Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 2021-22
Image Credit (C) Alessandro Lucioni at Go Runway
This was a collection very much alive with ideas and bursting with energy to give to the new season. The opening look saw a light jacket in Pink and Grey bouclé weave fastened at the neck with a circular collar descending sitting open down through the figure to sit handspan above the lengths of the skirt. The coordinating skirt in this look is composed of triple fabric and colour theme. A thick waistband in the same woven fabric as the coat itself, a long above ankle length Black skirt and soft Peachy feathers that float over the surface of the garment. It’s a hint of Rock and Roll perhaps and slightly echoes the style of the New Look of Dior after the war and utilising the skills of Maison La Marie one of the artisan ateliers within the Chanel creative world. It’s reaching beyond the classic norms to try and be something new and it succeeded from my point of view. To the right a skirt suit cut in the generous lines of the 1980’s suit style is crafted in Lavender and a hint of Pinks. A double pairing of pockets at the breast and above the hips adds the note of practicality to the look that flatters the figure and still looks stylish apt for work and play.
Centre above a taste of summer lingers into autumn with an outfit composed of a halter neckline mini dress and matching trousers underneath. The Black ribbon of the halter, also seen in a band at the waist, contrasts with the mixed twinkling highlights of the fabric of the dress. Small applique flowers float above the surface of the dress dappled in soft watercolour pastel shades. It’s a 3D sensory experience and a burst of late Sumer energy stepping into autumn. To the right a pair of looks explore Black and Charcoal Grey through the contemporary suit medium. An imaginative jacket with large weave features giant pockets on either side of the breast with a soft fasten cleverly composed of the same overlaid fabric that creates the pocket detail. Midi length sheer trousers are worn with low-rise ankle strap court shoes to simply accentuate height. It’s a soft approach to the suit with a trans-seasonal feel to it. To the right another skirt suit reaching to just above the knee-line looks to re-work the Chanel suit into another modern classic. Black and White bouclé weave flows across the figure to create a soft dappled Charcoal effect. A new take of the single breasted jacket is created with soft jacket lapels meeting above a gentle fold-over buttoned tie. This composition is taken a step further in the next look with a bold fabric contrast.
An outsized jacket and long folk-dress inspired skirt take a new direction from the classic suit composition, but how often do we mix and match things, these days it’s quite the norm. A single breasted jacket cut to cross at the lower waist falls over the hips before a tiered skirt in smoky Blue-Grey descends through the length of the figure. Fabric gathered in excess in each tier dropping down is accented with two seams of feathers in each drop. Alongside the volume of the skirt itself, the movement of the feathers creates a broader feel of movement through the garment with soft Pinks, Lilacs and Blues floating around the wearer. What could be a dramatic contrast is softened by the use of colour. To the right the contrast fabric theme continued with a check weave jacket worn open to the waist sat above a skirt of Blue-Grey charcoal silk. Once again the traditions of European folk clothing are used to create something that looks elegant and different. A dipped front panel of the skirt is created with the fabric of the jacket above in probably one of the boldest pieces of design that I’ve ever seen Chanel bring out. Looking for new ideas and exploring new territory is a good thing for all Houses to do once in a while and for a House like Chanel with its own exacting codes and language, I think, reinvention is like diving into clear waters once again.
To the right two total looks both at their heart have the same simple cotton Pink bandeau tops worn as a bodice. Again the last rays of summer are present here with the blast of sunshine enveloping the body. If you look closely you can see that one features a single visible button at the top line and another has a series of buttons running through the brief length of the piece. You could also match up with jeans and a classic Chanel jacket potentially. A beautiful weave of Pink, Grey and White forms the body of a beautiful jacket banded with Blue woven yarn and a strong seam of Pink around the borders. A deep Navy Blue touched by Grey forms the contrast colour base for the skirt cut more closely around the figure with its own front panel. Pin tucks at the seam add graduated volume in another bohemian reference. To the right a skirt and jacket combination features a unique complex weave with bands traced around the figure of the wearer in both the jacket and the skirt with soft hints of Rose and Lilac, or Lavender if you like, appearing in wisps around the figure.
