Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 2020-21 part 2
Image Credit and (C) Michael Jansson.
CHANEL continued its voyage in an era post-Karl with Virginie Viard comfortably continuing at the helm. With her own history of over two decades with the House, it’s interesting to see her own feelings and instincts come to the fore in the creative process.
The collection shots, like several other Houses, this season, where shot in the studio in look book shoot style. Why not, it’s as good as anything else and also a way to keep the set and crew covid secure and safe. The collection opened with a bold statement of dynamic expression with a long coat cut in the frock-coat style. In contrast to the traditional style of the garment, this piece has a dual identity of both classic tweed jacket and tiered frock coat in three descending panel layers of Black fabric. The cut of the tweed jacket element make the piece unmistakably Chanel; whilst the expression of the jacket speaks of high artisan craft.
Sombre times can often call for sombre statements and the Black velvet dress centre above perhaps bears witness in a small way to the tragedy that has unfolded in the twelve months prior to this collections release. At the cuffs and encircling the waist small flowers are embroidered to perhaps symbolise new life and hope returning to the world. The floral waistband conceals the pin-tuck gathers in the skirt in the millennia-old style to create volume enhancement. To the right a throw-back to the neo punk era of Chanel in the late 90’s and millennium when Karl liked all things spikey. The sleeveless tunic mini-dress is worn over trousers for added warmth but more likely an impact stamen of strength and defiance in the mould of the quietly raging smoulder of the CHANEL youth. This is the CHANEL that I think of as being in it’s pre-convention expression. A central waistband fixes the piece in place and anchors the dipped hemline around the figure.
Although the first image above is set in Black and White, you get a strong impression of the artisan technique applied to the dress. Pearls are sewn into thick bouclé woven tweed cut into the shape almost familiar from European and Irish traditional dress. Particularly in the skirt folds you see the resemblance with the circular cut neckline adding a contemporary twist. As the model dances, you see the soft natural movement of the fabric. What appear to be tights are in fact white leggings that keep away the cool of autumn. Centre above a richly woven tweed in my signature colours is cut into a suit of two unusual parts. A jacket cut high at the waist sits above a skirt cut vertically in the centre in an echo of the culottes form but with slim line trousers underneath.
A beautiful tweed dress shot again using Black and White mixes the influences of both Byzantine and the British and European Nineteen Sixties into one happy garment. I think it’s something about the use of pearls and geometry that draw my thoughts to both places in time. Pockets sit at the bodice and the hips in two sets and the dress is cut with a generous feel to be at ease around the figure. You could attend a formal event in it, or take it out on the town.
Hot Pink, Black and White return again in a look dedicated for parties or the Red Carpet. It mixes styling for the grown up with something of the little girl’s child-like wardrobe for me and as such hopefully engages with and supports the sense of play and fun. In a long-sleeve fit and flare cut dress, the outer shift layer is subtly composed of a dot-floral pattern gradually descending the garment in a more dispersed design. The left shoulder is cutaway in the Black fabric with soft Magenta lace inserted to create a partage contrast. White leggings elongate the visual form of the figure with laced heeled shoes echoing both the styles of childhood and those of an earlier era, for me I would say from the later 17th through to the early 19th centuries. A chunky Golden necklace and punk twisted hairstyle bring the look forward to the turn of the 1970’s into the 1980’s. What does this melding of styles in the collection say about Chanel? It’s an interesting question as Chanel itself has always nominally embraced codes and conformity whilst looking to see what appeals to the youth and what fresh ideas may be bubbling up.
A midi-length coat in boucle tweed again plays to the House strength of creating warm, stylish, beautiful pieces that will look good season in, season out. Smokey eyes and tousled hair again reference the car-free glamour of the 1960’s following years of conformity. These are echoes of Karl Lagerfeld’s style rather than Gabrielle Chanel herself here but a House always needs to grow and change a little as any family does or any home or living organism does over time. To the right, a Mermaid-like form appears with a dress referencing the Silver of the young Scottish Salmon of the Atlantic. Scale-like giant sequins shimmer across the bodice with a peplum fringed waist and single shoulder; whilst a sheer skirt is accented with sewn waved panels of lace echoing the tides of the sea. It’s a magical fun piece of whimsy that could be worn to parties or public events in front of the camera.
