dress sitting below the hips and above the waist in the long bolero cut style, the sequencing of two by two pockets and piped boucle tweed at the jacket hem greet the eye as Chanel hallmarks. It's a simple classic style that will look beautiful on any client across the generations.

To the right the playsuit gets a Chanel make-over with a Red lose woven tweed based on Black creating a light-hearted update of the 1970's classic. A bandeau neckline bordered in White satin silk chimes with White buttons at either side of the waist in neat and chic harmony. Matched with a subtle jacket from your own collection or requested from the atelier it could make a great formal wear piece to cover the arms and shoulders. To the right a Black tweed bodice combines the best of classic outerwear fabric with the cut of delicates and broad legged trousers. This sophisticated way of balancing components of what we recognise to belong to two different genres of style is an imaginative twist. The broad comfy trousers appear again in smooth woven tweed  creating a lighter look for warmer days in autumn of stylish Tapis Rouge piece or day to evening look. This is another fresh classic that I swear could come out of the wardrobe again in 30 years time and look beautiful on a wearer or passed on with alterations made. To the far right play with conventional notions of necklines continues with a Bardot neckline often seen in dresses is style into the opening of a ladies jacket. The classic Chanel Black jacket of Gabrielle takes a bold step into new territory but obedient to House rules of tried and tested styles and form, it is a beautiful compliment to the Black tweed even with faint hints of the tinsel-like shimmer of Silver and Gold threads that the House sometimes runs through garments. This nod to the fashion of the 16th century in Europe hints at a deeper curatorial interest in the fashions of centuries past.          

A beautiful trouser suit is comprised of a two-tier jacket and accented with ruched floral shapes and detail and two sets of two pockets on either side. Below a pair of trousers amply cut for ease is sewn with rouched floral applique completing the re-working of the Chanel suit into a beautiful day to evening style. A ladies suit for cocktail hours and drinks parties or dinners is a useful way to meet the 'Lounge Suit' criteria on a dress code and as the collection moves into eveningwear. A Teal blouse and midi-length trousers in sheer silk create a beautiful ensemble that has huge potential. Gathers of rolls of silk around the neck form a small cowl almost whilst light ruching creates a sheer upper bodice bordered by a bandeau sweetheart neckline with the main bodice of ruched Teal fabric descending past the hips. This is a party look and a wonderful Red Carpet option that isn't overly exhuberant. It you want a neat chic look in front of the cameras, here is a good safe option. An Aqua-Green cocktail dress makes a feature of ruching from it's neckline to knee length hem and with the clever use of simplicity a halter-neck tie topped off with a Black bow at it's cross. It's a beautiful party look for the autumn and winter season with a shade of fabric that appears to have a light of it's own glowing inside it.

A pale Mauve floorlength dress floats with diaphanous ease around the wearer as she walks. Forming a classic simple elegant look, a free floating cowl is created with a thin gauzy fabric collar whilst a bandeau neckline dress features two twists of fabric across the upper bodice before descending to a sheet layer of fabric surrounding the chest and above a dress skirt gathered below the waist in pin-tucks to create volume. A Magenta dress channelling my theme colours is constructed in several tiered layers that have a wonderful feeling of seeing a dress in perfect reverse. Fine tucked pleats surround the figure at each layer of the bodice, skirt and trousers adding a further dimension of texture to the garment. To the right a Claret cocktail dress akes a demure statement suitable for the most formal occasions, with a small stole and otherwise one of the most universal looks of the collection. This is one of the pieces that many clients will hopefully be placing orders for in great number. I imagine it being worn to dinners, dates, drinks receptions and even by performers such as singers and instrumental soloists.  

A single-shouldered evening dress is set with flowers across the neckline above a Cream-White coloured dress. This monochrome palette of Black and White flowers above an almost White dress provides an agreeable option for a namesake dress code and many other events besides including Red Capret and awards ceremonies and charity benefits. To the right a bandeau bodice higlights the interest in playing with colour through this collection as shimmers of firework coloured florals. The burst of colour is tempered with the gentle cut of the top and the ankle length White skirt that it's matched with. It shows Chanel's will to create somthing fresh and new alongside the re-inventions of the codes of the House from the past and creates a beautiful look for formal events. The shimmering weave of colours appears again in a bolero jacket hinting at rafia style weave to the centre is matched with a dress featuring a shift outer layer evoking the snows storms of late autumn and winter. It's another bold new idea that fits within the scope of the classic codes of the House whilst giving them new life and energy.  