The classic Chanel weave returns in contrast duo of Navy Blue and Nude, with a loose below-the-knee length jacket worn open to reveal pockets in the outer skirt of the same fabric as that of the jacket. The double skirt effect is created by the placement of two garments, one over the other, in successive layers harkening to a traditional European form to evoke folk-culture tradition. The second skirt underneath is a pointed contrast in the form of the weave but the colour harmony keeps the sense of Chanel uniformity intact. A thin bandeau band surrounds the upper torso for modesty and chimes with the monochrome of the classic Chanel shoes. Parts of this collection take more of a free hand exploring colour and the next look features contrasts both of colour and texture. A soft Rose Pink bandeau mini-blouse is cut with floral shapes into the design and buttoned through the centre. The matching skirts picks up the soft tone of Rose through its lengths cast in a festoon of flowers gently applied to the surface of the garment. Hints of a soft buttery Gold that runs across the skirt in the midst of the flowers is radiated in the knee length textured coat worn open in this presentation. Looking soft and warm, it’s a Teddy Bear of a coat to love.
Centre above this mode of a simple bandeau mini-blouse, this time in Black and a knee length skirt looking like a gathering of Roses, is matched to an above the knee jacket with traces of Rose outline detail in raised applique just visible on the garments outer surface. With a high collar and neat row of buttons, it could easily shield the wearer from the cool of the winter. A broad Red and White check pattern adds a bold bright colour note for autumn in a slight departure from the classic-style tweeds of recent years. Contrasted with a deep Navy Blue, it makes a charming composition. A large check waistcoat and blazer jacket is matched to a full midi length skirt with echoes of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s and a V cut dip at the front waist emphasises the slim shape of wearers figure. To the right, a jacket and skirt combination form a classic modern day suit with the Red and White tones bringing a warm shot of colour to autumn, it also chimes with my favourite China porcelain colour scheme. The floral design in slightly raised applique if the jacket sits in perfect harmony with the checks below making a smooth transition and a large Navy Blue bow tied at the neckline completes the composition to chime once again with the shoes beneath.
The floral skirt theme continues in the first look above with a garden of flowers swirling around the model. A soft Black bodice is hidden beneath a Black coat dotted with silk Roses in Pale Yellow, White and Pink. It brings blooms of colour to a classic composition that carries late summer forwards. Next to the right a composition that encapsulates the fit and flare style with the classic summer short trousers favoured in France. With a hint of sport, the Plunge neckline cut to the near-waist it’s a playful piece also referencing the look of the ballerina with its light outer skirts of netted tulle sewn with fine feathers. A metallic shimmer flashes across the surface of the Blue Aqua garment creating a liquid-like shimmer. This beautiful shimmer appears again in the next look to the centre with a Blue shimmering blouse with bow tied at the neckline adding a carefree contrast to a Navy Blue skirt and jacket combination. Tiny dots of White across the surface of the two pieces, break the block of colour and off-set the high-lights of the blouse.
To the right, one of my favourite looks from the earlier day-wear part of the collection saw a life-infused tween of Reds, Green, White and Light Blue cut in a jacket and skirt set worn over a beautiful White feather light bandeau top crafted with an outer layer of bows, ribbons on a shift layer of lace. Deep pockets in the jacket bring a hint of seriousness to the look to contrast with the ingénue spirit of the broderie anglaise mini-blouse. It’s both smart and serious but beautiful. To the far right deep Navy Blue is the colour base for a semi-sheer dress that features a panel of carefully sewn needlepoint flowers. Taking its cue again from the beloved folk traditions of Europe, this outfit brings high-style to carefree simplicity and is a bow-tied at the waist sweet, yet confident look to enjoy and wear. It could also live beyond Autumn and Winter I think and sneak into a Summer/late Summer travel set.
The mood shifts to one of single colour conformity placing a greater emphasis on style nuances. A Magenta trouser suit is cut to softly elegant proportions with a longer bolero jacket accented with balloon sleeves in compliment to trousers cut generously at the hips with folds taken from the man’s wardrobe for ease, just as Gabrielle Chanel took cues from the male styling of clothes. A Black ribbon around the neck is tied as a bow accenting the look in place of jewellery and forming a subtle tonal colour contrast.
The next three looks in crisp White all work around the classic contemporary suit genre. A beautifully cut jacket crosses down over the hips to the upper thigh matched with gently cut trousers that give ample room for comfort as well as defining a truly elegant silhouette. A deep V neckline is composed by softly falling lapels that sink to the waist of the wearer whilst single buttons tie the jacket with vintage hints of men’s jackets and waistcoats of the 17th and 18th century. In several respects the past is always present here. Hip pockets of the jacket angle downwards towards the outer part of the figure in mirror of the curve of the hips. Centre above the trouser suit takes on a more nuanced form with a double layer of pockets at the jacket and a deeper lapel. Like its neighbour in this frieze, the garment’s Cream White is off-set with a sparkling Silver scarf that offers a colour and tonal contrast. To the right a coat dress and trouser combination offer a little more protection against the chill winds of winter with a light bouclé weave creating a slightly thicker fabric than in previous pieces with a beautifully surface design. A set of five simple buttons and fold-over pockets give soft touches to this cosy look.
