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Haute Couture Highlights: Paris Fashion Week AW18′

Maison Valentino

Pierpaolo Piccioli, offered a parade of such extravagantly saturated hues for Valentino, with swaggering proportions.  “Couture involves a deeper and more intimate perspective, to go further into your own vision of beauty.” States Piccioli. This season his vision involves a mash-up of Greek mythology, 17th- and 18th-century painting, the films of Pasolini and the photographs of Deborah Turbeville, medieval armour, and Ziggy Stardust. The collection looked magnificent, especially within the intense details, such as; capes appliquéd, embroidered, and quilted features. An evening dress composed of multiple brocades, rhinestones, sequins, pearls, and vivid textural embroideries is described by Piccioli as “Renaissance meets Versailles meets 60s.

Alexandre Vauthier

Alexandre Vauthier’s AW18 Haute Couture showcase, was staged within a private club-type setting, which the models strutted through wearing thickly belted tailleurs, slinky crystal-studded dresses, and pheasant-feathered frocks- matched with a super-sleek and seriously cool attitude. Think 80s femme fatale via Victor Victoria cabaret, the looks were polished and poised, however, the only the soundtrack was the latest Kanye West/Kid Cudi drop, adding to the notion of the mood and designs.

Chanel

“Haute Couture is Paris”. Very attached to the capital city, Karl Lagerfeld pays tribute to literary Paris, the one for book lovers and the Académie Française, for Chanel AW18. Opposite the dome of the Institut de France, a décor of the Seine quayside lined with the world-famous book sellers’ “boxes”. An invitation to stroll that’s willingly accepted by Chanel’s Parisiennes, who wear folded cuff booties and are mischievously coiffed with Rockabilly quiffs and ponytails.

Autumnal Paris inspires the season’s colour palette: the pale grey of zinc rooftops, anthracite of street asphalt, black and a deep nocturnal navy, gold and silver reflections of the Moon in the rippling Seine. The pale pink and mauve of sunrise, the white, ecru and beige of cloudy mornings, the almond green of the roofs of historic buildings, all reinforce the gentle panorama. In this sublimated Paris, crystal embroideries aligned like cobblestones, tulles netted and embroidered with gold recalling the padlocks on the Pont des Arts, sound like a declaration of love to a city of fashion and culture, to a rich historical heritage.

Dior

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s AW18 Haute Couture collection for Dior was entirely devoted to the precious dignity of such beautiful but quiet clothes, pieces sculpted and pleated and completely constructed.

The palette was made up of; blush, navy, rose, tea, and every interpretation of nude you could imagine- subtle chic colour choices at its finest. The choice of fabrics, such as; matte duchesse, double-face, and crepe entwined with delicate handwork of macramé, wood bead embroidery, as well as ribbon embroidery. These are serious clothes, Chiuri seemed to be saying, made by the finest hands are meant to be appreciated by women who are beyond the easy-glam of our times.

Elie Saab

This season, Elie Saab sought design inspiration from the luminescent, whimsically irregular, and rigorously aspirational masterworks of Gaudí. This added a chic verticality to the embroideries, whether on a halter-neck ball gown or on an ornate, matador-esque tuxedo jacket. The ensembles nods to rock ’n’ roll and royalty and could cut a swath in either world, whereas the evening dresses, mostly in rich gem tones, in emerald, amethyst, garnet, but also in a grey-and-white Gaudí-like shadow print, for which sculptural ruffles take the place of any other form of ornamentation.

The best of these are in silk chiffon-flattering, fluttery, unapologetically feminine.

Givenchy

Hubert de Givenchy was one of the first celebrity designers. His affiliation with Audrey Hepburn, whom he famously dressed for her role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, made his name and hers. However, Clare Waight Keller, who inherited the house of Givenchy last year after a long line of male interpreters, such as; John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, and Tisci- is undoubtedly the biggest celebrity designer of 2018. For Givenchy’s AW18 Haute Couture collection, she paid homage to the Monsieur Hubert de Givenchy with a sleek, subtle and seriously stylish collection.

Ralph & Russo

Presenting a collection inspired by the art de vivre of icon and femme du monde, Jacqueline de Ribes, Ralph & Russo’s Autumn Winter 2018/2019 couture collection encapsulates the zeitgeist of the eighties, and the golden age of couture, through the frame of the renowned Comtesse.

‘Clothes like good architecture have to respond to a rhythm of life. You can’t be elegant without being graceful and you can’t be graceful if you’re not at ease’- Jacqueline de Ribes. Channelling splendour, frivolity and the palette of the era, this season utilises an array of rich tones in the form of colour blocking; from bejewelled red liquid velvet column gowns and bronze faille moiré cocktail dresses, to royal purple chiffon paired with mustard yellow or scarlet red double duchess draping.

Zuhair Murad

Although latter-day czarinas may be partial to head jewels, Zuhair Murad’s AW Haute Couture collection inspired by a night in imperial St. Petersburg, didn’t really need them. There was plenty of intricate jewel-like detailing going on in the designs, some of it so elaborate the dresses rasped the floor.

And yet, for such a profusion of opulence, it definitely looked womanlier, rather than girly. Yet his signature exquisite embellished rich fabrics, such as; velvet, duchesse satin, and chiffon in harmonious palettes of wine, grey, sapphire and khaki, were dripping in with arabesque and floral embroidery details.