The lace shift outer weave that reminds me of snowflakes appears again to the right through the lengths of a dress that brings hints of traditional Spanish and French traditional dress, with it's pin-tucked pleated tiers. This faint bohemian edge to the look again nods to a sense of physical freedom that Gabrielle Chanel cherished and wanted to give to all women through her styling and design. It's a fun dress for wedding parties and Christmas season events and the long length will keep you well wrapped through the colder days and evenings without feeling too warm. A long White dress cut in a single sheet of White silk runs from the neckline to the feet in a single stroke of beauty. It shows that dresses like this don't have to be reserved for purely Bridal occassions but can also transform into evening nad ocassion looks. A Midnight-Blue gauzey cape-jacket embroidered with fine flowers seals the look of demure Haute Couture excellence that would easily translate into many different environments and dress customs.         

In another style re-imagining the tiered layers of the traditional women's dress and skirt are introduced to the long lines conformist tailoring of the traditional blazer jacket in one of the most daring Couture hydrids you could conceive. Once again this is achieved with the classic codes of decorum from Chanel. There is discipline and modesty that speaks to refinement and mathmatical accuracy that the eye recognises as style. A bold Scarlet Red also rings a note of confidence in the new season and will look spectacular at parties through the month of Christmas festivities. Simplifying this look and raising pockets from the hips to the chest area a Black silk coat dress is also cut in the lines of a Blazer jacket that has been extended. It's a professional take on elegance that would look wonderful at an awards ceremony or formal reception. The series above speaks to the evening and glamourous occasions where clients can create special memories.

Above to the right a dress bodice styled from the men's tuxedo straddles the last remaining divide in the male and female wardrobes, the eveningwear options ofr Black and White tie. Still in this arena men and women dress differently and in the 19th century the Black and White dress code for men's suits replaced the colour and splendour of men's dress in previous centuries and has not yet given way to a much-need boost of tasteful colour. A full skirt circles the wearer gathered by pin-tucks to increase the volume and forms an enveloping piece of fashion to wear. Note here again the broad White cuffs seen on an earlier look to the left that replicate the styling of the shirt. To the far right, a beautiful evening dress takes it's cue from the glamour era of the 1930's and 1940's with tiny ribbons running through the lengths of the bodice in a faintly Art Deco style and a sleek Black velvet lower skirt of the dress. It's another easy way tp find a comfortable piece that makes the perfect impact.       

The shimmer of lace returns in Charcoal Grey with floral rosettes appearing across the sheer surface of an ankle length dress. In a quirky (by Chanel standards) moment the upper bodice of the garment sits loosely on the wearer with fabric draping downwards whilst the central hip and waist area hugs the figure before descending to a skirt of broad box pleats. It's a look that's modest but not dowdy and could be perfectly suited to more formal dress codes. Another play on the gentleman's tuxedo releases a burst of raffia-like puffs across the surface of the upper dress in White and Grey with a Black velvet bow tie matched to the sleeves and lengths of a dress that fits to the model like a loose glove.

There are several classic images of Gabrielle Chanel in the archieves of her wearing fine pleated tightly ruffled collars appearing around her neckline from over and above a Black jacket. This item from the wardrobe is re-imagined above in three pieces. The first shows the classic blouse deconstructed and bands of fabric wrap between the two shoulders and the opposite sides of the waist. Belted at the waist to create a loose peplum frill encircling the waist, this blouse is faintly reminiscent of the Russian costume and culture that captured Chanel's interest so much. Grey silk trousers float around the wearer as they walk with fabric rippling through the air. A sleeveless blouse in the next look is teamed with a collar high enough to challenge the styles of the Elizabeth era and finely gathered pleats run from the collar to the waist kept in check with round buttons held just to the side. A thick belt keeps a Gold coloured long skirt in check descending to a slightly dropped hemline just above the ankles. Hints of both the Rock and Roll era and the casual draping of the dresses of the 18th century both come to mind when seeing this but it has it's own charm as a classic of around 2019 to the early 2020's. Moving beyond precious metals to the purity of White a dress to the right encompasses the classic style of the mid 20th century full skirted day and evening dress. A single swath of fabric sweeps across one shoulder in gentle folds contrasting with a firm dress bodice encircling the waist and a midi-length broad skirt trimmed with feathers.  