To the far right a hint of boudoir chic enters the collection with a vintage style one-piece under or night time garment in Rose that channels the current taste for looking back to the last. This is also the softer type of style that Chanel wished women to have access to in the years of the "Belle Epoch" before her main career in fashion really began. With soft lace dentelle detail at the shoulder straps, neckline, waist and knees defining the figure silhouette it’s delicate and pretty. The short soft breeches-style trouser part of the garment features a double layer of garment to give extra comfort. Magenta ribbons and Black shoes again provide a colour contrast.
A soft Light Fern Green enters the collection palette with another ‘boudoir’ chic look echoing the “Belle Epoch” era. Soft silk bordered with lace is crafted into a bodice, fitted skirt and soft mid-calf length trousers. Borders at the shoulder are detailed with the same lace fringing style as in the previous look. This piece adds the dynamic of skirt over trousers to offer an extra layer to relax in at home, in bed or under your day or eveningwear piece. Continuing the boudoir chic look, next a Black chemise is worn over a vest and again paired to short cami-trousers. All in silk the softness will help the wearer relax and this is a look that could be stepped out in easily as well as worn for comfort around the home. The beautiful dentelle detail at the lapels and lower edge of the chemise is barely there whisper light in detail.
As the looks transition to full dresses sunshine flowers appear blooming across the surface of an above the ankle dress in Black and White. A dropped bandeau neckline is held by shoulder straps accented in individual flowers, whilst the peplum fringe encircling the hips above a dress skirt falling in three tiers to the ankles. With tiny applique flowers fluttering in the breeze across the dress, the broad brimmed hat features a garden of fabric flowers sewn underneath the brim subtly partially obscuring the face of the wearer if seen from the side. It’s a great look for late Summer parties as well as early to mid-autumn formals. Also crossing territories it would be a fantastic summer dress in Australia or South-America for the races or summer parties. The Black and White theme continues with a beautiful White dress that blends the smooth conventional long sleeve vest with the apron skirt of previous centuries. Pin tucked at a low waist, the skirt expands to feature numerous gathers that enhance the volume, all tied with two expansive Black bows at the side hips. A White Spanish style blouse sits below the shoulders and neckline gathered in a cloud of ruffles around the bodice and descending to the hips. A thick Black waistband ties the look into the waist before descending to a fluffy floating skirt composed externally of Navy Blue feathers wafting around the figure of the wearer as she walks with their own tiny sparkles. The classic dark toe point shows blend with the monochrome of the blouse styling it’s neat but also playful in one phrase.
A Sunshine Yellow brings a burst of sunlight forward from Summer and in the Autumn, the sunlight sparkling through the leaves and across the landscape or cityscape is one of most memorable facets of the season itself, aside from autumn foods and clothes. The pinafore of the 19th century young girl’s wardrobe has been re-styled for the adult audience here with the formal lines of uniformity softened to include three tiered layers of skirting signalled by ruched peplums detail. The Black and White monochrome returns with a full length dress taking hints from the 18th century court dress style. Side panels of the Black silk dress open a little to reveal floating White lace petticoats again using the three tiers model. Fringed with feathers at the base of the first and third tiers, this looks like a playful contemporary twist on a heritage style. To the right an all-White dress may block colour but there is great diversity in the texture of the garment. The bodice descending to the line of the hips is created in sheer fabric sewn with delicate puff ball flowers standing away from the garment’s surface and the half-moon crescent shapes of petals on the surface. From the hips downwards, fine layers of tulle netting circle the figure at intervals of a few inches before dropping to a final skirt length at the knee.
As the collection drew to a close the two bridal option offering featured Black and White alternatives for that special day or possible evening war looks. Chanel said the imposed Black and Black has certainly been offered as an option for Bridal couture or as a versatile second dress for evening receptions. Above the lines of the 17th and 18th century Mantua Court dress have been softened and brought forwards in time to create an easy elegance hanging gently from the figure of the wearer. A panelled bodice with soft button detail flowing to full skirts is an easy piece to wear and enjoy through an evening or day event.
The finàle White dress is a demure and very comfortable piece that is the essence of simplicity. Perhaps in these strange times clients are looking for more simplicity in design but, as ever, the ‘passages’ that walk out in Haute Couture are suggestions and can be adapted to the wishes of the clients. As simple as a prayer itself, the dress cut as one in the main body also in the simple style of the Christmas Angel A shaped gown dress, is off-set by a short dotted veil and a broad ribbon bow tied at the front of the forehead. It’s simply fun which hopefully all weddings can be.
