by Lucinda Jenkins
There’s nothing (and never will be!) anything quite like couture. Lucinda Jenkins rounds up our 5 favourite designers of the Spring season.
STEP INTO THE SURREAL
The Dior spirit of surrealism led the way this year, taking our imaginations to new levels. Gowns glided along the catwalk bending minds with continuous optical illusions. Maria Grazia Chiuri took work and inspiration from Andre Breton, the founder of the Surrealism movement, and Leonor Fini, a woman whose work Monsieur Dior first exhibited in Paris. Fini’s. Masculine pieces, including jackets and coats that were held up like a game or a puzzle, the tie and the embroidered shirt were and continue to be “a part of the heritage of this fashion house,” Maria Grazia stated. The most important piece in the collection was a basket dress from 1957, originally a cage, that Mr Dior designed. The cage, another surrealist element, was for making corsets, structuring and producing clothes themselves,“After all” Chiuri said, “surrealism deals with the body and body parts”. Models were inked with writing wearing bold masks accentuating Peter Philips’ magnetic make up. “The mask wasn’t used for hiding but for revealing oneself”.
Images Christian Dior
RALPH & RUSSO
ROUND THE WORLD AND BACK
Diversely daring was Ralph and Russo’s Couture Collection. After their Asian trip, the influence of the East was almost palpable. Focusing on the multifaceted nature of all women Creative Director, Tamara Ralph was keen to make a statement which reflected power and presence. “There’s so much diversity these days that it’s important we always keep in mind the modern woman,” Ralph said, adding, “It’s the diversity of showcasing every woman”. There was indeed something for every woman, from beautiful flowing gowns to tightly fitted pieces, embellished in metallic crystals and ostrich feathers to edged layers of decorative tassels. Each dress snatched the light at every angle whilst gliding down the catwalk. Having dressed Beyonce, Angelina Jolie and most notably Prince Harry’s Bride-To-Be, Meghan Markle, Ralph and Russo flaunt their talents for being classic yet way ahead in the ever changing game of couture fashion.
Images Ralph & Russo
V FOR VIVACIOUS
What is tradition but a blend of the past, present and future? Inspiration for new ideas come from the old and when merged together allows time to stop for contemplation of all that was, is and will be magical. “The future of couture arises in its past” said Pierpaolo Piccioli, “Emotions and dreams and something special and unique”. For Piccioli, he wanted to capture that dream. It was all about nobility and unwritten laws this year, just moments before the show, he named each look after the hands that made it’s work, honouring the people of couture. A continual contrast of past and future were reflected in the color scheme: lilac and deep purple, mustard and gold, coral and red balanced with pastels and neutrals. Tailored looks were met with flowing capes and grand bows at the waist and neckline. Exuberant ruffles, feathers and headpieces gave a modern twist in keeping with the elegance of all that is the genre of Haute.
Here we are gently yet powerfully inspired by a Native American influence. Ancient tribes like the Sioux, also known as Dakota, the Navajos and the Iroquois were inspirationally meticulous in their beadwork and designs. Most clothes that women wore were covered in signs and symbols that reflected their tribal identity and family values celebrating acts of valor. Murad celebrated these traditional patterns and geometric designs and luxuriously embellished them with crystals, cap-sleeves, fringes and dazzling trains that never stopped sparkling down the catwalk. Feathers were interwoven into braids continuing to pay homage to the ancient craftsmanship. The house was filled with colors that respectfully symbolized purity, peace, fire, the sun, a dark night and the ground we walk on. Native American women are “very strong, very powerful, very confident,” he explained, which was nothing short of what his collection represented. A collection that gracefully and exquisitely held space for a spiritual reincarnation of ancient traditions.
Images Zuhair Murad
Fairy-tale figures floated down a white carpet in lace, floral and thigh high embroidered boots at Celia Kritharioti’s spring summer couture collection. Inspired by the myth of Eros and the soul, she created her collection in the Neighbourhood of the Gods, Athens. Eros, son of Aphrodite, was asked by his mother to obstruct anyone from falling in love with Psyche, a woman gifted with extraordinary beauty and grace. Naturally, Eros and Psyche fell madly in love and Zeus granted her immortality so their love could last forever. They now reside in the Neighbourhood of the Gods where this feminine empowered collection came to life. Figure hugging cocktail dresses that accentuate the female body were adorned with semi-precious stones. A mixture of pink and blue pastels reflected a nymph-like quality to the collection. One might say the collection had the hands of the Gods behind it, a place where Greek Mythology meets the art of couture.