Wednesday’s show of the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2012-2013 in France went from the Renaissance-feel of Valentino’s shimmering blue silk capes to the 19th century, where couture’s enfant terrible Jean Paul Gaultier, paid homage to the black top-hatted dandy.
Elie Saab went decorative with imperial motifs of the Ottoman Empire. And, nearer to the present day, Givenchy reworked house founder Monsieur Hubert de Givenchy’s little black dress, made famous in the 1960s by Audrey Hepburn.
JEAN PAUL GAULTIER
Jean Paul Gaultier loves films. For proof, look no further than his dandyesque couture offering, which paid homage to the silver screen. The show took for its muse an unlikely matinee idol: singer Pete Doherty. The result was an androgynous and theatrical couture delight. Nineteenth century top hats accompanied high taffeta collars, deconstructed texture-rich satin crepe waistcoats and lots of black, broken up with explosions of colour and bright fox fur.
Hubert de Givenchy’s
column dress from the 1960s — made famous by actor Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s — was the muse behind the house’s couture presentation. At a private show in a lavish Parisian mansion, guests viewed 10 ornate and plunging creations in black and light beige. When Monsieur Hubert originally designed Hepburn’s 1960s dress, it was all about simplicity of form. Designer Riccardo Tisci gave the designs a gypsy-infusion, taking bohemian foulard print to inspired intricate reliefs of bonded leather.
Elie Saab wowed with uber stylish gowns and cocktail dresses. The collection included lace dresses in teal, pink, powder blue, olive, cream, grey, black and some with metallic detailing. A stunning bridal gown was presented at the end of the show.
Frank Sorbier reached for the high-tech future of haute couture in Paris with a visually-gorgeous retelling of a dark fairytale. Sorbier took as his cue the 17th-century French fairytale, Donkeyskin, about a widowed king set on marrying his own daughter, who escapes his clutches only by demanding a series of impossible gowns, the colour of the sky, moon or sun.
For his avant-gardist autumn-winter collection, Sorbier cut just two dresses, a low-cut white ball gown worn on stage by his princess, and the sculptural black dress and pointed headdress of sorceress. “It’s about how we can take haute couture into the future to ensure it survives,” Sorbier told backstage.
Valentino’s show highlighted minimalism and craftsmanship, while keeping its trademark alluring femininity alive. The collection featured round-necked dresses with pleated skirts, satin dresses, embroidered coats, brocaded trouser suits and capes over ruffled chiffon columns.