Images courtesy of Alexis Mabille (C)
I would describe Mabille’s style as elegance with a hint of playfulness. He has mastered the soft forms of elegance creating Haute Couture designs that fit well to client’s needs, particularly those simply looking for elegant understated dresses that are versatile and demure.
The collection opened with a beautiful mini-dress in stiff White silk satin designed with the most beautifully simple element at the bodice, a bouquet of silk flowers. It something I think I’ve never seen before and then you wonder why no-one else has ever created a dress in such a way, certainly in modern times, as it seems so beautifully perfect. The dress itself is curved around the figure of the wearer like a form of antique scroll. I could almost imagine love poems written across the fabric, perhaps something I should create if I ever bring about my own collection. To the right, the theme of flowers issuing forth from inside the dress appears again in the most wonderful way with rosettes of Pink and Red blooms visible inside the sheer gazaar silk balloon sleeves of the blouse. The main body of the blouse composed in White silk makes a simple contrast to the Black of the floor length tulip skirt. It’s smart with a hint of adventure.
Mabille works with strong statement jewel-like colours and a deep Navy-Sapphire Blue features as a strong style note to a dress composed of Navy Blue with a silk bodice in the form of the men’s tuxedo shirt. In a way it could be seen as a reinvention of the tuxedo dress in an off the shoulder form with buttons descending through the two phases of the fabric and fine cuff detail. To the right, an extraordinary Rose silk dress is accented with Charcoal Grey lattice grid design running vertically through the length of the dress. Created in shift form beneath the sheer outer dress is visible a fine Rose colours lace figure hugging garment that forms the inner core of the piece. At the rear of the left shoulder a beautiful Rose in Purple silk sits squarely on the figure, almost in a protective gesture. It’s a beautiful look for the Red Carpet or private events.
The emblem of the silk rose appears again in the next frieze above in the most emphatic way. Effectively showing the wearer as a form of flower in herself wearing a silken headdress composed of Golden fabric wrapped around the head echoing the form of petals, and also perhaps invoking the healing power of the Rose itself, this trouser suit cast in spun Gold is a head turning look that would make a strong style statement worn by clients across the globe. Essentially in two textures of smooth silk, in the headdress and lapels and woven cloth of gold in the jacket and trousers, it carries a look of clear precision. Centre above a dress evokes the form of the flower with the Green stem transposed into the main body of the dress worn by the model as a floor length dress and the sleeves radiating the colour and volume of the soft Rose-Pink petals. At the sleeve cuffs you can even see the soft Yellow of the pollen at the centre of the flower. To the right, the coat dress reaches the most beautiful lengths of fashion design with a Navy Blue piece created in the manner of a blazer jacket reaching to a full length with small oval cut train. It’s deeply elegant and the ripple of the Navy fabric is mesmerising when the model walks in this. Looking at the garment carefully, though almost minimalist in design, it executes the classic details of the blazer and the long evening dress to perfection.
Navy Blue continues to be an important colour note as the collection progresses with a jump suit in this colour illuminated with the iridescence of sparkle of thousands of crystals or sequins covering the figure from neckline to ankle. This garment is literally cloaked in a cape-jacket of cloth of Gold embroidered almost tapestry style with a multitude of flowers and animal designs. The light and life of the woodland forest combines with the glittering hues of the night sky to create a harmonious contrast.
Centre above a bold Fern Green coat dress carries a single colour from collar to floor length with side-cut sleeves leaving the arm free to move about the figure. Comfortable and easy to wear through a long evening, this look is simple to pair to a myriad of clutch purses. To the right a deep Rose Pink corset bodice surrounds the upper figure of the model showing attention to detail with a small contrast in the Rose-Red of the flowing full length dress skirt. The skirt flows in a fluted design with gathered fabric creating a circle around the wearer all tied and accented neatly with an outsized large bow at the waist. A perfect look for Christmas and New Year parties potentially or late autumn and winter Red Carpet appearances.
A beautiful Primrose Yellow is blended with hints of Yellow Gold to create a jewel-like Yellow dress that plays with the classic fit and flare design. An escalloped bodice curves over the décolleté with a second bodice layer reaching outwards from the figure mirroring the form and style of the classic flower petal. The waist is bound by closely gathered pleats of the fabric and the traditional flowing dress skirt, shaped somewhat like the arc of a cup glass radiates outwards to the floor. It almost echoes the radiance of the sunlight on autumn and winter days. It’s a classic for parties, New Year and winter balls and the Red Carpet.