Petrol Blue makes an entrance with a bold confidence in the next series of pieces with a coat-dress embracing the volume and generosity of the 18th century French garments. With a close run of buttons from neckline to waist echoing the long-line of the garment and a contrast in the balloon cut shapes of the sleeves, there is a subtle duality in the composition.
The joy of weaving is something that runs through the composition of much of Chanel’s opus of work and centre above is a dress that really celebrates the weave done and undone alike. The simple framing of the garment with Black shoulder straps echoed in the banding of the neckline reminds me of one of my favourite dresses that I wore when I first visited Paris as a grown-up in my 20's, but back to Chanel. Magenta Pink, Grey, Blush and Black make up a tonal composition mirroring my colour themes in a straight cut dress that sits comfortably on the figure, rather than hugging close to it. In a style twist the dress descends in three segments ultimately from a close-weave bodice to tiered ruffle layers in the upper skirt and long strands of unwoven fabric descending from the mid-though towards the knee. It gently adds volume whilst giving character and spirit. The shoes again pay an omage to the styling of earlier centuries. As with much of contemporary Chanel I find it lifts the heart in many ways with a simple joy in many of the garments offered and I’m intrigued as to how it often sits so close to my own personal tastes in colour and cut.
The tweed suit is given another re-working in a two piece that comprises essentially of a long waist-coat jacket and broad bottomed demi-culottes trousers. Woven in a bold deep Red that Lagerfeld brought out in many collections, the richness of the colour heralds the fruits and bright coloured leaves of autumn. It’s a confident and comfortable piece to wear and would be easy to accessorise with many different articles from Chanel or from your own archive.
A beautiful dress in both sheer and opaque silk again evokes the fit and flare knee length cut style. Sheer fabric in the sleeves falling in soft gentle abundance around the lengths of the arms creates a relaxing feel for the wearer and brings a feel of playfulness to the look. The bodice is sewn in woven tweed detailed with pearls above a satin skirt enhanced with a volume of its own. Another look that engages the senses in three separate passages. Another set of heeled court shoes with long ribbon laces also charm their way into the collection.
Centre above a full-length tweed dress embraces both duality and a hint of the Byzantine perpendicular with woven panels created in both Black and White. The weave evokes the Christian cross in itself, particularly evidenced in the white tunic centre of the jacket set against Black sleeves and also in the formation of the skirt. Boucle detailing goes free-style around the dropped waist in a nod to the early years of Gabrielle Chanel’s design career. Large knotted strands of fabric descend to a thin weave before free flowing tassels appear again. To the right a beautiful dress in midnight Blue flows freely about the feet of the wearer with style references taken from the expansive designs of the 18th century. It almost appears like a Mantua Dress with the side stays taken out that would hold up the wide side panels. A line of closely places buttons appears again through the length of the garment in harmony with the close-set button styling used in garments in earlier centuries and soft pin-tucks at the waist are the classic answer to increasing volume around the figure. A soft fabric bow-tie at the neckline leads the eye towards the sheer fabric flowing down over the arms to form something between a cape and sleeves. The fabric is beautiful and draws the eye spectacularly, admittedly I’m biased as it’s in one of my favourite colours but I think it would be a popular piece to wear potentially across several seasons if you chose it.
Tweed in Magenta, Black, Grey and White, channels my ‘A Blush of Rose’ colour scheme again perhaps to my eyes and the composition of this garment is very interesting. Initially what appeared to be a jacket and skirt suit combination, is I believe. A coat dress in three panels. Fringes of free flowing tassels at the lower waist and sleeves add a subtle craft quality to the garment that doesn’t take away any ounce of sophistication. Black leggings and shoes complete the two toned look that could be taken to a great variety of occasions.
Centre above a jacket and skirt combination embrace the geometry of Byzantine adored by Chanel and the clean elegance of line that she championed through her career. The slightly off-set jacket close and single pocket at the breast again echo the style experimentation of the 1960s’. To the right a beautiful look that has echoes of bridal wear and evokes the soft nostalgic romance of the Court Dresses of 18th century Europe. The Mantua frame is evoked in a delicate White fabric with wide sleeves sitting over a light frame. The central panel is sewn with beautiful applique detail and overall this is a dress that appears to float with the wearer as she walks. I’m sure it would make many clients happy and help create special memories. Touches of formality from a time when women lived restricted lives are re-imagined with a carefree lightness that is almost dream-like.
