A Blush of Rose
Paris - January 2015
The New Year always brings the excitement of a new season of Haute Couture in Paris and this year we where also treated to the fantastic collection brought out by John Galliano for Maison Martin Margiela during London Men's Fashion Week. For my thoughts on this collection please click through to here. It was a triumphant return and a spectacular demonstration from a Master Couturier.
All below images are with kind permission of the respective Houses.
This re-awakened Maison is going from strength to strength. Under the lead of a new designer Schiaparelli continued it's new life back at the heart of the Haute Couture Season in Paris to the acclaim of the fashion community world-wide. It's a great success story and shows that Elsa's vision of contemporary fashion with a noted injection of humour does have a firm place on the 21st century fashion circuit and has won fans across new generations who otherwise would be studying her work through it's archives.
There's a lot of fun and energy in this collection, it's simply bursting with life and fun, yes fun there is fun in Haute Couture it's not always as serious as you may imagine.
I open my look at this collection with a wonderful loose cut ladies suit topped with a fantastic Fez hat. Complete with full length tassel for me this look pays a beautiful tribute to Yves Saint Laurent who pioneered the trouser suit for women and also had deep personal connections to Morocco
and North Africa.
The long line in white is flattering to the figure and it's a perfect occasion outfit for a summer event in the day or in the evening. You can have a lot of good times in these beautiful outfits.
A hint of North Africa continues with a beautiful one piece wrap that is both blouse and veil. This is the very essence of easy glamour. Draped over the figure around the shoulders and covering the crown of the head it conforms to Eastern custom but also looks effortlessly stylish and in a hot climate will also frankly keep your head cool should you be attending an event in Morocco or perhaps the Gulf States.
There's a strong flavour of the 1940's about this collection recalling the hey day of the latter part of Elsa's career. I get a strong sense of Marlene Dietrich from many of the looks in the collection. Above to the right are two pieces that for me blend the old and the new quite successfully. I'm in love with the combination look of midnight blue stars and white wide-leg trousers. Matched with a bow crowned hat this is a pure pleasure to see like many of the outfits of the collection. Next love is in the air again with heart petals festooning the trousers and bandeau top. Sitting under a neat black jacket that is almost bolero in cut the look is sensational and with a black lace veil a la Spanish style, why not - it's Elsa Schiaparelli after all.
Taking slightly more conventional lines and approach to the 1940's era looks the first two outfits above would suit a number of occasions where they could be worn. Note the star motif creeping in in the hair piece decoration of the first outfit above to the right and the second in the centre. I think it's a great symbol of Schiaparelli and her belief in the strength of women. The black skirted suit above to the left is classic tailoring perfection, exactly what you would wish to receive from a Parisian Haute Couture Maison. The gold boucle detail makes a simply coordinating colour statement that would suit so many women. Centre above the green dress shown front and back illustrates superbly that within the bounds of tradition, there is still plenty of fun to be had. It's chic divinity and I love the cinching of the dress at the lower back.
Moving on to looks that are perhaps more easily defined as evening wear (I then wonder of Elsa Schiaparelli would like her clothes to be definable) a warn terracotta two piece continues the 1940's feel. Again the bandeau cropped top makes an appearance and sits above a waist-defining corset styled skirt that flows down into long floor sweeping pleats. This will look amazing on summer nights. Next to the right the shorts, blouse and long sweeping jacket combo make a bold glamour statement and make this look a maximum impact piece. It's sophisticated and grown-up where a less experienced designer may have taken it in a more gothic direction.
To complete my look at this collection I've chosen three stunning dresses that I feel sit mostly in the evening wear category. Again Elsa herself may never have had a more flexible view of when and how her pieces could be worn - I like the idea of 'anytime Haute Couture' (maybe I just invented that phrase). The red full length dress to the left and the black dress centre above are two of my favourite looks of the collection. I would happily model both of them. I love the classic simplicity of the design as well as the addition of special playful features in the design. I think both looks would suit many women and I love the black lace train in the centre piece. These are tried and tested forms that will flatter many figures and why not. Why not stick with a winning formula! To close my look at the collection a touch of fun and pizzazz; lively jacquard print tied with a silver ribbon. Ii think there are great times ahead for Maison Schiaparelli and I can't wait to see it.
Dior has entered a new age under Raf Simons of that we can be sure but there is no one quite like Dior in terms of a House that is looking to put a contemporary stamp on Haute Couture by creating pieces that are taking their cues from current style trends but also maintaining the high artistry of the Atelier.