Centre above in Baby or Old Blue is a lovely design that sits loosely around the figure in an hommage to the designs of the inter war years. It’s refined and relaxed creating an interesting turn on the classic lapel with a bias cut neckline featuring the silken turn of a single lapel crossing the figure from left shoulder to right upper arm. To the right, the most beautiful burst of Rose Pink features with a swirl of colour greeting the eyes very literally here. A figure hugging long sleeve tunic fitted like an easy glove to the wearers figure gives way to a voluminous circle cut dress skirt that encompasses the figure in large volumes of fabric. It’s a show stopping piece that would draw eyes on the Red Carpet for press related events as well as more private events. It’s a classic example of Mabille using block colour as a strong statement backed up by clear refined detail.
The garden continues to walk on the catwalk with a beautiful shimmering off the shoulder Black dress twinkling with the light of the night stars. A large flowers blooms on the left shoulder with vibrant colours of Pinks and White with its own vine stem snaking around the wearers at a bias cut angle descending the figure in a spiral. Soft Green leaves punctuate the length crafted out of a metallic Green similar to what is seen in the next garment centre above. The stalk itself wrought in a shimmering earthy brown glistens with the vibrancy of new life and growth around the wearer.
The deep Emerald jumpsuit placed centre in this composition stands like a confident beacon of colour amongst the other jewel-like garment of this collection. The Rose coloured silk rapped round the head in the shape of the infinitely complex Rose flower bud itself transforms the wearer into a flower altogether complete. It’s a touch of humour but also a masterpiece of artisan craft of the atelier. To the right shimmering Emerald Green once again forms the base of a garment with a crystal sewn dress overlain with hundreds of tiny Rose Pink buds appearing to grow across the surface of the fabric. At the rear of the left shoulder a Rose in Purple silk is crafted from layers of folded fabric forming a rosette behind the wearer. It’s a similar motif to what has been used before in the collection to beautiful effect.
The above set of two compositions both take the crystal sewn jump suit, in Lilac and Emerald respectively and raise the bar somewhat by adding to it a cape of long netted tulle reminiscent of under dress layering. It brings a hint of the ballerina’s costume to the look and makes quite a theatrical entrance, complete with bow ribbon tie at the collar, though in the most serious of ways. These contrasting fabrics and colours used in tandem are sure to gain attention of the cameras and could possibly be adapted to feature just one of the fabrics in a single composition if the client so desired.
Below the finale dress is another creative celebration with crystal sewn shimmer more boldly displayed by dropping the tulle netted skirt to the waist of the wearer. The main body colour in Navy Blue sparkles around the figure with the bold contrasting Scarlett of the full skirt making a strong statement. It’s a look that also suggests another potential adaptation to the forerunning two garments of the collection above and that Mabille is a long way off concluding his mirthful experiments with the modalities of Haute Couture.
Images credit Filippo Fior Go Runway (C)
Under the helm of Pierre Paolo Piccolinini (Sp?) Valentino made a bold exploration of colour; another designer and his team determined to banish the gloom of the dark times and bring colour and enjoyment back into the lives of as many as they can reach.
The collection opens in a burst of Valentino Rosso or House Red and the wearer walks with a fascinating jacket mini-dress cut in a balloon style with many small pleats accenting the flow and texture of the garment around the figure. Neon Pink cuffs thrust into the pockets of the wrap over skirt hint at the blouse underneath. A feathered broad brim hat hints at the exuberant chic of Rome and greater Italy in the mid-twentieth century with strands of long feathers floating on the breeze behind the wearer. A strong bolt of Purple enters with a triplicate of this colours phased through a shirt, trousers and a jacket-cape overlaying a simple White vest. This composition, nominally worn by a man could just as easily be ported by a lady. A female model walks in another deep Purple dress with a raincoat in a complementary lighter colour. The cowl at the neckline and shin-guard type legwarmers set in brightest Lime Green offer a bold colour contrast and one to banish any sad feelings of winter as the days get darker.
To the right something that chimes with my inner belief that colour and free style painting to express emotion through colour, can be one of the best things for the soul. Innocent shapes and curves of colour creep across the surface of a single piece dress representing sunshine flowers and the bright celestial colours that emerge from the hedgerows, parks and fields of autumn.
A brilliant swirl of Lilac cloaks the shoulders of a model with long lengths of fabric swirling across the figure and drops in colour degree to deeper Purple trousers through the length of the look. A shimmering Light Green vest and electric Fern Green over the elbow gloves creates a confident colour contrast. The bold broad brimmed feathered hat returns once again with a coat dress in the most micro proportions. If you have the confidence and the inclination, this is the look for you to walk forwards in during the autumn. Soft Primrose Yellow gloves create a more subtle colour contrast, perhaps referencing the colours of an autumn sunset.