A tweed rhapsody appears once more with a full-length coat dress again taking cues from the classic Chanel tweed suit, itself a child of the British Edwardian day suits I feel. Chanel was heavily influenced by her time spent in the homes of aristocrats that she met in England, Scotland and possibly on the former Westminster shooting estate in North Wales also. Seeing her creations adapted and re-worked stretching into the future, I feel a tingle of recognition for what women were wearing in my homelands in the dawning years of the twentieth century that she incorporated into her legend. The borders of what would be the jacket are defined below the waist and areas for soft pockets.
A beautiful mini-dress in Red bouclé tweed is cut to sit off the shoulder in a boat neckline and sits above the knee. The use of un-spun strands in the bouclé weave allow for a raised relief effect over the surface of the garment. Pockets cut below the hips allow the hands to rest at a natural pause on the figure and overall it’s a neat chic look of simplicity. You could dance and party in this but also wear it to a slightly more formal event like drinks receptions or private views. White borders the outfit in the dorm of leggings and broadens out the colour perspective. To the far right applique flowers shroud the shoulders and arm length in a swirl of garden colour. Descending through lengths of Midnight Blue satin cut at the bodice line in a raised bandeau border, this dress is ready for a formal White or Black-tie events through the autumn or winter season. Cut in A-line shape and full length, it’s a quiet contrast to the creative flourished of the upper part of the garment but it all fits together in a beautiful harmony.
Another echo of the 18th century appears again in Midnight Blue with a sash fold over the neckline that perhaps reminds me of something from a previous season with Chanel. It’s a beautiful sweetheart of a dress that carries with it the irresistible hints of romance that the era evokes. A dipped hemline reveals small hints of a tulle under-dress layer with large dentelle lace visible at the neckline. It’s a piece to twirl and swirl in.
The combination of tweed and satin returns again in a jacket and skirt combination which shows in a clear statement how Chanel shoes to play with their own codes of day or eveningwear. This is a piece to suit both potentially as tweed is now a much loved wardrobe staple popularised in high fashion by Chanel when it was formerly a hardy daytime and outdoor fabric. For evening events on cool winter nights it must certainly be a good thing. A fine ribbon of ruched piping along the left hand seam of the skirt adds a sense of volume and a pair of Beige shoes in the style of the collection with their Black ribbon detail complete the look. To the right anther journey into Midnight Blue brings a beautiful softly nuanced piece. A full length tunic dress descends the figure with a cape-jacket sitting over the shoulders. Tulle fabric stretches out across the shoulders and upper arms dropping behind the wearer to form a train that doesn’t quite meet the floor. Just underneath the upper garment an ornamental necklace appears that resembles a Byzantine or Orthodox icon. This was something that fascinated Gabrielle Chanel and her partner and mentor Boy Capel, the power and energy that iconic items of jewellery could hold in totemic, spiritual and even metaphysical significance.
A myriad of shimmer surrounds this wearer of the next look with a below the knee dress accented with a tunic shape in shimmering Silver and Charcoal accented sleeves. The fabric is woven with elements of metallic light encompassed in the twine of the fabric giving the effect of tiny mirrors appearing across the surface of the fabric as the wearer walks. It’s a glittering piece for an evening event and also pretty warm to wear I would think also.
The next two dresses to the left swirl the wearer, once again, in beautiful Midnight Blue that is universally flattering. The first dress centre above combines elements of European folk dress in the tired banding of the garment and Blue-Black silk. With its fitted high-waisted bodice featuring tweed sewn with small glass or crystal panels it could almost resemble a Victorian period garment. Not taking itself too seriously, even with a long lace cuff, it’s a softly romantic piece in the style not often seen at Chanel, a nice departure however. A coat dress that graces full length the figure carries the memory of a man’s 18th to 19th century outer day-time cloak in the tiers of fabric stretching through its length. With cuffs accented in almost the normal style for a shirt, the piece creates a simple harmony somewhere between classic day and evening wear.