I chose these first two looks from the collection for Spring and Summer 2015 as they both epitomised this description for me. With the clean long lines echoing both Bar and the New Look; these two dresses are both cut in modern shapes that reveal a little more of the figure than their forebears may have done. Nevertheless there is plenty of life in the mid-calf skirt yet and this is a shape and silhouette that has become truly timeless.
Dior's signature House Flower is the Rose and I love the floral print ever so slightly blurred (it's meant to be) on the silk fabric of the outfits. It's compliments the theme of the traditional 1950's New Look shape perfectly and adds a touch of modern fairy-tale to the pieces. But this is real life and Haute Couture in Paris is a successful and highly lucrative business. With a growing clientele around the world, Haute Couture's empire is expanding and Dior know how to play their strongest suit in the battle to attract the gaze of new and existing friends of the Maison.
Far from being constrained by tradition Raf Simons is exploring new ways of re-working the past. Below to the left are a series of three looks that cleverly play with the 1960's themes of mini skirt and marbled/oil on water effect print. A touch of psychedelia never did a collection and harm and Raf's introduction of this motif into an Haute Couture collection is a statement. Has he up-scaled Ready to Wear here? Perhaps but also at the same time broadening the definition of what Haute Couture can be. Many clients will be looking for formal wear but others will have a broader definition of what they want and close fitting body suits will be among it. The short black tunic dress is heavenly and very versatile. It would be my pick from the early collection. An extra bold colour twist comes with green heeled ankle boots. And why not?!
The three looks above to the right work with floral themes. The first two are more in the mold of the classic Dior shapes with a new twist. I love the combination of Bar style line with 1960's belt detail at the waist. The floral print is light hearted and easy on the eye. Matched with black heeled boots there's a slight edge that gives the look a twist. This piece had wonderful movement and is a great piece for Spring and Summer, for the day or for the evening. Working the long line look again the floor length look to the left is a gentle floral abundance that would work well as an occasion piece. It could be teamed with a white jacket for more formal occasions or long evenings.
These two pieces both have great flexibility and would serve a client well at a private event or also work for clients looking for outfits to wear in front of camera on high-profile occasions. One of my favourite looks of the entire collection is above to the right. It's a great party-girl outfit and with or without the necklace it would be a favourite in many women's wardrobes I think. It's got a hint of sixties Pop era and mini skirt about it and 1990's retro club-land too which is pretty fun.
Raf isn't afraid to bring shimmer and shine to the Dior party and to prove that Burberry aren't the only people who can do interesting things with a raincoat the jacket above left has to be one of the smartest things to be wearing in a downpour next season. Seriously though I think it's a great play on the contemporary sheer dress by creating a sheer coat. A great mini playsuit comes next with plenty of sparkle to see you through playing all night long wherever in the world you might be.
The next two looks have the classic Dior long lines that we love in Dior. The first centre piece in true navy blue is one of my favourite looks of the whole collection. With Crochet effect sitting over the body of the dress coming almost to the ankles it's a show stopping piece in the traditional sense. Next a profusion of colour with rosettes patterning across the dress. I think I see the tricolour of France here perhaps in a nod to rebellion or simply a celebration of France. The look above to the right actually is my favourite of the whole collection. It's a fantastic piece that many girls will see themselves in going out and having a good time. The dress and cream coat match perfectly but each in it's own right is a stunning piece of work and fantastic couture creation.
A little more sparkle appears with a Rose theme I spy above to the right. Again this dress glistens with mirrors almost of it's own reflecting light into the room and thus shining the radiance of the woman wearing it far afield. To complete my look at the Haute Couture for Dior for Spring and Summer 2015 I chose three pieces that re-work the classic New Look lines in a new way. Playing with tulle, layering and new cut shapes these looks harness a bold new energy that has come to the Maison with Raf and look to suit the needs and dreams of a new generation of clients.
Each season Armani take a theme and do some truly amazing things with it. The scope for play and imagination are broad and their clients go away with their needs well met and curiosities well satisfied until next season. They have a magic formula that's clearly working.
Regular readers of this page will know how my heart sings at the thought that we have a British Haute Couture Maison that shows by invitation on the Haute Couture Schedule in Paris twice a year. I feel it's firmly where we should be as the nation that ave the World it's first Haute Couture House 'Worth' over 200 years ago. Today, like many people around the world, I watch eagerly to see the new seasons creations from Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo grace the catwalk and I'm honoured that we have such a talented vibrant young Maison alive and thriving in the heart of London. The Maison now has a home in Mayfair at 40 Park Street and also a new establishment in Paris.