The glamour dial is set higher with a Black satin silk evening dress dropping from the shoulders and featuring a bandeau ribbon across the neckline. Distilled simplicity in glamour is realised in a chic bodice descending to hidden box pleats below the hips to allow flow of movement as the wearer walks. Tied with a White belt at the waist to hint at the daytime professional look, this outfit again is another almost universal staple to add to the wardrobe and could be worn without the belt potentially to look even more timeless. For romantic dates or times infront of the camera, this would be a piece that would be a key ingredient in the wardrobe. To the right one of the most breathtaking pieces that I've seen from Chanel and a classic understated elegant dress that would be perfect for a diplomatic reception or formal White Tie occasion. Layers of semi-sheer silk are gathered across the bodice descending from the shoulders through to the lengths of the dress that runs to floor length. Semi-sheer sleeves reveal the light delicacy of a single layer of fabric that shows the beauty of the garment production. A bow tied at the waist and simple circle cuffs add the tiniest hints of aligned geometry to contrast the free flowing fabric.

A similar inspiration is worked into a Black silk dress with a gentle 'fit and flare' shape created by a tissue light corset-style bodice sitting above a dress skirt formed of manifold small pleats through the lengths of the garment. A line of buttons spanning from collar to above the central waist also hint at the antique-vintage look of the garment referencing the Belle epoche era. Collections in Haute Couture usually culminate with Bridalwear but this season Chanel seem to have taken a departure. After moving to a final eveningwear look of a vest blouse sewn with giant sequins and a full length skirt sewn with many tiers, the final look featured a Blush Pink blouse and wide trousers in silk accompanied by a loose tied tiered coat hinting a the outdoors and sporting. I could be wrong and this is infact styled to be an updated take on the silk dressing gown but I wonder if some brides next season may work parts if not all of this look into unconventional bridal style.


All images below (c) Gyunel

Gyunel is the brainchild of Azerbijani designer Gyunel Rustamova who has been based in London for over a decade since her graduation from the Azerbijani Univeristy of Economics was followed by her move to London to study fashion at Batchelor and Masters degree level. She is to my knowledge the second British based House showing in Paris Haute Couture week and has now featured on the calendar through six seasons. From her atelier in South Kensington with a show room close to Harrods she dresses some of the most influential women in the world from A-list actresses, to socialites and royalty from across the globe. This is infact her second career within arts after already becoming an accomplished oil painter in the early 2010s. With three strings to her fashion Empire she shows Ready to Wear in London, Couture in Paris and offers a private dress-making service to create individual garments to clients wishes. Throughout her work, she brings touches of her homeland and native Baku into her work and carries memories of home in her travels around the world.      

Gyunel has a fresh approach to her collections of Haute Couture which resonate firmly with her own unique voice. The collection for Autumn-Winter opened with a unique long Navy Blue dress accented with firey bolts of Copper-Red flickering flames dappled across fabric through the length of sleeves from elbow to cuff. It also appeared in the length of the train of the dress behind the wearer as she walked. To the right a re-imagining of the Ballerina dress for eveningwear. A nude bodice shell is sewn with beautiful flowers whilst referencing the classic lines of garment under structure. A tutu-esque skirt in Burgundy tulle adds volume and a little character to the look without looking theatircal. This is a serious dress to be taken out and enjoyed in the party season.

A floor length Black evening dress was sewn with Golden threads evoking the spirits of nature and natural forms of trees. It's an elegant classic that would meet the dress code for formal events and suit many figures. A wrap or bolero jacket would be easy to add by request, or from your own collection to fend of the chill of the winter evening. The designers bold confidence in using textiles is again displayed with a small bodice cut top (a signature style of hers it appears) matched to a fun skirt composed of a Black and Nude coloured base with hand made colour pops of flowers in Turquoise, Pink, Red, Blue and Black sewn across the surface. To the right a fusion of Platinum silk and sheer tulle embroidered with Gold and Electric Pink make an interesting textile contrast hinting at the enegery and power captured inside the female form. It's a creative design and one that doesn't feel like it belongs in any one geography more than another.  

The shimmer of Gold on Black plays against both earth and precious metals found within as well as the Black ink of the night sky and stars and commets found that treak across it in the vast rural expanses without city lights. It's a neat and chic look that will easily feel like a perfect option for a Winter party or drinks reception. The neutral palette will also suit a wide variety of skin tones and hair colours too. A daring sheer bodice of the next look features Golden applique possibly designed to resemble owls across the surface. The sheer fabric drops to diamond cut-away chevrons around the hips and falls to minute fine pleats that create a beautiful amount of volume around the figure. There's something in the sway of the material that reminds me of the garments created far in the ancient past in Rome, Greece, Egypt and the Near East. It's such a natural simple statement of beauty and elegance.