A tweed jacket is composed making a variation on the structure of the classic corset bodice with a central panel feature above the waist and below the shoulders. Black leggings complete the look with Black shoes that give a faintly masculine overtone from another era, a paige perhaps, or a young man of the 16th and early 17th century from days gone by. Centre above the jacket is again a key feature with Black leggings serving to highlight the design work of the tweed jacket. It’s an intriguing weave created dually in the classic Chanel Boucle style but also with long strands pulled over and across the surface of the garment that give it an eye catching shimmer.
To the right a Bridal suggestion finishes the collection in a soft Lilac-White that also carries the strong fingerprint of mid to late 18th century style. This two-piece outfit features a jacket and skirt composed in light fabric that have a youthful charm and ease about them and hints, once again, of traditional European folk style in the tiered layers of the skirt. It carries its own natural sense of happiness I think looking at it, not just from the model’s pose, but in the simplicity of the design. At the close of the neckline beneath the frill collar an ornament composed of many large coloured beads sits playfully on the models chest. Conformity re-emerges with a strict line of buttons running down through the upper skirt as reminiscent of Victorian formal day and evening wear. For all the minute attention to detail that goes into creating a composition that looks so effortless, the look retains its care-free happy character which is what you need most of all on your wedding day.
Image Credit (C) Giambatista Valli
He creates dreams with a breath of life filling garments with atmosphere and energy. Giambattista Valli continued to create the sweet flights of beauty and imagination for his clients to live their dreams and also look the part for their professional or social engagements.
The collection opened with a bold Scarlett Red dress that effused the spirit and energy of Valli’s passion for dressing women to make them feel beautiful. Layer upon layers of satin silk is wrapped around the form to create the tunic of a spectacular dress. Edging this look ruffles of fabric are gathered into ballooned bags encircling the lower waist and the hips of the wearer. A long train stretches down from the tunic hemline to fall behind the wearer asking to be taken to the Red Carpet or to a Gala helping something important. It’s a big statement to show confidence in some very trying times.
Centre above the hints of the classic Ballerina dress is evoked in a Soft Pink tulle mini-dress creation. Fabric is gathered in soft folds at the bodice and through the aligned lengths with curls and waves of soft fabric crafted into foaming swirls around the muse set at right angles to that of the bodice and the front of the garment. It’s a floating dream of a piece that would be treasured in a collection for many years to come. Valli is lauded for his creations in the frame of the full flowing dress that reaches down the figure to the floor. It’s a special piece that combines a soft Sugar-Pink boned bodice with bow-tie and a diaphanous flowing skirt. The outermost layer is dotted with Scarlett feathers to add a third dimension of texture to the garment
A beautiful Scarlett mini-dress is gathered in vertical ruched tiers of gazaar with sleeves plumed with tulle ruches that form the shape of Angelic wings; and why can’t Angels wear Red? Often an ecclesiastical colour, the Roman Army and one favoured in the ancient world as offering a protective strength of sorts. It’s a fun piece that carries a warm glow of spirit with it and would look striking in front of the cameras.
A creation in ballerina Rose-Pink evokes the classic Valli full length dress with a soft bell-like silhouette. A satin bodice draped carefully around the figure with small folds graduating through the length creates the classic fit and flare lines, an adaptation of bringing the skirt up to the high left side of the bodice in a dramatic side-sweep meeting with a large bow at the side of the neckline, close to the upper arm. It’s another fantasia piece and could fit into any seasonal wardrobe as part of a collection of looks for special occasions. You could whirl and twirl in this piece. A stronger mood in Black speaks to evening wear with a sequinned mini-dress encased underneath a cloak crafted from light tulle skirting enveloping the figure in a cloak-like form. Soft Rose-Pink bows hold the piece in place to fasten the garment around the collar bone whilst a dipped hemline effusing volume behind the muse echoes the classic depth and volume of Haute Couture full skirted dresses.
A potential bridal dress option appears above in the form of a White full length dress with a voluminous swirl of ruffles creating both an ample bodice and above elbow sleeves in one seamless passage. Where the ruffles of the sleeves descend lower through the upper arms, the aperture of the bodice is accented by a large silk bow in Blush-Nude Ivory. The outer layers of the dress skirt are extended in the lengths that fall behind the wearer to form something similar to a train. It carries hints of the Regency era for me with semi-sheer fabric flowing down the figure creating mystery and romance in the aura of the wearer.
