As a couture enthusiast, luxe and opulent collections don’t cut it for me anymore—it’s a real winner when the designer makes me think about his presentation long after it is over. During this season of Paris Haute Couture Week, multiple design houses have challenged the notion of traditional couture by showcasing collections that weren’t created for the faint-hearted. Defying gravity, breaking the anatomy of a silhouette and using materials that are often found in a hardware store to innovate with couture—fashion’s finest are no longer satisfied with just parading ballroom gowns dripped in sequins and stones.
Right off the bat, Schiaparelli, Rahul Mishra and Iris Van Herpen set the tone of the fashion week by exhibiting collections that were engineered rather than designed. Daniel Roseberry’s ‘Born Again’ reminded people that it is okay for fashion to just be beautiful without making a bold statement about world affairs. His signature surrealistic approach combined with an inspiration found in Christian Lacroix’s 1987 debut collection, (who has previously designed a special collection for Schiaparelli in 2013) resulted in a line that paid homage to the ’80s with its puffy silhouettes, matador hats and bejewelled bustiers with 3D flowers quite literally (spring)ing out of it.
As for Mishra, he incorporated his influence of the ‘The Tree Of Life’ in every conceivable way. Whether it was etching the inspiration as embroidering connecting the skirt and the blouse highlighting its roots and the barks or mounting it on the shoulders in an artistic way. Iris Van Herpen, who is celebrating 15 years of her eponymous label delved into the future by looking into the past. Each of her 16 couture pieces were inspired by 8th-century poems, but the construction involved 3D printed panels and fabrics that were made out of upcycled banana leaf blended with raw silk.
The idea that couture can be futuristic, all while paying tribute to the past is fascinating—each presentation represented a story and a moment in time that these clothes have now captured and made immortal. While it is difficult to pick the pièce de résistance of the season, here are some of our favourite moments from PHCW 2022.
Subtracting the fabric in the bodice and replacing it with bold gold bijoux cascading from the chandelier earring is of the many looks that impressed us this season.
2. Jean Paul Gaultier
Olivier Rousteing took the reigns of Jean Paul Gaultier this season and through his collection, he showed his adulation for unique craftsmanship. In this particular ensemble, a formal jacket is deconstructed into a cocktail gown with power pleated sleeves pushed away from the body.
3. Maison Margiela
Inspired by a stage production of Dracula, John Galliano decided to marry the two mediums of art—fashion and theatre. This larger-than-life scarlet dress with a big black bow is the perfect testament to Galliano’s unprecedented dressmaking skill and his ability to enhance it with drama.
4. Viktor & Rolf
Taken from the idea of masculinity that doesn’t fit, Viktor & Rolf’s exaggerated couture this season comes with a poignant point. The lavender pantsuit comprising an oversized jacket paired with well-tailored trousers and a buttoned-up shirt hits all the right notes.
Taking a cue from almost futuristic neoprene looks, Demna’s idea of couture this time revolved around a dystopian invasion. This particular look with an almost geometrical shaping struck out instead of the voluminous gown because of its sculpted, for-flattering yet edgy construction.
6. Elie Saab
Elie Saab’s line is a poetic rendition of the sunset hues he was trying to capture in it. Signature surface ornamentation that Saab is known for continued across attires, except now there is experimentation with the construction which is being fuelled into the brand’s identity.
7. Ronald van der Kemp
The USP of Dutch designer Ronald van der Kemp’s collection is that each piece is crafted out of upcycled headstock fabrics. This floral number from his detail-oriented line of couture looks like a Monet painting but with a kaleidoscope of colours and intricate textures.
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