The Awakening of Flora collection for Spring and Summer 2015 is beautiful and a masterpiece of the traditional savoir faire of Haute Couture. The collection opened with the piece to the left to intakes of breath and eyes trained firmly on the garment. Ralph and Russo champion the skills of the Atelier and the collections that they bring out are a feast for the eyes for those both new and already well acquainted with Haute Couture. Above all it's light and fresh and modern in feel. These are looks for women of the 21st century whether they are leading ladies of screen or of nation states. Ralph and Russo's mastery of their art and devotion to craft have already won them a large following amongst clients in very high places. It proves the adage that quality will speak for itself. And if Haute Couture where not such a demure world I think it would be frankly shouting.
There's a lot to talk about here in this collection and the Maison as a brand now has a fully global out-reach with clients on every continent.
The very first look above opened the collection is, for me, emblematic of the whole collection. Flora the girl awakens in Spring time and opens the collection. The dress with cape is covered with stunning applique embroidery and is a work of art as much as a piece of fashion. The silver and rose make a great colour combination and this dress sits lightly on the figure as the model walks.
The series of dresses continue the collection with all the classic detail that we are growing to love from the House of Ralph & Russo. The ice blue dress above to the left is highly intricate and a masterpiece from the atelier. Applique roses adorn the bodice of the dress and and flow down to the skirt. With a light partly off the shoulder design it will be very wearable on summer days and evenings. The next dress's light skirt will also suit the warmer months around the globe and carries intricate golden embroidery above the hem. The next two looks above to the right play with the crochet theme and form stunning light garments for the summer months.
This season Armani took us to the Tropics (in spirit) to unveil their Spring Summer 2015 Haute Couture collection. We where welcomed into the jungle of Armani and as you will note the Bamboo leaves strewn beautifully across the fabrics that fluttered down the catwalk this was a tale of Asian climbs. Armani was looking East for Spring and Summer 2015 the Mountains of China and perhaps the Sichuan.
There's a lot to love in this collection for the warmer months wherever you are in the world. The pieces are light and floaty and this collection's looks had a ripple and shimmer effect as they floated past the audience. Very charming and something to fall in love with. From the humble Bamboo shoot very great things have come for Armani Prive this season and this collection is one of tremendous diversity around a core theme. There is almost an endless series of looks that are satisfyingly unique to inspire clients to order a number of pieces that would all be in harmony with each other in a woman's wardrobe and Haute Couture collection.
Looking further afield to Japan the traditional Obi belt appeared in many different guises in the collection. Over jackets and under then tieing at the waist and also resting on the hip bones it was a master of disguise and adaptability throughout the collection. The bamboo stalk framed the catwalk and also appeared both in printed form and also as applique on many pieces. Also the shades of the forest where the Bamboo lives provided the natural subtle palette for Armani to weave it's collection around. This season's palette is soft and natural for the most part if not progressing fully to neutral.
I love this collection a lot for the great creativity it's shown while still retaining the unmistakable stamp of the Armani Prive atelier. Whether it is full skirts or the trousers cut in both narrow and wide leg form the collection has a broad repertoire with something to suit every taste.
As the collection moved on so darker colours entered the palette along with sheer and semi sheer fabrics. Leaving behind the gentle prints of the forest the mid part of the collection to a slightly edgier turn with metallic hues and applique detail reflecting perhaps the energetic life of the cities of Asia alive with creativity and zest. Skirts are diaphanous and move loosely as the wearer walks providing a 'lighter than air' feeling. Women who have bought Haute Couture for many years often point to the lightness of feel of the clothes when explaining the difference to Ready to Wear. It's part of the technique of how the garments are crafted in the atelier and in these pieces you see an excellent illustration of how this is achieved. In the looks above you can see a myriad of different incarnations of blouse and jacket, once again showing expression and experimentation that has been found around the collections simple core themes.
As we would always expect from Armani Prive the sparkle and shine was there on display but in discreet measure. The two looks above to the left added a gentle shimmer to the catwalk and suggested thoughts of summer night parties that you would order pieces for. As with all Haute Couture you could wear it this season or treasure it as a piece of art to be loved and worn over many years to come.
Delicately constructed and endlessly lovable even in the five looks above you can see a variety of looks that would suit several generations of women within the same family. Armani really does cater to a broad wingspan of tastes with the same over-arching principles and beliefs in the precision of glamour, Haute Couture or Alta Moda as the Italian's call it. It takes it's place in Paris before the assembled audience of clients, representatives and journalists from all over the world.