A centre placed dress above is sculpted with a cut-away neckline that resembles the sharp diamond or gemstone cut. The upper part of this outfit is in effect a sculpted dress brought forward into the 21st century with a nod to bridging fashion and art. The bodice descends to an eliptically cut skirt that allows an asymmetrical  length the showcase the beautiful fabric created. A skirt with Golden tassels descending through at least ten tiers, each in light and traditional Yellow Gold creates a beautiful contrast of colour and texture with the upper part of the look. It's precisely this combination of elements, calculated to the minutest dregree that tell the brain and the heart that what they see is stylish in it's harmonious composition. To the right a skillful working of silk or satin is created to give the impression that the fabric is infact a gathering of feathers, perhaps from a mystical giant raven haunting the mountains of the Caucases near to Azjerbijan. It's a mysterious piece with the lower part of the garment actually forming culottes. To the right a Silver cocktail dress is drawn on the lines of the classic mid-20th century look that has stood the test of time. These fit and fare knee length dresses look like a classic that will always be something that clients can depend upon. This piece features sheer Silver gauzey silk outer dress at the bodice, shoulders and sleeves descending to run over a Silver skirt to create a shift look.  A garden of delicate applique runs over the surface from neckline to hem, twinking ever so slightly and fluttering as the wearer walks. A piece to treasure, that like many will live long in clients wardrobes I believe.      

A humerous twist on the often serious world of Haute Couture appears in the first look above to the left. A White dress that has strong overtones of the conventional Bridal dress falls from the shoulder to the ankle in a profusion of delicate lace. Unusually, through the bodice is sewn with two tiny applique figures in Grey-Black that appear to be skiers holding a pole each that appears to cross over the V of the plunge neckline. It's like a vision of a snowqueen re-imagined in a literal sporting guise. The light beauty of the lace falling across her figure through the lengths is off-set by the definition of the circular in the collar and at the wrist. In a contrast to 'floating' style a White satin silk dress cut close to the figure makes a daring twist on the original skirt or dress suit. Featuring the asymmetric cut-away from a Golden bodice above this template blends smooth satin silk in harmony with an embroidered lace shift folding around the backof the dress to wrap underneath the satin silk. It's a bold and beautiful look and could possibly be requested with small alterations to form a bridal suit. The jacket sleeves in lace also contrast to the smooth satin of the upper dress and the cut-away half diamond at the neckline play on the soft smoothness of the lace versus the crisp lines of the satin.  

The singature collection cut-away features again with a Silver dress featuring a straight neckline above an understated bodice and full sleves. The length descends asymmetrically through to the floor length again using the signature cut-away style Gyunel transposes through several garments. The many-tiered tassel skirt theme returns again in the under skirt that matches the dress in Silver tones. Dark, medium and light Silver all blend together to create a shimmering waterfall. It's another piece that will blast light into the darkest days of autumn. To the right a burnished Red, a look seemingly taken from the leaves of autumn or of the sunsets flames. The upper part of the dress shimmers with the twinkling Red resembling Christmas whilst the free-flowing pleats of the Russet-Red skirt lengths create a beautiful long flowing silhouette. For a Gala or Red Carpet, this would be an elegant option. In a more adventurous moment the leaves of autumn appear in a dress that appears to take inspirations from the 1970's maxi dress era.         

The signature autumnal pattern returns in another look that makes a strong statement for the Red Carpet. A mini-dress combined with a long train that flows out behind the wearer has been a mainstay of Red Carpets for several years now and as Gyunel includes this in her offering of possibilities for clients this season, it illustrates that this is a trend that will be continuing and anticipates their demand. A sweetheart neckline is bounded by a boucle thread of Gold that splits at the shoulder into two straps one over and one draped around the left shoulder of the wearer. There is a real warmth in this piece split between the bonding of the mettalics and the hints of nature. An iced light Grey-White with hints of lightest Mauve forms the neautral pristine base for an elegant memorable dress. A swath of fabric running across the neckline from right hand bodice to left shoulder creates a cross body halter neckline. This look is 'calling for an award' to be placed in the hand of the wearer or perhaps the hand of a friend or companion ahead of a evening event. The garment features ruching in three places drawn in to a split above the left leg to draw the fabric around the wearer. A sheer veil-like second train falls behind the wearer as an outer layer above the lengths of the dress. This tissuey fabric adds a further hint of romance and mystique.