A Lilac jacket shrugged off one shoulder sits in carefree fashion over an Electric Mint Green tunic dress cut low at the neckline and trimmed with legging like shin guards. With jacket resting on shoulders and garment fastened, this would make a very warm and comfortable look to see you through autumn and winter to the next Spring. This happy pop of colour, like its collection contemporaries could easily have a long life in your wardrobe. To the right a beautiful collage effect is created in a light hearted piece using a free style tapestry effect. This mini-dress with a boat-cut neckline and balloon sleeves would also look at home in a trans-seasonal wardrobe. Flowers, fabric designs and animal prints all blend together into a single form. To the right a strong Grass Green covers the figure in a single shoulder floor length garment that is cut with an outer skirt wrap. Long gloves reaching to above the elbow in Baby/Aqua Blue make a striking colour contrast that brings light to the scene the wearer walks into.
A beautiful Teal shirt dress is gently wrapped at the waist with a simple tie that sums up easy elegance whilst being ‘lounge-wear’ formal appropriate. Worn with trousers, smart leggings or simply with heels or boots it could make a striking eveningwear outfit. Hints of art appear once more in a jacket and dress incorporating abstract symbols in human and ethereal forms. Legging trousers cut close to the figure also serve to add a further art based inspiration note. A mini jumpsuit is set with sparkles and lights of crystal tracing across the surface of its fabric with a large out-sized feather trails falling from a broad brimmed hat to far below the waist. Another set of over the elbow long gloves in Baby/Aqua Blue appear as part of the composition and to the right a total-look uses this colour in one block with a faint degrèdé of colour from the balloon jacket to the ankle length dress with cowl neckline that cloak the figure. Leggings and long Yellow gloves adding a colour pop that disappears up the elbow sleeves adds a small colour contrast.
A Bright Canary Yellow mini-dress hangs close to the figure sewn with fine ribbed details and off-set by a beautiful Plum coloured broad brimmed hat set with feathers trailing in lengths from its brim and over the arm length White gloves. This bold Yellow appears again teamed with Navy blue in the next look to walk with a Navy Blue dress cut in a V at the neckline folded through at the waist to create the illusion of two layers or two garments. Her hands are cloaked in Black long sleeve gloves that once again reach over the elbow as in the mode of this collection.
A soft palette of White, Rose Pink and Greys enters the collection with subtle notes for autumn, also blending with my signature website tones that make an easy combination. A T-shirt, under a V neckline shirt followed by jacket and straight pleat drop trousers completes this look of ‘about town’ day wear. A flowing full length Golden dress in slightly sheer fabric cloaks the figure with a Renaissance-esque elegance. Cut softly to the figure it’s an expression of elegance that crosses through the times of any age.
Block colour enters the collection in a statement of elegance that strikes a clean and clear contemporary tone with a Menswear comfort look featuring a Rose Pink soft bulky sweater, White shirt, Magenta wool jacket worn underneath and Charcoal Grey trousers complete a tiered series of colour balance. Next a whisper of autumn mist enters the collection with a soft Dove Grey/White composition of lose circular cut blouse, pencil skirt and off the shoulder broadly cut jacket make the most subtle combination. A Dove Grey pencil dress cut open in the style of a coat is formed with bold bloc colour scheme in Orange/Red and Black. An outer coat sits like a continuation of the original piece with Black gloves and White leggings acting as a counterpoint almost signalling the look of the traditional European playing card set.
To the right a full length dress in the deep russet Orange of Autumn is folded into multitude of tiny shimmering faint pleats with a warmth and vitality that the kick of autumn energy brings. Looking like the timeless simple Roman dress worn since ancient times, this piece would see you through the warm nights of a Mediterranean autumn with chunky soft large Brown sandals cushioning the feet. To the far right a well wrapped figure walks towards winter with three visible strong layers of fabric and probably more beneath. A warm cowl-hooded sweater sits under a thick long jacket with broad lapels sitting gently open and this itself is cloaked in a warm raincoat to shield the wearer not only from the cold but from the rain itself.
A quintuple colour play opens the looks of the next frieze above with a menswear look that is bold and confident but also concise in its expression of elegance. White shirt underneath a Black shirt create a smooth monochrome contrast to trousers coloured in the rich Orange-Red terracotta of the House roof tiles of Umbria, Tuscany and Lazio; if fact those of much of Italy. Platform boots at the bae of the look are capped in shiny Scarlett Red surfacing whilst the coat itself is formed in a soft Dove Grey with a Sugar Pink jacket lining. Another beautiful look in single colour Dove Grey comprises of dress and long jacket, the latter featuring a beautiful hood in the form of a cape. Orange leggings bound at the shin with tiny straps of Gold add a small bright flare of colour to break the mystique of misty autumn foggy mornings.
