Caroline McWilliams discusses her experience modelling for a portrait that has been featured in the prestigious Portrait of Britain competition book, and what the competition represents for Britain and for the individuals that live within it.Read More
Fashion comes in many forms. Clothes are just the most obvious. Music is a close second.Read More
Article 22 creates jewellery out of Laos’ undetonated bombs, upcyling and creating beauty out of something originally created for destruction.Read More
What does it mean to be a muse in the modern world?Read More
It is of the utmost importance to not simply put each look into one of three boxes: classic, vintage or glamour. Read More
Lakshmi Sreedhar reflects on her five days at the Paris Haute Couture Week, which kicked off on July 1st. Lakshmi desrcibes this as: 'a bewitching peak into the world where fashion meets fantasy for a week, the dates of which are determined by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.' The shows are held semi-annually and this year the Haute Couture Fall/ Winter Collection was held in Paris from July 1st to 5th, 2018. Here is everything you need to know about this highlight of the fashion calendar!
The first day saw RVDK Ronald Van Der Kemp, Adeline André, Aganovich, Christophe Josse, Azzaro Couture and show-stopper, Givenchy. After designing the wedding dress for Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, the Givenchy artistic director Clare Waight Keller presented the latest collection for her second couture show, since the beginning of her successful 16-month tenure at the French fashion house.
She is the only woman who managed to bring back the couture collection after the house had dismantled it in 2012. Addressing the remarkable legacy left by the founder of Givenchy, Hubert de Givenchy, she paid tribute to him. The unquestionable finale featured a dress similar to that worn by the character Holly Golightly, played by Givenchy’s muse Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. To set the Tiffany’s scene, Moon River was playing in the background.
The Givenchy show took place in the gardens behind the Archives Nationales with a metallic catwalk, chestnut trees and a hot night with unmasked glamour of the 50s and 60s. Interestingly, there was nothing even remotely similar to the dress worn by Markle on her wedding day to Prince Harry. Models dressed from head-to-toe in silk dresses with the custom- made Givenchy shoulders and robe styles.
Waight Keller wanted to showcase the symbiosis between Givenchy and Hepburn but recast it in a simple version. She was quoted saying, “I didn’t re-watch anything, I just wanted to absorb what I knew”. The most electrifying look was the use of metal which took the form of chokers, and moon crescent-shaped hair pieces. Some of the designs included white silk blanketed by regal purple velvet and feathers; a translucent gossamer coral anorak paired with a belted silver embroidered gown; tri-color gown — white, beige, black with the Xena the Warrior Princess look. The show notes mentioned Hubert de Givenchy’s “mythical oeuvre”, and the relationship between “noble fabrics” and “an untouched natural beauty”.
The second day saw the likes of Schiaparelli, Nourdeddine Amir, Iris Van Herpen, Georges Hobeika, Maison Rabih Kayrouz, Ralph&Russo, Antonio Grimaldi, Giambattisa Valli, Maurizio Galante and Christian Dior.
Staged at Paris’s Opéra Garnier, Schiaparelli’s runway collection had a mystical approach as the lines between the real and the empyrean were blurred, employing animal prints alongside animal-inspired masks, created by Stephen Jones.
In her collection for Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri pulled a page out of Elisabetta Orsini’s book, “Atelier: Places of Thought and Creation,” and commissioned a set of calm white floor-to-ceiling grid. Classical silhouettes, chiffon gowns and light satins. For some reason, Dior was a disappointment; in spite of the collection having scads of pretty dresses, there was not one piece showcased that was memorably breath-taking. There was an intentional dryness in the choice of fabrics like the matte duchesse, double-face, crepe and handwork of macramé, wood bead embroidery, ribbon embroidery.
As Ralph&Russo’s first big statement since the royal wedding, for which they were considered to design Markle’s dress, the collection did not hint even at a subtle bid to win her over for future black-tie occasions. Having dressed the Duchess at the announcement of her engagement, one would think that there would be some kind of link. Instead, their show had an 80s vibe as the runway saw uncanny inspiration from the from the life and closet of Parisian socialite and fashion designer, Jacqueline, Comtesse de Ribes. The bold move promoted the cause of feminism. The designs of the Australian duo ranged from studded red velvet gowns and scintillate cocktail dresses, to royal purple chiffon paired with mustard yellow or scarlet red double duchess draping.
The third day saw two shows each by Chanel, Alexis Mabille, Stéphane Rolland, Julien Fournié, Ulyana Sergeenko, Giorgio Armani Prive, Alexandre Vauthier and Xuan.
For the Chanel Fall haute couture show, Lagerfeld chose the magnificent Institut de France as the venue. The collection was a riveting mix of tweeds, faille pinafores and gauze fabric which conjured the soupçon of the beautiful structures in Paris clouded by the dusky skies, illuminated by the lights of the bateaux on the Seine. “High fashion is about Paris, huh?” queried Lagerfeld.
