At the Paris Haute Couture week designer Giorgio Armani’s show titled ‘Hommage au Japon’ (Homage to Japan), took place in near darkness in a space beneath the Palais de Chaillot in central Paris. The Japanese feel dominated all the looks — trouser suits were finished off with obi belts, Japanese floral fabric was visible in pocket inserts. Stiff geisha-like panels protruded from under patent leather bodices, while stiffened technical fabrics were printed and based on traditional silk kimonos.
Hats, which often feature heavily on an Armani catwalk, were prominent. At the Jean-Paul Gaultier show, models were turned into movie stars in a theatrical display. Gaultier sent out every model in cinematic style with a shifting musical score, atmospheric touches, and plenty of Hollywood glamour. Except for a black evening dress that drew a pealing applause, the show was vintage Gaultier. For next season’s haute couture collection, Valentino, the brand favoured by Hollywood actors and European monarchs, unveiled a collection inspired by the tsarinas of Moscovia and the empire’s Boyar guards, mixing fairy tale style with military details that drew the awe of fashion critics and celebrities.
“Each of the looks are so delicate and yet look like an armour,” American actor Anne Hathaway said after the show. “When I was a little girl, I dreamed of dresses like this. This is one of my favourite collections, the best one I have ever seen.” Striking pieces included embroidered long black velvet dresses, straight gilded tunics and short cocktail dresses with round-shaped closed collars as well as see-through long dresses ornamented with silk roses, bronze lace or feathers.
Designer Giorgio Armani’s homage to Japan through the haute couture was applauded for it’s thematic choice and fashion edge. All garments reflected a Japanese feel highlighted by kimono coats or obi belts.
America actor Anne Hathaway, who attended the Valentino show, said it was her favourite show. She added that the show brought to life the dresses she dreamt of as a little girl.