A bright refreshing pop of Rose Pink walks next with a beautiful sleeveless mini-dress moulded in a beautiful fit and flare form around the figure. With a giant stole wrap composed of a somewhat giant feather boa, this look is ready to go dancing and out to a party anywhere in the world. In soft colour harmony, to the right. A floor length White dress is cut open at the neckline in a plunge to the waist and split high at the sides from left ankle almost to hip bone. It’s bold and confident and would turn heads and camera lenses at events. The waist it tied with a Sugar Pink bow and the Black over-sized blazer is cut to almost reach the knees. It chimes with the sense of carefree elegance but could also keep the wearer proof against the cold should it suddenly appear when leaving events at night in the autumn season.
Simplicity in use of colour is a key element in this collection with single colour statements making a big feature of the mis en scene of the seasonal offering. A figure-hugging Navy Blue mini-dress is a perfect party look branching towards formal wear that would allow a very high hemline. Super-long tendrils of feathers cloud the broad brim of a hat and reach down through the line of figure in stray strands falling beyond knee length. White over the elbow gloves ruched for almost theatrical perfection to complete the look. Centre above a White sleeveless top is drawn with Navy abstract shapes dancing across the surface with a soft cowl neckline and leggings in similar fabric. A jacket with similar patterning detail hangs from the figure and outer trousers decorated with the broad Navy Blue lines of hand painted sailor stripes.
The combination of figure hugging mini-dress and broad brimmed feathered hat return in a piece in Lilac Purple with Blood Orange over the elbow gloves. This dress is slightly more sculpted than it’s contemporaries with a sash-twist at the waist allowing series of soft pleats to fall across the skirt angled like the rays of the autumn sunshine. To the right a menswear look comprises a soft Lilac blouse, wrap around skirt and pressed pleat line trousers. A light open jacket in shimmering sparkling Silver-Lilac tones completes the main length of the look with over the elbow gloves and Lilac raised shoes creating an expression of a single colour journey in one style.
The broad brimmed style appears again with a vibrant Sugar Pink broad brimmed hat featuring long tendrils of feathers and a cluster of flowers across the crown of the hat. Beneath a mini-dress cut in balloon style over the figure in a deep Chocolate colour is gathered with countless tiny ruches and pin-tucks to enhance the feeling of soft volume. A White gloved hand emerges from a barely visible dress sleeve and switches the look to a tricolour combination. Without the White glove though, I think that this could be worn to more striking effect. A double tier of White and Black t-shirts are once again present, just visible underneath the jacket lapels of a Sugar-Pink trouser suit. A curious visual effect is created by the appearance of arms from behind the sleeves in the jacket with the actually jacket sleeves appearing to walk before the wearer.
The White T-shirt staple appears once more with an Umber over layered jacket, Hot Pink trousers and Burgundy three quarter length coat matching the shoes of the model. It’s a strong colour statement that sets the tone once again for a passionate display of colour to lift spirits and help us all rebound with life after the pandemic. A Scarlet V neckline sweater above Dark Pink trousers also features an apron skirt tied around the waist in the same fabric. It blends so well that you may not see it initially but the look leans to contrast with monochrome shades of Black and White in the over the elbow gloves, T-shirt and Black boots.
This frieze of the looks I selected this season from Valentino moves more decidedly towards eveningwear with dresses cut in soft fabrics surrounding the figure. A light Aqua Blue dress in the softest sweet colour hangs with a dropped neckline accented by folds of fabric. It gently descends to a wider base and sewn with sequins it shimmers in the light around the wearer as she walks. The dress is also cloaked in the most effusive and romantic Spanish-Style gown-jacket in a celebration of flourishes and ruffles, in the same light Aqua Blue and White, it proudly evokes aspects of the traditional flamenco outfit. Using volume to make a statement suggestion appears once again with a bold Azure Blue dress sculpted in the most wonderful way to create a texture of descending drapes gently reflecting the natural curves of the human form. It’s a perfect evening look and the gentle stole dropped at the shoulders in a floral fiesta in a small equivalent to its neighbour is off-set by White Gold above the elbow gloves. Movement lies within this look as the dress is itself is wrapped around the form with a side-split below the left side hip adding the potential for volume.
