The Best of Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2016

Monday, February 8


Haute Couture clothes is a difficult topic to discuss. On the one hand, there are people that see Haute Couture as a biannual a-little-less-than-a-week-long celebration of femme fleur with lace, ruffles and pastel colors all playing the leading roles. On the other, there are people that expect designers to think outside the box and present clothes that not just imitate art, but become art in a way. Finally, there are women that go to the shows to simply pick the garments they plan to wear in the upcoming season to a variety of soirées and private parties held in the most secluded and decadent places the world can offer. And don't forget the small but powerful army of Hollywood actresses and pop singers that will be sporting the gowns we see on the runways at the Golden Globes, SAG Award, Grammy and Academy Awards, etc.

Therefore each season the designers face a dilemma that simply doesn't seem to have a solution that would suit everyone. In my opinion, the world of Haute Couture - which many perceive as something old-fashioned and archaic, but which is yet something that provides jobs for a whole lot of skillful craftsmen in the ateliers - is something we should all treat with a little more respect and with a little less criticism. But then again, I study the history of costume, so I'm someone who has a soft spot for all things beautiful and exquisite, rather than someone who's looking forward to clothes being torn apart and presented as a piece of deconstructivism reflecting the chaotic era we live in.

This season, I particularly loved the sophistication of the eco theme of Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel show. To me, the collection with its not over-the-top complicated silhouettes looked extremely wearable - and the sharpness of the form was balanced out with the delicate embroideries and dainty creatures that substituted buttons and settled down across the tops.

Giambattista Valli was a bit déjà vu and a touch Viktor&Rolf Spring/Summer 2010, but then again, these are quite obvious observations to make and that doesn't mean the collection didn't turn out marvelous. According to the designer, it was an ode to Paris that's going through a rough time (as the whole world does), and it was very easy to sense that in the freshly cut hems of the A-line mini dresses and capes, as well as in the lavish evening gowns that reminded us how beautiful life is when spring comes.

Lebanese designer Elie Saab took us on a trip to India with his sari-like dresses and pantsuits in muted hues that sparkled just like the Eiffel Tower on a warm summer night. It's nice to see that season by season Saab moves into once unfamiliar territories of daywear - although the kind of daywear he creates is of course not suitable for running errands and grocery shopping. But hey, we all need to daydream from time to time!

It's fascinating to see how Valentino's Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli strengthen the new-found aesthetic of the brand time after time, making their clothes one of the most recognizable ones in the sumptuously dressed fashion crowd. The serpents that twisted and twined around the heads and waists of the models looked far from theatrical, and paired with the floor-sweeping dresses created the dreamlike vision that any woman in the audience certainly would love to be associated with.

As for Schiaparelli's Bertrand Guyon, it's quite interesting to see how he rethinks and incorporates various codes from the brand's legacy, although I'd love him to be a bit more daring and courageous with his ideas. A lobster here and there, some forks on a dress and a shrimp pinned to the bodice of a gown - that's all very sweet and very much right up my alley, but in the grand scheme of things it's a bit too obvious I would say.

Finally, Dior. I suppose I should start with the fact that I'm considering Raf Simons' work at the house as one of the possible topics for my future diploma - so you can probably tell just how much I liked everything he did for the brand, and therefore seeing him leave was kind of devastating for me, really. I sincerely wanted to like the collection created by Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux, but as much as I tried I just couldn't. To me, it was all over the place, with the asymmetry that looked out of balance, the unnecessary amount of details that seemed dated and with a bunch of cues from Prada and Louis Vuitton and even John Galliano when he was at the helm of the brand. I liked the lilies of the valley though and the outfit demonstrated by Binx Walton - looking forward to how the brand will evolve in the next few seasons.

Did you follow the Haute Couture week? What are your thoughts on the collections we saw in the end of January? What do you think of Viktor&Rolf - is it too much or is it exactly what you're looking for when it comes to couture shows?

Photos: Vogue

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