Much of this collection came out in my long standing theme colours so that induced a natural bias perhaps in me to enjoy it even more. Centre above a piece that has the classic hall marks of the multi-tiered dresses that Valli offers to eager clients in many seasons. Fabric in abundance is gathered around the figure of the wearer in ruche that masks acres and acres of fabric. The tier that frames the bodice is accented by two Black silk ribbon bows at the neckline and above the waist. Cut high at the front, with effectively a mini-dress formed from one tier at the front running from above and below the waist. Three lower tiers form something between a skirt and a train falling behind the wearer as she walks. To the left Black enters the collection with a perfectly crafted mini-dress cut above the knee in soft folds of skirt encircling the waist. A giant bow on the left shoulder conceals the upper arm and two ribbon tails wrap around the figure, again creating a train behind the wearer. It’s another piece created for the Red Carpet with heaps of character but also fun. A perfect party season look with the possibility of shortening the bow length perhaps for ease of movement and truly timeless.
First again at the left of the frieze above a full length White dress that could also be a bridal piece, a giant White bow twist frames the front of the dress at the bodice to form broad escallops. A full flowing dress skirt is composed of a waterfall of ruched tiers placed on the bias. In a volume of soft White it’s a beautiful piece worthy of a film-set or a special event if not for a bridal piece. It’s filled out with the traditional expression of volume that Valli uses in his work. Centre above a Scarlet dress is evokes three complementary design themes melded together into one piece as do many of the looks in this collection by Valli. A single shoulder bodice of closely gathered ruched fabric descends to a waist broadly banded with voluminous puff-folded fabric accentuating the natural curves of the female form. Below this, the skirt flows in a sheer, soft drop to the feet with a dipped hemline allowing silk to flow behind the wearer. In a twist of the classic veil or mask a circle of Red gauzy fabric is worn as a headdress revealing only the eyes and concealing the lips and hairline. It adds a distinct air of mystery.
To the far right a Baby Pink dress is composed of visual contrasts with a swirl around the figure. A mini-dress is banded at the bodice with a gathered ruched seam at right angle to the smooth swirl of fabric around the figure. Gathered ruched fabric forms the skirt around the upper legs of the figure and in an echo of the neighbouring dress, the hips are accented with the curls of bow detail in a soft partial cascade over the hips. The ties of the bow sweep round to the rear of the dress with a stunning train of Met Gala and cathedral proportions. Turning on the air-fan in the studio for the photography shows it flared for dramatic effect with the volume sweetly spotlighted.
These are modern show-stopper pieces with looks for added impact in your memory or in front of the camera. Above what appears to be a mini-dress is almost concealing a train behind the wearer by the shape of the figure itself. Carefully folded fabric is again used to form the main bodice of the dress with gathered ruched folds whilst the tiered puff-ball echo skirt is draped around the figure. The surface of the fabric is imprinted with soft texture to gently add to the feeling of volume that the piece. The waist is tied with a thin Black bow tied at the front of the figure. Again the face mask formed almost like a tutu is implemented in the design to show that for all the recognisable features of the collection, Valli still likes to surprise. It’s a sweetly beautiful piece that will endear in the hearts of the wearer and editors.
Dramatic expression in length returns in the next look, a full length Black dress shimmers with giant sequins on the bodice before descending with a tiered mille-feuille of Black fine pleats to the ground. A Cream-White bow at the central neckline and the left shoulder adds a gentle hint of colour contrast and an extra touch of playful softness. To the far right the bow becomes a central feature all of its own with an above the knee cocktail dress transformed into an ode to this detail. White silk is wrapped into a life-sized bow, the equal in proportion to the dress itself. The large bow sits across the figure with a central knot-tie at the neckline and underneath a multitude of fine silk is gathered in ruched detail from the bandeau neckline to the mid-thigh. Swept across the figure in a fold-over effect it echoes the natural shape of overlapping petals of a plant. A slight asymmetry in the style adds to the natural charisma of the look.
Another full length Black two piece outfit features an inverse of use of fabric from the last frieze of looks. A cropped jacket sits above the waist with a small gap before the A-lined sequinned skirt reaches to the floor. A circular skirt fans from the base of the garment gathered slightly at the dress seam border to create more volume. A broad White silk bow tied at the waist accents the piece and breaks the line of Black. It’s an understated piece that, as with much of the collection, twins with my long held web-page colour themes.