Night comes to the forest at last with colours moving to grey, black and my personal favourite Midnight blues. The last three looks in this range mesmerise me, I believe that it's the shade of blue silk that they are crafted with. It's stunning in pictures so you can imagine how captivating it was on the catwalk. It's like the most perfect night sky. And with that the Armani dream said farewell for this season and we where left spellbound.
Here's another series of looks from the Spring Summer Haute Couture collection that I will leave you to gaze at. One of my very favourite looks of the collection is the one above to the left. The white dress embroidered with lilac flowers and completed with a damask rose cape. It's simply very beautiful and I like everything about it. The mid length of the front of the dress, the full skirted surrounds and the perfectly coordinated broad shouldered cape with billowed sleeves. To me it's borrowing the very best of style from past decades and centuries and combining it perfectly. Next to it a beautiful peach dress uses the Tulip form that Ralph & Russo are employing in their collections. With many layers of fabric folded to give a petal effect the model looks like she is emerging from the flower.
Next to the right a gown that looks classically Ralph & Russo. An embroidered upper garment sits on top of a long trailing skirt complimented by a cape or light jacket resting across the shoulders. To complete the set above I chose a dress to reflect the way that Ralph & Russo also like to play with structure in their designs. The skirt of the dress comes in three layers with beautiful applique flowers placed over the dresses body from bodice to the knee of the skirt.
Moving to more traditional full length evening glamour. Here are some more breath taking looks from the collection. All of these gowns will serve you well if you're client looking for beautiful fresh Couture that will suit a slightly traditional or formal occasion. These are dresses that wearers will enjoy and love for many years. For followers of the work the atelier they are fascinating in their composition and structure. I keep using the word 'master' in different ways and for me appeal of Ralph and Russo is both in the fresh design that meets the eyes and the intricacy of the detail of the dresses.
In this series above I particularly like the light blue one-shoulder dress. It would be joyous to wear on long summer evenings and you can appreciate from seeing the dress above how light the structure is. Above to the right is a white gown beautiful in it's simplicity and wonderfully paired with a mid-night blue long cape or jacket-gown. The jacket features stunning embroidery and has a regal train that flows behind the wearer. It's a look fit for a Queen.
Each piece in this collection shows the artistry of the atelier. The white dress above to the left I think could potentially be a bridal piece as well as an occasion dress and it styled with the most extraordinary embroidery. It looks serene and once again appears to have a light feel on the wearer to ensure it's comfortable through long evenings. The sheer dress above is one of the looks that's becoming a classic from Ralph & Russo along with their full wide gowns. Cutting close to the figure there is also ample room for movement and the piece sits neatly on the figure.
To the right, the first black dress again shows the great depth and variety within the collection. There are many different ideas on display here but none are too many and the collection has a feeling of completeness about it. Tamara Ralph has a 'One dress per territory' rule that must mean competition to be the only woman in the Americas or the Middle East to wear these pieces must be fierce. The sheer black dress above to the left with puff sleeve bolero jacket is the second of my three favourites from the collection. I love the way it sits on the figure like a second skin with the feel and comfort of natural movement. It's awesome and a piece to treasure in a ladies collection.
I was fascinated by the play with different texture within the garments and the look above the left is a fantastic sexy-stylish piece that's pure haute couture. The out-sized bolero jacket accompanying the second dress above shows a garden of floral delight contrasted against black. This brings the beauty of the embroidery into sharp focus and creates beautiful composition. It's a stunning piece of classic haute couture that many clients will want to order and wear.
The next series of three dresses are evening and occasion dresses that I feel could also be bridal wear for some women. Ralph & Russo create stunning sheer lace embroidery gowns and they are also perfect for engagement ceremonies and presentations that are popular in many parts of the world. The light peach dress to the right with it's ruffled petals at the shoulder celebrates the forms and curves of both the flower and the woman's figure. Pure delight.
The dress below to the right is my third favourite from the collection. The layers enveloping the shoulders of the dress like flower petals give a vision of the girl emerging from the flower and for me this could also be a special bridal piece. With hair swept back from the face it emphasises the pure natural beauty of the wearer and looks like a delight. To close my look at this collection the show-piece bridal dress. Embroidered with crystals and needing several pairs of hands to lift the piece as she turns it's a work of art from the atelier in London.
Here are Tamara and Michael themselves after the show. The duo taking applause from the assembled crowd so appreciative of their work.
