Paris couture opens with Schiaparelli and Iris van Herpen
Paris haute couture kicked off with a brilliant series of shows on a sunny Monday in the French capital, with notably organic twists in collections by Schiaparelli and Iris van Herpen.
Schiaparelli: Elsa’s everlasting influence
Schiaparelli opened the Paris haute couture season on Monday with a playful evolution of the house’s codes and archives, staged inside the Decorative Arts Museum of the Louvre, where the house opened a major retrospective of the founder this evening.
Designer Daniel Roseberry began the runway action with a razor-sharp back velvet blazer finished with black grape embroidery inspired by Elsa Schiaparelli’s original archives, even if from behind there was a pretty and perverse champagne-hued corset.
Oodles of suggestive chic, with nipples, whether real or metallic, on display throughout. Exposed over the black crepe corsets, uber low-cut gowns or see-through Chantilly lace bras.
Though the heart of the matter were the accessories and embroidery, as the Schiaparelli atelier attached metal wheat sheathes; sculptural ears; pale green pearls as grapes or Surrealist crosses to power-shouldered tailoring.
From the opening look, you knew you were in a proper Paris couture show; the sheer flourish of the ensembles; the fantastic detailing; the hyper sophistication. Roseberry drapes with great flourish from bulb-shaped skirts in pale green satin to bouillonné hour glass dresses.
He did have the odd clanger – a baroque pearl cocktail from which black velvet pompons dangled dumbly like a drunken tarantula spider. But overall this was quite a triumph for Roseberry. In just a couple of years, Daniel has put Schiaparelli at the center of the couture conversation, with an instantly recognizable look and a chicly suggestive style.
“We wanted the rigor and starkness of the past season but with more joy, fun and femininity. Inspired by Elsa, at such a momentous moment of the house,” he explained post show, attended by Pixie Lott and Emma Watson.
And this show will only increase the attention on the brand, whose CEO and owner Diego Della Valle sat beaming in a front row that included Marisa Berenson, Jean Todt and missus Michelle Yeoh, Chiara Ferragni and Rossy de Palma.
Ending in over drive, as three dimensional hand-painted tulips and purple stone and metal flowers bloomed from strapless black velvet dresses and lilac satin corsets. Echoes of Christian Lacroix perhaps but with much more gusto and glamour.
All staged on an all-black catwalk to the a soundtrack of 90s movie themes – from Jurassic Park to Star Wars, adding to the sense of witty grandeur. His preferred hat was a wide brimmed boater on which was attached golden doves. White satin matelassé doves flew off shoulders; and two turtle doves paired in the final look.
“The dove of peace was a full circle moment, as we had the Gaga Dove of Peace. And it's a code and belief and message of the house. I also felt we needed more romance right now, and more tenderness,” explained Roseberry, referring to Lady Gaga’s inauguration gown.
“When I first began designing here I was really hesitant to echo Elsa’s work too much, as I did not want it to be too literal, or impersonate Elsa. But then the museum revealed all the archives and how her work gives such a layer of depth to what we do today. So many of the embroideries were references or imitations of what she was doing at the time,” smiled Daniel, who nonetheless revealed he has not the official biography of founder Elsa.
Iris van Herpen: Post-human couture
Metaverse couture at Iris van Herpen, though remarkably not the cartoonish imagery of the nascent virtual world, but a mellifluous and magical moment of poetic fashion.
Van Herpen has married technology and fashion before but rarely with such delicacy and finesse. It was vital that her inspiration were the Greek myths of Narcissus, Arachne and the love story of Apollo and Daphne.
The result was a meeting of Ovid’s poem Metamorphoses; advanced and unexpected technological materials and biomorphic shapes.
Iris achieved something of a first with a new couture material made out of coco bean husks, the fruit of a collab’ with a vegan ice cream project with Magnum.
But far more tellingly, was a stunning transience dress made in stain-glass worthy glass organza, swirling around a tiny central breastplate. Or a stupendous Arachne bodice dress of upscaled white poly-silk stitched into an explosion of loose threads that hung tantalizingly in front of the torso. A romantic Valkyrie look, with alternative leather bustiers, boasting a thousand strands of metallic lilac laser cut into straps.
At a time, when giant fashion brands have been throwing buckets of money into the metaverse and Roblox. The net result is generally cartoonish, inelegant avatars that have as much to do with real luxury as sybarite has to Mother Theresa. Hence, it was refreshing to witness the latest couture conceptions of Iris van Herpen. True fashion luxury, like great sex, can only truly be appreciated live.
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