Valli reached new height in expression of volume in the Magenta dress centre above. Designed to be something of the imagination made real, I would say, the spectacular volume of the skirt lengths creates a memorable piece. Thick bands of ruched gathered fabric denote the dress at both the neckline, to form the entire bodice and encircling the figure of the wearer in an elliptical shape raised around a hypothetical hemline. The collection closes on a traditional note with a bridal suggestion that looks like a nod to the effervescent confidence of the 1980’s. A figure-hugging off the shoulder dress is again created using the ruched fabric technique with the bandeau neckline and waist accented with a Black silk bow. The skirt is composed of three graduated tiers of gathered tulle with soft precision, yet still the ability to move and dance in importantly. The brides head is adorned with a silky Black ribbon bow and the netted fabric of the skirt is also used in a light veil encircling the crown of the head like a halo in the style of the masks formerly worn and also reaching behind the wearer in a train with broad dotted accents across the fabric. It’s, to me, a slightly humorous piece that shows a bride already thinking about the wedding party ahead.
Image Credit (C) Julien Fournie
Fournie is one of the most interesting designers in Paris and I think he’s something of a well- kept secret of France who could do with more mentions of his work internationally. Fournie very aptly welcomed eyes into his atelier shooting the new collection under studio lights whilst also showing the collective of the team around him working together in strange times but untied in strength.
For this season he chose his muse as Marilyn Monroe, highlighting at one her presence, humour and beauty but also perhaps her tragedy frozen in time at the start of the 1960s that became such a great decade of social change and transformation. A Navy Blue long line coat sits over a light Blue tiered dress echoing traditional European heritage design. This illustrates contrast in colour, styling, and era to an extent. It doesn’t look out of place on a model styled like Marilyn herself as the late 1950’s and early 1960’s saw the dawn of a new era of experimentation after the rush to conservative conformity and order following the chaos of the second world war. The soft layers of the dress skirt, with the delicacy of night clothes but in far greater volume is contrasted by the firm control of the outer coat protecting the underneath.
To the centre and right, the model twirls in the atelier in a full length Blush-Nude dress composed of a satin silk, imbued with a shine that almost gives the effect of liquid running through the surface of the fabric itself. The softness of the colour and the gentle styling of the cut all add to the gentle feel of the composition. It’s a charming piece for private dinners or Red Carpet appearances and photoshoots. It has a season-less quality about it in soft-neutrals that borrow the best hints of the Silver Screen era styling.
A dress cut in deep Fern-Green hugs the figure, through to the skirt lengths and features embellished detail of peacock feathers and ferns running across the length of the fabric. This is a clever dress as it’s not overtly solely an eveningwear piece and could be used for daytime events and worn day to evening. Centre above is a dress also featured in the below frieze in greater detail. A beautiful soft Rose full length evening dress is twinned with a sheer Grey jacket that features Golden and crystal sequinned applique detail. To the right a full length image of the model wearing a beautiful dark Grey dress is composed with feathers running down the left side in gradual fade across the garment. The muse is almost part swan, like Leda, then transitions back into being a screen goddess.
Looking at the dress in full length you can appreciate the detail and craft of both skirt and outer shirt dress that both finish in lengths of gathered fabric to create an opaque vision. The shirt dress rising above the underneath dress shows the contrast of Rose Petal against Dove Grey in the two pieces in a dusky autumn harmony perhaps reminiscent of October and November Paris skies.
I think that this collection places a strong emphasis on how clothes make women feel as expressed through the poses of the model is simple pleasure and delight. In the first frame above, the model takes her cues from the designer in what I term the ‘Swan Dress’ and to the centre and right, you get a further insight into how close the roles of both model and actress are in seeing how the model listens to the direction of the designer whilst also perhaps adding her own feeling of expression. A Charcoal Grey dress with ribbed detail is set with stones to give a cosmic effect. I think of asteroids in orbit around suns. Planets and moons in celestial concert. Winding around the neck in a high collar, it hugs the figure like a glove. In the background more real-life scenes of the atelier show several stages of the creative design process in a single background shot. To the right a dress that captures the pure essence of the Winter night sky. Set against the gauzy tulle backdrop of night a thousand tiny crystal stars twinkle across the surface of the dress inviting the eye just as we are beckoned to look upwards in real life.