A light Golden mini-dress sewn with tiny thread tassels creates the appearance of jewellery composed of parts of the dress itself. This dress also features more of the tissue-light fabric in a train that could also be worn as a headscarf or necktie potentially. It's a beautiful party-ready look that has it's own unique fingerprint of style. As the collection draws to it's finale, Gyunel takes a look at bold colour and Aqua is a popular choice to communicate through. Below to the left she brought out a dress blending the icey Blue-Green that you find inside Icebergs with sheer barely there panels. The mixture of the naturel and the man made. It illustrates the winter landscape surrounding a city in the icey cold months. To the right a bridal dress creates a stunning close to the collection. Sculpted in a fishtail design the train is created in a hooped dipped shape. Ruched tissue layers of tulle add volume whilst a contrast is thereby created with the upper bodice and it's diamond cut-away neckline. A veil sits pinned at the crown of the head with floral motifs emphasising a soft delicacy.           

Alexander Vauthier

Image credit (c) Alex Fioro for Go Runway.

Alexander Vauthier is a mainstay of the Haute Couture schedule in Paris. He brings out Haute Couture that is highly wearable and adaptable to lives of international clients but at the same time the nuances of the pinacle of style and styling creation are always there. He opened his offering for the coming autumn with a stylish and daring re-working of the classic Charcoal-Grey pinstrike three piece suit. This traditional staple of the men's wardrobe is transformed into a sultry and charming offering for the ladies. The floral additional to the lapel and the gentle circular wrap silk scarf about the neck make charming additions to the look. Missing the traditional shirt underneath reveals the plunge neckline through the cut of the waistcoat. A Black mini-dress with sweetheart neckline is accented by a large ruched gathering of a Rose at the left hip. The fabric forming the petals of this Baby Rose in tulle stretches from escalopped left side of the neckline to the mini dresses hem. It's a beautiful party piece. 

The beauty of  Haute Couture is that simple garments that are wardrobe staples are tailored to perfection and given that we all have our own unique body shape, this is something that is diffuclt to find. For day to day shopping I also recommend having high street and Ready to Wear pieces altered by a seamstress when needed. A pristine White blouse is matched to a pencil skirt cut with a slight reference to the Belle Epoch era with pockets at the front of the hips. A jacket in small hounds tooth weave check is cut to sit open on the figure. A high circular collar in the shirt and small lapels of the jacket also look to the style notes of another era whilst still on the pulse. A skirt created with layers of tiered ribbon from waist to midi-length is a soft classic that will be treasured across many seasons. A think Black satin silk waist band tied with a bow and topped with a Pink flower again create a simple elegant look that makes a statement of quality. A pair of well cut loose fit trousers and a simple White t-shirt match effortlessly to a Baby Rose single-breasted blazer jacket. It's a combination that could have been worn in the 1980's, 90's or early 2000's and illustrates how some pieces have been a staple across the decades in fashion.  

A classic day suit in tweed woven with Scottish tartan inspired fabric has the calling card note of the 1950's and 1960's neckline button tie leaving the lengths to fall above the waist. The jacket, bordered in black is another easy trans-generational piece that sits in natural harmony with a dress featuring tweed raised well above the waist to echo the classic skirt. The three piece suit returns again with a hint of the classic Yves Saint Laurent women's trouser suit of the mid 20th century. The waistcoat is cut as a small garment sitting very lighlty on the surface of the figure with the jacket and trousers cut closer by contrast. A carnation at the left lapel also borrows from what was known as conventionally male attire. A nod to modernity comes in the form of a White t-shirt replacing the classic White blouse.

Vauthier is also known for his beautiful dress creations and centre above a cocktail dress blends hints of vintage 18th and 19th century styling in raised puffed sleeves and skirts gathered in at the waist to create ample volume descending the figure. A collection signature print in Rose and Black weaves across the surface of the garment bringing a flower bed to life on the wearer as she walks. It returns again later in a piece with longer length. To the right a profussion of Black lace swirls in tiers around a wearer. An illusion of a boat neckline is created with gathered silk tulle falling in ruffled waves down through the figure. A light sheer silk takes the form of an upper shirt sitting below the tailored collar to combine the look of a shirt and a dress into one garment. This would be an impact piece for dinners and parties across the party season and another look to treeasure. To the far right another trouser suit stikes an elegant note. This look riffs further into notionally masculine style details with a crisp White shirt open to nearly the waist, trousers reaching above the waist with generous pleats and even a medallion hanging from a necklace chain almost reaching the waist. The tweed woven blazer carries a hint of country sports and if anything to my eyes, ties back to the classic elegance of the women's wardrobe.             