Each and every season Versace invariably make a strong style statement and you can always guarantee it will be sexy, nothing wrong with that at all. I look forward to seeing the collections come out and see Donatella work her brand of magic creating Vixens and Goddesses that glide down the catwalk in front of a smiling audience all eyes and ears in anticipation.
We all need some of this in our wardrobes and the Versace House flair for making women feel and look fantastic still flows strongly each season. This collection shows many strong looks that through their passion and beauty support women and women's strength as Haute Couture should and I think we are very lucky in the diversity of the repertoire of couturiers who currently show in Paris as main resident, invited or correspondent members of the syndicate.
Versace this season are working with the curve and splits in a play with asymmetry. The colour themes where bold and strong beginning with black and moving through white, red and blue. The collection opened with a beautiful black suit that used a clear cut away piece for the opening of the jacket. The hem of the jacket worked the curve shape as it moved across the figure to the hip and I think this is the very first time I have seen a woman's suit jacket with off the shoulder detail. It's a great design look and I think that this could become a fashion trend.
Moving left a series of fantastic dresses that will show the figure at it's best. This season I find there is an air of something discreet about these looks. Splits are still high, the decollete is still shown yet I feel somehow there is a stronger air of mystery about the looks than in past seasons.
Each of the dresses above continue the one-shoulder asymmetric theme and the mixture and mystery of curves and lines running across the figure, breaking up the lines and shape of the woman's body at some points, and at others also echoing it create a playful interaction with nature, with the body of the woman herself. I think it's pure gold. The white dress centre above harnesses the dynamic to beautiful effect and the heat turns up a more than a few degrees when the palette moves to red. The two looks above to the right are pure sexiness and I would be happy to wear either.
A strong blue always makes an impact and the first look above to the left is an illustration of a masterclass in cut, style and finishing. And frankly we should expect nothing less from Donatella. She's a Master of her art. I find myself drawn again and again to looking at the way the lines traces the curves across the body of the model. It's such a simple elegant expression of beauty and I find it pretty irresistible. This is a beautiful composition of evening wear pieces and although, perhaps a little daring I can see quite a number of them translating into Couture Bridal with a few extra twists of the design wheel. In many cases some Couturiers will allow you to bespoke a piece when ordering. The blue gown would be heaven for summer night parties.
Moving to the centre the white dress above shows a balance of conformation in the design and the ripple of the fabric is mesmerising as you see the wearer move. Again this is a beautiful outfit to wear perhaps to a party by the sea. Every curve is emphasised to perfection, subtly, and the eyes are drawn to the beauty of the figure. Hair and make-up completing each of the looks is sleek. Sexy glamour that doesn't look over complicated. A great recipe for sophistication.
Next to the right is a frankly stunning jacket and dress combination. Giving off a slightly rebellious air this look brings a teensy bit of fiestyness maybe to the event that you would wear it too. Late night parties can require a jacket and this one would, I think, work in combination with many other dresses in this suite of looks from the collection. Switching to a shorter length the look above to the right is a perfect excuse to get those pins out. Teamed with some very sexy boots this is a look that exemplifies the skills of the Atelier at Versace by showing both cut and applique embroidery expertise. I think the boots are a work of art in their own right to be truthful.
The red dress above has beautiful embroidery motif detail sitting perfectly aligned around the hips. With each mirrored step the model takes her style resonates. The embroidery work on the boots is a joy to behold and this is a strong look that many women will love to order and make part of their life. Switching to longer length again and playing with the seen and unseen, I found the next two looks very eye catching. With a slightly different mood these two pieces show the movements of the body in all it's beauty under the most delicate light embroidery and wrap skilfully around the figure.
The two sheer dresses furthest to the right above celebrate the figure and will turn heads where they are worn. They are going to make many women look and feel fantastic and I think that they will be two very popular looks from the collection. The metallic thread feature of the dresses adds to the lustre and and turns the glamour dial up to the top notch.
The model who walked in the look above to the left was probably my favourite of the whole show. I don't usually single people out as I meet models, know they work hard and are generally really nice girls. The look that she's wearing has a great feeling of Pop and Rock Rebel about it. There's a reminiscence of the 1980's puff ball skirt jazzed up and played with differing layers of fabric complimented with a bustier top. Multi textures and different embroidery weaves also appear in the next piece. Again this is an asymmetric look that weaves and wraps around the figure in the most beautiful way. There is so much beauty and artistry in the way that the figure is partially revealed.
The next beautiful white dress is one of my favourites of the collection. The design scrolls around the figure beautifully and this is an absolute Goddess dress. It's a genius design and embodies femininity so well it's exemplary. To the left the blue floor length gown sweeps along the catwalk. This dress makes me think of 21st Century mermaids, I think I'm dreaming of the Mediterranean in the summer time and beautiful Azure waters.