White dominates in this closing passage of the collection with a beautiful dress in White cut to be the counterpart of the earlier piece in soft Rose. It’s a seriously versatile piece for formal day or eveningwear through the year and would easily adapt itself to suit many wardrobes. The term jacket dress is used quite often these days but this is very literally a jacket dress that has the form of a long raincoat but takes the place of the traditional closing bridal piece. With broad lapels and belted at the waist, it’s a confident look that could stride in and out of many rooms or places.
Image Credit (C) Schiaparelli
Daniel Roseberry found himself stranded in New York during the first months of lockdown so when he could, he took some quiet time and went to the Park, Central Park, to sketch out his thoughts for the Autumn-Winter 2020-21 collection. The classic Schiaparelli exuberance is very evident as well as creative flights of fancy from Roseberry to perhaps lift all our spirits during such strange times.
Although the mood is characteristically ‘avant garde’ Roseberry illustrates that he well knows how to grasp the thorny arena of precision tailoring. The flourish of a single shoulder blouse is teamed with sleek long-line trousers creased in the conventional masculine line to show strength and perhaps a sense of equality, or simply to place an aesthetic emphasis on the long line. As ever in Haute Couture, future potential orders will be sculpted to the needs and most flattering form for the clients. The predicted Primrose and Black combination offering a gentle transition from a summer to autumn palette.
Centre above a sharply tailored suit really does step out from the gentleman’s wardrobe and it’s accessorised in the quintessentially imaginative Schiaparelli House style with a lock at the button hole of the garment and even a key to release it and unfasten your clothing. Sitting somewhere between jewellery and garment accessory, this feature is typical of the humour of the Houses’ late founder. To the far right, the life of the atelier is conjured with another trouser suit incorporating the measuring tape into the garment through the lengths of the lapels. Sitting open to the waist it’s a look that will suit a smaller number of clients with very slight elongated frames in the classic masculine/feminine duality mould.
A dress that features a closely sculpted sweetheart neckline bodice reaching over the hips is shown next with a voluminous skirt featuring a dipped hemline. Heralding a hopeful return to freer days with more parties and mixing. It’s accented with thick Gold bangles and earrings in a warm colour statement. From the sketches of Daniel it’s not 100% clear what colour he would use to create the main body of the dress but he seems to have either chosen White or left the question open for now, as the dress skirt will be covered in an outer layer of White tulle.
Another trouser suit in Magenta possibly, with Black edging is tempered with a soft drape of the jacket around the figure and tied with a padlock at the side hip. Reminiscent of the love locks on bridges in Paris and spread to other cities around the globe, this is perhaps a symbol of hope and love. The tiniest of bodices is created through two string lines with discs and long opera glove sleeves are crowned with bangles that will glint in the light. Whether these are meant to be part of the gloves actual composition is difficult to say but a high-waisted pair of back to front denim jeans with Gold stitch is an Haute Couture take on the every-day perhaps Daniel’s real incentive is to drive more joy back into the lives of clients, journalists and people who enjoy following the creative world of Haute Couture. The handbag carried by Daniel’s muse also features the padlock and the Gold chain feature for the strap reminiscent of the design of the gloves. I see these ‘love lock’ and Gold chain motifs that I feel support strength and unity which we all need after the recent events.
What could be a conventional smart day dress for work or leisure is given a daring twist with the cut-away form of the front of the upper garment echoing the lines of the 19th century men’s White tie of outer shirt. Instead of concealing the figure, this piece playfully reveals the undergarments of the wearer in a conventional, if sheer, corset. Another aspect of the collections playful identity is revealed in the shape of the hair styled on the muse’s head in the shape of a shoe. Centre above, what promises to be a show-stopping dress appears with a daring front panel featuring fabric cascading down the front of the figure leaving the muses and clients hips exposed on either side. Celebrating the curves, or lines of the figure, whichever you should possess; the upper part of the outfit is encircled with enormous ruched gathers of satin silk I would suspect in an encircling puff-ball effect falling down behind the wearer in a cape-like effect. At the front centre of the dress holding the garment at the waist to the centre of the figure, Golden brooches appear pinned to the fabric like orbs encircling the body in a protective aura of love. To the far right a striking creation is formed in fabric split at the left thigh on the diagonal to reveal layers of fringes that will move slightly as the wearer walks. It’s a show-woman’s garment made for the stage and camera appearances and again looks set to carry the daring spirit of Schiaparelli.