A broad tartan check features in the fabric cut generously around the figure of a model to give the 'borrowed from the brother or boyfriend' look to the garment. It's worn with confidense to re-inforce an aesthtic of care-free elegance and again finished with a signature lapel button-hole flower that resembles a Rose, but this time in Black. Much of the early collection modulates between Black, White and Rose cooincidently my signature colours and an handy frame to build some classically styling around. A White blouse is again open in a plunge neckline that reaches to the waist above a pencil skirt that rests below the knees. With snug well fitting boots completing the look, it's an impactful choice to wear for meetings or social occassions this autumn. The collection takes a decided step into eveningwear with two simmering dresses in a very light Mauve and Mint respectively. The first look in the pinker hue features spiked winged out shoulders adding a touch of drama to the layers of satin silk wrapped around the body. The mini-dress format is perfect to show off well kept legs. To my eyes there is more than a hint of the 1980's about this collection and the two dresses both feature singature 1980's hints. The Mint fabric wrapped over the model in layers around the figure breathe sheer '80's and Dynasty and Dallas glamour as well as a thousand photoshots and supermodel catwalk strutts.    

To the right woven light wool check is brought to the three piece suit adjusted to a shorter length. Once again the jacket is well cut as in the classic tailored manner you would expect from an artisan couturier, the waistcoat is worn lightly on the figure resting open to the waist and trouser pockets at the hips allow hands to be kept warm as in other places through the collection.  A Beige raincoat shows that even the most regular items of the autumn and winter wardrobe can receive the Haute Couture treatment to create something special. With a thin broad check scarf underneath, or ruff collared sweater, the Black boots complete that clear look of elegance with a romantic flourish in the Black rose at the lapel.   

A Rose Pink blouse is fashioned from silk gathered into a straight bodice descending to the waist with tightly gathered peplum fabric forming an upper skirt from the waist to the upper hips. A sheer silk single layer of fabric wraps around the neck like a scarf framing the face and covering a single shoulder and arm to the wearers right-hand side. A pencil skirt fitted closely to the figure forms the elegant dual colour design completed with boots reaching up to the knee and proofing agianst the cool airs of the winter. Giving a faintly classical appearance, a single shouldered Black silk dress creates it's form from the gathers of silk across the chest before descending to a four tiered skirt of declining width and length. A generous pretty Black ribbon is tied as a bow around the waist with a Rose at it's centre. This is a highly adaptable piece of eveningwear that will be a cherished addition to many collections I think.

To the right another designer duo of evening dresses that as above strike a similar style chord in tones of a Pink-ish Mauve and Mint. This time the Pink is deeper and the Mint a little more pronounced. The Magenta dress features crossed fabric creating a sweetheart neckline, with fabric layers descending the body in a woven form as if literally woven around the models body. All the while the shimmer and glint of a thousand stars surround her. The Mint dress comprises a single sheet of fabric that is wrapped around the figure and tied at the waist. The gentle drape reveals a cut away leg in mirror to the previous garment and the two amke a pair ready to hit the dance floor. To the right a light broad check pattern creates a shirt dress of voluminous party-ready proportions. This is a bold step transforming a piece of daywear, the checked shirt or blouse into an eveningwear or formal wear piece with an injection of glamour. As with many Haute Couture pieces, pockets are included for comfort and simple essentials as you go through an evening.   

An Aqua Blue dress continues the theme of drape effect style and channeling timeless classic elegance. With seemingly one sheet of fabric running from the bodice to the skirt lengths and also wrapping across the shoulder to run beyond the length of the left arm and hands, it has elements of the Silver Screen movie goddess about it. The Black patent boots underneath tell a more contemporary story of someone strong, confident and outgoing who is going to have a good time. The look could also be styled with neutral court shoes, ballet slippers or heels to give another styling option. The fit and flare style shape is created in Black with a sleeveless top almost veering to the sports aesthetic teamed with a skirt comprised of a 'mille-feuille' of silk ribbon bands. A Black ribbon waist band tied with a bow with two roses in Pink and White. That simple tie of a pretty ribbon is a chic pretty thing to add to a composition.

Styles cut closer to the figure are also a popular choice for eveningwear and centre above a sheer chemise is used to create the upper part of a dress with a fitted satin silk bodice creating a second neckline and running thorugh to the waist above a generously cut pencil skirt. It's banded at the chest with a thick ribbon and a jewel at the centre. It's a chic piece for dates, cocktail parties or Black-tie gatherings. The theme of a wrapped bodice returns with a Black version of a piece from an earlier outfit shown above and a light sheer silk cape encircling the shoulders and descending to a light wispy train behind the wearer. The peplum fringing around the waist gives an almost ballerina-like appearance creating an extra dimension of volume above a straight skirt. It's another elegant simple evening look. To the right an off-the-shoulder dress twinkles with a shimmer within it's fabric. This one piece garment is cut in almost fish-tail shape with an interesting link between the footwear of the model and the garment itself. A Black ribbon tie encircling the waist with a rose at the bow continues a style nuance of the collection.            