A beautiful bold Sunshine Yellow dress carries the warmth of Summer light through to the next season. A dress cut like loose fitting glove displays single shoulder detail with a broad sweeping neckline folding round the collar bones to meet the top of the sleeves. Long White over the elbow gloves offer a simple harmonious colour contrast and the folded drape at the waist and neckline set at a gentle angle offers a subtle intricacy of design. It’s a subtle sophisticated look for eveningwear. To the right dress makes a feature of the ruffles of the stoles in one complete look. Again set in a beautiful Sunshine Yellow, this presents an image of flower petals swirling around the wearer as if she is the stem of life that all originates from. Cut in mini length it’s a perfect look for people who want to make a feature of their own stems.
Abstract impulses of art appear once again with a broad full skirted dress alive with the colours of an artist’s palette. There is always a wonderful freedom of expression when illustration meets design in this way. A whirl of fabric across the bodice of the dress with a central knot tie creates a bow effect slightly disguised by the difference in patterns running across the surface of the fabric. With the proportions of the full traditional ball gown, it a fitting piece for a contemporary late autumn event. A dress in very light Primrose Yellow centre above brings another warm splash of colour to the collection to perhaps balance the fading light of Autumn into Winter. A dress bodice with a single sash over the shoulder, one draped to fall to the upper arm, is fitted to the waist and then expands to a skirt of many tulle layers spanning broadly around the figure. It’s another statement look for a Red Carpet event or even possibly of the stage. Many of the later pieces of this collection, I could also envisage being worn by women performing in choral works as soloists or with an orchestra as the vocal accompaniment. The outer tulle skirt layer gathered in many folds makes a soft elegant statement. To the right the beautiful Primrose Yellow appears again in a stronger tone in the crystal sewn full length dress worn underneath a Buttercup Yellow silk gown jacket. Crystals sewn into the raised cowl neckline of the dress create a fusion of fashion and jewellery in harmony.
More bright tones of colour emerge with a semi-sheer Hot Pink dress working with the stencil technique to bring delicate shapes of flowers flowing across the figure in a colour to be enjoyed with sweet romantic vibes. Broad skirt length created by simple tiny pin-tucks at the waist fill the silhouette out to traditional grand proportions and a simple under bodice holds the look in place on the figure. Centre above a Hot Pink creation teams a cowl hooded dress flowing in a column down the figure with an off-the-shoulder gown jacket that trails from the arms to the floor, with an excess of fabric creating train behind the wearer. It’s another showpiece look for the Autumn-Winter season bringing colour to life. To the right a Purple full length dress challenges the proportions of the Court dresses of the 18th century with its beautiful satin silk spilling in circumference from the wearer. This is another look to turn heads and lenses in your direction and would monopolise the breadth of the grandest staircase. A truly memorable piece.
A broad Aqua Blue dress is fashioned to regal proportions and cut in the style of a dressing gown almost in its fold-over tie but to the most ‘Alt’ of Alta Moda. The wearer is cloaked in a piece cut deep at the neckline but expanding through to very broad balloon sleeves to a full skirt tied around the figure. This strikes me as a very comfortable look for any patrons who may be expecting a new arrival in the Autumn or next Spring but it would look beautiful on any wearer. To the right, its neighbour in a Sunflower Yellow strikes another confident colour note with raised balloon sleeves standing proud like butterfly wings at the shoulders of the model before descending to a full wide skirt again referencing the proportions of the 18th century. The dress is bounded by side borders and a thick waist band created from the same fabric as the main body of the dress, creating the subtlest texture contrast.
A bright Baby Pink continues the charming series of full length pieces that dance through the later part of the collection. A fit and flare dress once again cut to proportions that the late 18th century would be enraptured by features a bandeau neckline and close cut bodice before spilling forth into a broad fantasia ball gown. With a small nod to history also perhaps, the look is completed by a cape tied over the shoulders with a loose draw string. It’s a carefree touch to a piece complete with the greatest of care and detail. To the right a cape-gown forms the main feature of a look that shows men too can and in the past did wear pieces like this to accompany their traditional menswear statements. Colour in men’s wardrobes was a staple of past centuries and if so inclined, there is no reason why it should not be again.
A beautiful Dark Chocolate Burgundy gown filled the span of the catwalk almost breathing life into a dream like outfit. Abundant fabric spills around the form of the figure to create gentle volume with a rosette swirl of fabric across the bodice area symbolising both a flower and the inner beauty and grace of the wearer herself. To the right deep Scarlett Red abstraction of hands and arms feature perhaps in the passionate believe that together, untied we can all pull together and beat the turbulence of the last few years.
The finale piece in a broad coat dress that features the passionate broad brush strokes of Blood Red perhaps emphasising new life and hope. With deep pockets and acres of fabric it’s a piece to be comfortable in and enjoy should you be heading out somewhere special in the coming season.