This season, the runway collection was truly “high profile” featuring long jackets with crystial-borfered zippers, long skirts that unzip to the thigh to reveal provocative miniskirts beneath. As several designers from this year’s show tried to portray an à la Duchess of Sussex style, Chanel’s collection was the epitome of uniqueness. “It is very Paris, it is very French,” Karl Lagerfeld said during a preview. “But you know, French couture is about promoting Paris. It is part of my job.” As WWD witnessed at a preview as Lagerfeld typically conducts previews during fittings, as one model awaited his approval, he mused, “Elle est très élégante, non?” Très élégante, oui.
Armani presented his show at the Italian embassy in Paris, fitting for this Milanese love affair. The runway featured models in pantsuits and evening gowns in black, paired with an interesting choice of jewellery like bright pink earrings. Black velvet, black silk, black satin- the classic Armani style spoke volumes through its elegance and simplicity. While the first fifty models were in some version of black, the next thirty wore fluorescent pink and turquoise with ostrich feather capes.
The fourth day featured exclusive shows by Maison Margiela, Franck Sorbier, Elie Saab, Galia Lahav, Jean Paul Gautlier, Viktor&Rolf, Zuhair Murad, Fendi Couture, Guo Pei and Valentino.
As said by Lebanese designer Elie Saab to CNBC in 2005, “In haute couture [there’s] no limit; we can dream, we can change. The world of haute couture is another world.” The Fall/ Winter haute couture collection was no exception as Saab’s silhouettes remained ethereal evidenced by the massive 80s rosettes spruced up by a blush-coloured high-low gown worn by Cindy Bruna.
Jean Paul Gautlier took the opportunity to pay homage to the celebrated historic Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘Le Smoking’, 10 years after the iconic fashion designer’s death. Smoking was the theme of this year’s couture collection, as a constant wisp was projected behind the male and female models, who walked the runway in an almost exclusively black-and-white collection that was an extension of couture to ready-to-wear.
Maison Valentino offered a parade of liberally extravagant and saturated shades, a how-does-one-even-do-that skill, that in closing the show received a standing ovation and brought a tear to the eye of Mr. Valentino. On behalf of the house, Pierpaolo Piccioli described the show as “Renaissance meets Versailles meets ’60s whatever”. The voluminous hair-dos like that of Priscilla Presley, Greek goddesses, 17th- and 18th-century painting, the controversial films of Pasolini and the photographs of Deborah Turbeville is the best way to describe the runway looks for Valentino’s Fall collection.
Day five saw the Haute Joaillerie collection by Anna Hu, Boucheron, Bvlgari, Chanel, Chaumet, Chopard, De Beers, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Giampiero Bodino, Buccellati and Mikimoto. Exquisite pieces of unaffordable sparkling and delicate jewellery including rings and necklaces were showcased.
My personal favourite this season is a tie between Givenchy and Zuhair Murad. I don’t think there is even one dress featured on the catwalk by either of the brands that I wouldn’t be ‘ready-to-wear’. It was also interesting to watch Cindy Crawford’s daughter, Kaia, make a statement with the stunning hair-do while walking for Maison Valentino.
Stay tuned for NYFW (Men’s)! Xx.
Lakshmi Sreedhar pays tribute to one of the world's most iconic singers, style setters and fashionistas: Michael Jackson.Read More
Outgoing Fashion Editor, Caroline McWilliams, writes of her love for fashion and looks back on her time as editor with us.Read More
Clearing out your wardrobe can be an intimidating process. We demonstrate how it can instead be a freeing experience.Read More
Here is the list of my favourite dresses worn by the A-listers.Read More
Met Gala themes of the past few years have often caused controversy, with subjects such as Orientalism being potential problems. We explain why instead of being controversial, this year's theme is part of history that should be shared by everyone.Read More
The fashion exhibition and live art show was designed in support of the charity, which works to alleviate poverty in MozambiqueRead More
I love Audrey Hepburn. I love Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I love Cat. But even more than Tiffany’s, I fell in love with Hepburn’s fashion sense.Read More
We all live incredibly busy lives and preparation is key when transitioning from work to meetings to social engagements all in one day.Read More
With music festival season upon us and Elaga right around the corner, Jody Brimacombe explores six unique festival looks to make you both stylish and comfortable as you party the night away.Read More
With 'wedding season' fast approaching we consider stepping out of the box and buying an outfit to last for years to come.Read More
Henrietta Easton spent time 'decluttering' her wardrobe ready for spring and shares her ideas and methods with us.Read More
This Eating Disorder Awareness Week, one of our writers shares her experience with anorexia in the world of modelling. More information on anorexia and other eating disorders, as well as expert help, can be found here https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/.Read More
We talk about fashion as a means of self-expression, but how often is this really the case?Read More
Henrietta Easton writes an ode to the style of Meghan Markle while highlighting the fashion debates that our future princess brings to light.Read More