In true Vauthier style, the stellar evening dresses kept coming and above to the left you can see one of the pretty confections of mille-feuille layered ribbon in Rose-Pink. This is a dress that screams pretty and is proud of it and it's going to have fun in it's adventures. There is always room for sheer enjoyment of sugar-sweet prettyness and for autumn birthdays and Christmas and New Year's parties, it's a piece that could be top of the wish list to dance near the tree in. A Black shift dress dazzels with an abundance of lace cloaking the figure like a second skin. It's still a very easy piece to move in and pass a happy evening chattering to people and feeling relaxed. An Aqua Blue rose sits on the left hip hinting at fertility as this was it's traditional symbolic meaning in portraiture and also providing a pretty off-set to the darker colour. Fine lace work is something that is appreciated across the generations and it would be a piece to cherish and pass on.

The signature floral print created by Vauthier this season appears again in an evening dress ready to light up the late Autumn nights. A bodice cut on the same lines as many pieces in the collection gives way to a loose pencil skirt and two outer tiers. Almost tulip shaped the fabric folds back on itself descending to knee length and behind it generous train falls behind the wearer of almost a metre in length. It's a beautiful Red Carpet or Gala dress and will dazzle in front of the cameras. To the right a simple Black cocktail dress with signature bodice line descends to a broad fishtail skirt with dipped hemline. It's a simple elegant statement that again will find a home, I imagine, in many wardrobes. Tied with another Black satin ribbon and a mini corsage of two flowers, it was a perfect note to close the collection on.         


Image credit (c) Schiaparelli

Elsa'a world, her vision, her inspiration, her wide ranging education and tastes are all encompassed in the new incarnation of her style brought out by the House resurected in her name. The Italian aristocrat gave the world a lot of joy through her fashion creations across several decades and today Schiaparelli, the House, are once again dressing women in the spotlight and discreet clients who love the instinctive and individualistic approach that she had to Haute Couture.

The collection opens with a pretty radical deconstruction of the fine tailored suit. A classic blazer is cut to join by a button placed in the centre but trousers are gone and footless stockings have appeared from underneath a high-leg Nude body suit. The head is dressed in a diamante or crystal cowl that extends to form a single piece with a collar the height of the neck. It's abstract, it's bold and slightly arresting, it's Schiaparelli. To it's right a dress created in Rose and lightest Cream-Gold captures enormous imaginative flair. Above a Charcoal Grey bodice strip two large rounded out sleeves cloak the figure like diaphanous butterfly wings. One falls casually from the shoulder whilst the other cloaks the skin in the smootest fabric. The skirt part of the dress is begins with a corset and descends to long box pleats that give some extra movement as the wearer walks.

A central button again becomes a central feature of the next jacket where the formal coat is lengthened to mid-calf frock coat lengths. In some ways this appeas to be an elaboration of the earlier jacket that openend the collection. Gold is worked to either side of the jacket opening and encircling the wrists in broad broad cuff-like plates. It's almost as though the jacket and jewellery become one and blend together in a fashion meets jewellery moment. The stockings take on a much more elaborate woven lace appearance exhibiting the craftsmanship of the artisanal atelier. A Blush tone body suit or high leg and high waisted shorts also embroidered with lace balance the strength of Black and Gold with a neutral shade. A burnt Umber forms a striking colour contrast to the Chocolate and Black beneath in what looks like a step to combining the classic evening dress and the jump suit. Hints of stars from the sky pervade the trousers and bodice whilst the double lining of the outer dress creates a glamourous silhouette and shields a little from the cold winds of winter.      

The suit is re-visited in true Schiaparelli stye with a new approach to the construction of the jacket lapels running beyond the length of the jacket fasten and large deep pockets in the same contrasting Black against a White background. Trousers aslo in White complete the monochrome suit off-set with Brown boots keeping those feet stylish and warm. The Red of the models nails and lips is mirrored in the next model's outfit. The lipstick, that central pillar of the cosmetic wardrobe adorns both a blazer as well as appearing in the headdress and jewellery worn. Ropes of diamonds or crystals fall in dual strands from Scarlet beads denoting the cosmetic colour. It's an interesting tripple blend of make-up, jewellery and clothing rolled into one. Another intriguing metaphore is contained in the crystal lattice  dress underneath. Almost like a broad weave chainmail it could be construed as a cage of beauty that a women is trapped inside. The bodice sculpted to her chest is the only concession given to the natural shape of her figure.