Below are three more beautiful pieces to close my look at Versace this season. They are intricate and to be admired, studied and hopefully ordered by women. The swirls and patterns of the fabric are seemingly moving or dancing over the skin of the wearer. I've left in some wide angle shots here on purpose to enable you to see the back-detail of many of the dresses that is just as equally stunning as the front. It's a Masterpiece collection and once again Donatella has taken us to a place where her imagination has satisfied our desires. Enjoy.
Valentino know how to delight us every season and for Spring Summer 2015 they continued their journey using a Russian heritage textile inspiration. As you know readers, I'm a passionate advocate of Haute Couture and each season I find a lot of inspiration in the designs of each collection that comes out. Each House takes a little time to settle into it's new style when the original founder moves on from designing the collection and I think in the new Era of Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri Valentino has established a strong new style that it's taking forward.
Jean Paul Gaultier launched a wonderful collection for Spring and Summer 2015. Always looking to challenge convention he opened his show with a piece that looked like confident Bridal wear. It's a beautiful piece playing on femininity and the rollers in the hair. It's a dressed up and dressed down Haute Couture statement simultaneously weaving many meanings. Next to it a beautiful wide leg trouser suit with silk pants and a tailored jacket give a classic option for people wanting to chose a look echoing the New Look of vintage Dior. The broad lapels are accented with beautiful floral motif's. Below centre is a simple black tunic dress and cream jacket again with broad lapels and deep pockets.
It's an easy wear comfortable piece, even though it is Haute Couture we're talking about and it's a look with very broad appeal. Next to the right is a beautiful asymmetric coat dress and full knee length skirt. I find this has the playful nature of Jean-Paul Gaultier written all over it and would be a lovely outfit to wear. Holding a little bouquet is Jean-Paul trying to hint to us that this is a bridal look? maybe. The models' beautiful hair falls softly over the shoulders and it's such a delicately sophisticated look. To the right below is stunningly elegant cream jacket and lace hot pants and blouse. It's a great look for Spring and Summer and the Coat could sneak on into future wardrobes of seasons to come.
The collection opened with a beautiful black dress with hints of Angel detail across the decollete of the wearer. It's quietly captivating and I love the movement captured in the flow of this gown as the wearer walked. It's essence is filled with a simple elegant creative harmony that draws the attention of the eye and makes you want to come closer. I noted also through the collection that the hair of the models was superbly swept up into fascinating braids echoing traditional Russian and European style. Next to the right the outfit in Scarlet Red combines traditional themes with a modern aesthetic perfectly. The Gillet jacket with embroidered textile sits beautifully over the sheer light dress. Embroidery a the cuff of the sleeves provides a link of continuity and makes for a clear visual design. Breathtakingly beautiful.
Next to the right the simplicity of a beautiful white blouse is married with a richly embroidered halter neck traditional short dress and skirt and light Ivory ankle boots. It's a fantastic look. Like many pieces in this collection your eyes can wander over it for quite some time and this for me is Haute Couture that is truly a work of art, just as high fashion is to many of us. The beauty of the textiles are stunning and I've enclosed details in close up below. I found that the contrasting textiles didn't make a clash; more rather they complimented each other beautifully. The dress above to the right is an all-in one look using the same textile through the design of the dress to great effect. It's so pretty and again a unique celebration of Russian and Eastern European traditional design communicated through Haute Couture. It's a wonderful piece to study and eat with your eyes.
I really enjoyed seeing the different incarnations that the cream coloured tailored jacket moved through during the collection. Below to the left is one of my favourite looks of the collection. This beautiful belted cream jacket that comes down over the waist is one that I would definitely wear matched with a floor length emerald green silk-satin skirt Mixing traditional elements of day-wear and evening wear together I really love this look and as a blonde like the model I know it would suit me and I also think it would look great on many of the viewers of the page.
Playing with asymmetry again the next look to the left re-works the Men's City suit into a stylish outfit that could be women's wear or even menswear. The open jacket reveals a waistcoat that to my eye makes a feature of design of the suit. Next moving towards the centre the tailored black jacket and skirt are complimented by a black hat and veil that gives a slightly playful sexy punk-gothic twist to the outfit. The veil that forms a trail also plays with an inversion of the idea of traditional bridal wear.