A short cut jacket circling above the waist is trimmed with sports stich detail at the seams and endowed with generous volume. The neckline is wrapped in a thick crystal necklace collar that amplifies the feeling of luxury and sparkle. The dress underneath is cut close to the figure, thus creating another subtle contrast and also an echo of the style notes of the 1980’s. Perhaps it’s my fanciful eye but the sign-off from Daniel for this gouache referencing the new coming year ’21 to me also looks like the astrological symbol for the planet Jupiter. As a Sagittarian who does really read horoscopes, I’m still aware of it. Maybe the ebullient joy of Jupiter can carry us all forward in the next six to eight months.
Centre above a gouache is lightly sketched to draw attention to the gentle contrast between the soft Black line of the trousers and the raised relief if Blue and White bubbles of fabric across the blouse and descending from the ears. There is a carefree romanticism that is the essence of Elsa. The shoe-design returned again in the hairstyle of the next look adoring a figure dressed in another crisply tailored look with a soft drape across the shoulders with giant ruche gathers to soften the angles and add flair. Again it carries the spirit of Elsa. At the ear a giant ‘S’ hangs to show her perhaps still whispering into the ears of those she watches over.
The first design I selected set against a backdrop of a beautiful Pink is a perfect number for Red Carpet or Black tie events in or out of the spotlight. A deep set sweetheart neckline plunges close to the waist with a single shoulder radiating through the sleeves to form a small train slung over the right forearm. It’s a beautiful look that I would understand to be created in the classic House ‘Hot Pink’ to convey fire and energy and the joy of love I believe most of all. Elsa Schiaparelli wanted people to enjoy life. Born into the generations that saw tremendous upheaval and social change between the start and middle years of the twentieth century she embodied the hopeful spirit that can and will push forward and create something good.
The jacket of the trouser suit centre above continues the single shoulder theme but not taking itself too seriously the voluminous shoulder and sleeve is known as the ‘Leg of Mutton’ sleeve by Daniel. The closely tailored jacket is completed with ‘Cowboy fit’ trousers again looking to humour as well as subtle indications of strength. A cocktail dress that could also be a ball or Gala dress features the puff-ball skirt detail beloved of the 1980s and also a signature look for Schiaparelli. Daniel Roseberry notes here that the volumes will be strange which hints that he intends to play with the garment in an unexpected way. Perhaps to slant the whole dress-skirt on the bias under the sleek figure-hugging bodice. Jewellery gloves reach down the arms from above the elbow and from the ears through to the neckline.
The first look above amazingly incorporates a shoe into the coiffure of the muse. A very high stilettoed heel set into the hair of the muse. A fascinating jacket is created with one full lapel and a small collar on the other side. This is a unique asymmetry that I’ve yet to see in another designer and testament that the House under Daniel keeps inventing as well as staying true to the founder; something of a magic elixir for all fashion Houses looking to chart their course once the originator is no longer present. The dress appears to be tiered in rows of crystal chains almost like those that adorn a chandelier. Beneath a fluid skirt is hinted at by the sketch mark swirls on the paper but our eyes need to see this in person to understand Daniels vision.
Centre above a Black mini-dress is wrapped inside a huge Magenta swirl of fabric that reaches over the shoulder and down across the ground as the wearer walks. This is a strong statement as you walk the Red Carpet or enter a room. It’s a wonderful piece potentially to include in photoshoots as the fashion world finds a way to work around the curious logistics of the present time. The finale look is an astonishing flight of fancy with the hair of the muse created into a trailing veil in one combined moment. Naturally any prospective bride would need to use ample extensions but for me this represents the core them of simplicity in weddings that many are embracing to have a much smaller ceremony than imagined (for the time being) and take a step forwards. The dress itself is sheer and bold, almost resembling boudoir negligée rather than a look you may wish to be film or photographed. Golden sparkles and from the ears and around the points of the shoes whilst the bridal bouquet chimes with the Houses beloved colour Hot Pink.