Centre above a Black silk dress makes a step back towards more traditional evening glamour with a shoulderless garment featuring a dropped outer cope that falls to a train beind the wearer above a straight line Black silk dress. It's a bold glamourous statement that would suit many women and be perfect for Charity balls and gala's through the winter. To the right a trouser suit is cut in Black silk. As with the two previous models, the wearer carries sparkling jewels in her hair that appear to continue on the scarf lengths running downward from each jacket lapel. To the right the slip dress is transformed into a full length feature piece with jewelled knitted strands running  down the lengths of the arms, perhaps a little reminiscent of Julien Macdonald and Mark Fast over in the UK. The neckline is covered in a sheer silk scarf that swirls at the collar in a stylish twist to ward of any chills in the winter months.        

Headdresses appear in several places through the collection and a Beige garment worn by a model appears to be a synthesis of a cloche hat and a veil. It sits above a deep plunge sweetheart neckline that utilises strips of Black silk in a corset framing the upper part of the figure. A belt of Golden squares tessilated around eachother encircles the waist above the dress skirt reaching down toward the wearers ankles. Almost conventional but with a hint of the abstract. The headdress takes on a central role in the next look as a semi-sheer Grey dress cloaks the model in feather-like silk. A Lime fabric is embroidered with bright florals celebrating colour and fresh energy as we walk into the darker months of the year. You could see this as bucking the trend of convention or perhaps an ode to positivity.

Another heart shaped bodice drops down the figure as a sheer embroidered bodice is sewn with crystals above from upper neck to below the wrists. The Black of the dress is off-set with almost sping-like blooms working across the left surface of the piece with free-flowing green stems adding a three dimensional texture to the garment. To the far right a fiesta of colour hints at the joy of life that Elsa celebrated. With an unmistakabley Bohemian twist the bold florals appear in three designs of corset-bodice, sleeves and trousers accompanying a Black shirt. It would be a fun custom look to celebrate autumn in.       

The beautiful ode to florals and pastels continues as a dress features a skirt mimicking the lower lengths of s corset through to the skirt festooned with bright flowers bringing fresh light and beauty with every step. A meshwork bodice is daringly see through and without a bespoke request for a design alteration would take the very bravest to wear infront of the cameras. A Navy Blue figure-hugging dress is crowned with another headdres that appears slightly veil like. Strips of crystals hang casually from the neck in a necklace style mirroring the luminescense of the semi-diamond shape bodice panels. Wrapping the figure without clinging to it, this is an elegant look for the winter season. A burnished Gold cloth is used to create a lovely warming aspect for the autumn and the dress and headdress appear to merge into one singular form. The upper dress is formed from gaint pearl-like crystals and creating supporting lengths whilst the fabric of the dress is wrapped around the figure at a bias angle. The separation of the bodice from the lower part of the garment appears to be something that Schiaparelli explore this season with a bandeau top composed to look like a gathering of Ladybirds around the bosom. The little creatures run across the surface of the skin in a complete contrast to the uniformity of the satin silk dress beneath. Using the lower segment of the corset form it broadens out beneath the hips to a dipped hem semi-puffball look skirt.      

This later passage of the collection makes a key feature of dresses in a single colour, sometimes with diamante and applique accessories a shown in the two looks here and higher bove in the previous set. Above to the left a Saffron dress features another escalloped bodice with the main length of the dress from above the waist to midi-length appearing as one complete piece. Sheer sleeves descend to cape-like trains all of their own with feathers accentuating softeness in the lengths shown as though the fall through the air to the ground. Cerulian Blue is off-set with a light Baby Blue and Aqua in a cocktail dress that takes the 1980's dropped waistline and riched skirting details to a new playful level. The colour changes across the garment as if it's painted with an artists brush or seeps sideways via osmosis. Either way it's a showstopping look with crystal jewelled escalloped bodice details and a jewelled headdress making the vision otherworldly.

A diaphanous Rose dress looks like a giant flower opening and inside a Thumbellina of a person in the form of a model is ready to step out. Almost chaotic folds of fabric wrap around the wearer in this statement look. For a look to make an entrance this would be an interesting option, it could also be possibly be adapted slightly to create a voluminous Bridal dress. To the right, somewhat reduced in size to accommodate the full height of the garment in the frame a Bridal offering sweeps around a model in a whirl of peaks like cream blown through the air. The peaks and swirl of fabric resemble a frosty mountain or climbing clouds that you pass through in flight. It's a fantastical way to close a collection exploring dreams and possibilities that Elsa always believed should be part of a woman's journey.