The next dress, pristine in white with neat pleats is one of my favourite looks of the collection. Again it's another versatile style that would suit many people. The pleats bring hints of the Ancient Greek and Roman traditional costume and the boxed bouquet of flowers gives overtones of a bridal outfit. Next to the right the two-part theme appears again in the outfit look and I start to think that this isn't an asymetric look rather a twin, or a dual nature expressed through an outfit. The black evening gloves and shoes set the outfit off with hair trailing down to give a slight rock-effect. To the far right the folded pleated fan cinched at the waist at the front of the dress provides a dramatic contrast to the simple black design underneath. It's a great evening wear look that many ladies would suit this season.
One of my favourite outfits that provides a great example of colour and style contrast within one look is the first look in the series below to the left. Once again taking the theme of a combination outfit this dress is a tale of two halves. A beautiful cocktail dress, this design captures both the best attributes of a figure hugging design as well as a full skirted look. I really like this combination of two very appealing ideas. The make-up worn by the model accents the eyes with a hint of gothic punk but on the whole the impression created by the outfit is one of simplified elegance with a daring bold twist.
Next to the right the trench coat is re-worked to incorporate dress detail by adding a partial skirt as an embellishment. Something that I loved in this show was Jean Paul use of models of all ages. There are great examples right through the collection of women returning to the catwalk as with the next look to the right. This all in one playsuit evokes a 1970's theme and the dramatic caftan wrap that cloaks the model is very beautiful. Flowing with elegance it gives the perfect emphasis to an Haute Couture look. Next to the right are two looks that play with the bridal theme in different ways. The first look uses the white jacket to give a modern twist to the outfit and the long white tulle skirt uses the layers of traditional petticoat of the bridal gown as a the main skirt feature part of the outfit. The look furthest to the right is a sheer bridal gown with crystal embellishment. It's a beautiful daring look and for many brides out there it will be just what they would hope for.
Below the green dress is a beautiful fresh piece that speaks of Spring colours. Cinching close to the figure and paneled in the upper part of the design this dress cinches in the waist with a belt and with avant guard latex gloves passing a passing compliment to the traditions of black and white tie dress. This is a great dress and as time goes by I fall more in love with Green as a colour and see more possibilities for it in fashion generally. Next to the right is a stunning black and white dress that has a wonderful weave design across the figure. I love the way that the white weave snakes down from the shoulders to the hip. It's a strong statement look that will be a well loved occasion wear piece.
Next to the right a golden dress clothes a girl who frankly looks Angelic. This a great fun outfit that descends in the skirt into both tassels in one half and long flowing organza in the other. Is this perhaps expressing a bit of duality in all of us? Who knows but this fashion Angel has wings. Below to the right one of the most striking examples of hybrid design comes from a re-working of the traditional ball gown. Fitted upper dress - check, flowing ball gown skirt check - and a new twist added detail at the waist from the classic denim jeans design. Leather gloves reaching past the elbow turn the look back to a conventional mood - well almost.
To close my look at Jean Paul Gaultier this season I wanted to show two looks from the later part of the collection that also give a feel of the show by showing the garments from the front and the back. The first look below to the left celebrates the woman's figure by putting a playful emphasis on the artistry of the corset as it cloaks the model's figure. I love the detail around the hips. The bronze-copper metallic colour of the piece plays beautifully with the models complexion and it would also suit a number of women. It's sleek, stunning and truly special. It could be evening wear or like a number of these pieces it would also make a great alternative to the traditional wedding dress.
Below to the right is another 'Tale of Two Halves' dress in beautiful champagne-ivory. Again this piece looks back to Jean Paul Gaultier's own tradition of corsetry design. In this look he extends the corset fastening detail across the whole of the dress to take it to the full length conclusion of the outfit. With half the dress composed of tulle and layered skirt in dramatic contrast to the figure hugging satin silk this is a stand-out Haute Couture piece and for me one of my favourites from the collection. I think it's perfect and would make beautiful music when worn on the figure of many women. The last shot below is of Jean Paul Gaultier and one of the models he's most well - known for working with over the years, Naomi Campbell. Naomi closed the show (note: the bride opened the collection and a Spring time Goddess closed it.) with Jean Paul on her arm. Naomi looked fantastic and Jean Paul is continuing his tradition of closing his shows with a model-friend on his arm who has known his House for a number of years. Friendship.
Above to the left this look uses a simple neutral colour theme that is very flattering to the wearer. It serves to bring out the design detail of the garment in more detail and again with a nod to the coolness of the early spring the sheepskin Gillet over dress theme works fantastically well. It's a light and delicate piece. Next to the left the floor length gown in Valentino Rossi makes a strong but demure statement, rich textiles combining with a cape. Valentino obviously found a myriad of inspiration from the Russian East which will no doubt appeal to a key part of the Haute Couture clientele's demographic. The look centre above is one of my favourite of the collection.
The simple red shift dress is very pretty and would look great on a large number of friends of the House. The ruffle around the next adds a variation to an otherwise crisp silhouette. I love the ankle boots too, very charming and neat chic. Next a sheer blouse is teamed with a below the knee skirt and a beautiful cape. Once again channeling traditional clothes from the past to create modern new pieces with a fresh feel. Above to the right this sheer champagne coloured dress is so light that it almost floats by itself and a close look at the fine embroidery work from the Valentino Atelier, at three places in particular, the neck, waist and hem, shows the beautiful artistry of the atelier. This is a wonderful light dress for Spring and Summer evenings around the world.
The traditional theme of the Dirndl-style European dress came into the collection with a beautiful light white semi sheer skirt sitting underneath a gently fitting upper bodice. This look has a wonderful movement as the wearer walks. The dress flows and moves around the wearer in a very charming homage to traditional country clothing from mainland Europe. It's a very pretty piece that I would certainly enjoy wearing and the ease that it seems to convey would make it popular with many clients. It's natural style compliments the woman's figure perfectly. Centre above the long gown in Valentino Rossi with matching cloak has a crushed velvet appearance that gives the look an extra dimension.
The two looks to the right make a feature of embroidery and applique detail. Both gowns have a semi-sheer element. The first, more so with beautiful light champange embroidery falling gently down over the figure. As this dress moved in front of the audience it had a fantastic light graceful movement and looked quite Angelic like many of the pieces of the collection. The next look to the right for me is a mermaid - like piece. The light gentle blue to me evokes summer seas and tides and the applique detail of the shift outer-layer of the dress flows and ripples across the figure as the model walks. It's very lovely and the dress would be a suitable partner for you to many events.
The full length look above in Valentino Rossi is another beautiful gown that has strong over tines of simplicity and Angelic countenance in the design. I do sense shades of the late medieval and renaissance in this piece as with many from the collection. Angel wings find their way into many places beating softly and delicately through the styles of the collection. The plunge neckline to just above the waist is so beautiful in it's simplicity. I feel that this look could belong to any time even thought there are hints of the renaissance, it has an eternal feel about it. Next in the centre a beautiful teal coloured dress continues the theme of simple under stated elegance. The open back is simply designed with the delicate nuances of the models figure perfectly hamonised with the light feather-shaped embroidery falling down the back of the dress from the shoulders to the waist and hips. It's a piece filled with quiet beauty and peaceful elegance.
To the right the embroidery in the golden-bronze dress to the far right is a key feature and the model is resplendent in her gown that shimmers like a jewel. The piece has natural sparkle and elegance and will make a boldly elegant statement about the wearer as she moves.
The dress above to the right is my dual favourite from the collection along with the midnight blue dress next to it. A romantic rhapsody on the theme of the Rose, this piece says many things to me. All at once it's simple and yet complex with the high art of the skills of the Valentino Atelier there in it's construction. The themes are simple, love and beauty with roses and flowers flowing down across the skirt of the dress. It's a piece that you make a deep sigh over.
Sitting next to it is my other joint favourite from this season. The midnight blue dress with gold stars and a brilliant sun burst (or perhaps golden firework) in beautiful applique is a pure Queen of the Night piece and it's one that I would be happy to look after. I think it's a great look for summer balls and occasions and would be a much-loved addition to an Haute Couture collection or wardrobe.
Next to the right this stunning look with rainbows of colours adds a slightly perhaps whimsical feel to the series of looks from the collection. This beautiful play with colour is another piece that will serve a client well for a mid summer ball and like the Blue 'Queen of the Night Dress' (my phrasing) and many others from this collection, it's one that may well will live on in the wardrobes of clients for many years should they so choose. To the left I've included as a last look a dress that could actually be a rather whimsical bridal piece. The diaphanous cloud shapes to me are an echo of the floaty nature of the dress. The gently shimmering applique across the bodice gives a nude appearance and emphasis the health and vitality of the wearer. It's a touch of fairytale for a special day.
Below I've included a number of close-up looks from the collection. This is pretty crucial to do justice to the true artistry of the Atelier and you can spend a long time gazing at the detail of the fabrics and textile. The workmanship and high art in these pieces speak for themselves and they are a joy to behold.
Below catwalk images credit to P. Sable.