Paris: Haute Couture is Hotter than Ever
All good things come to an end. The Spring/Summer 2018 Haute Couture season is over and we've complied our favorite runway moments for you.
RVDK SS18 Haute Couture show in Paris. Picture by Regis Colin Berthelier.
Ronald van der Kemp's runway show and collection felt empowering, to say the least. There's simply nothing that you wouldn't want to wear, every day if possible, as the various upcycled (vintage fabrics, such as denim and silk were used) and upbeat numbers that Ronald van der Kemp sent on the runway felt so desirably eccentric that one would feel immediately sublime when wearing them. And not only did van der Kemp's quirky outfits feel empowering in terms of style – they were even empowering in terms of craftsmanship. Part of the embroideries and sewing was made in collaboration with Refugee Company, a Dutch NGO that works with Syrian and African refugees.
SCHIAPARELLI SS18 Haute Couture show in Paris. Picture by Regis Colin Berthelier.
Now this is Haute Couture! Elegance and regal grace served as a common denominator for Bertrand Guyon's take on the Spring/Summer 2018 Haute Couture season. And intercultural exploration was at the very heart of this collection: the blend of African and European cultures made for exquisite day- and evening-wear that played with a cosmopolitan femininity. The craftsmanship itself was exquisite: cobweb-like lace, 3D prints, hand-painted motifs, embroidered guipure and tufted chenille all made for beautiful surface treatments. Our favorite piece? The ethereal “Opium” jumpsuit in nude organza embroidered with blush and powder pink ostrich feathers – it's to die for!
VIKTOR & ROLF SS18 Haute Couture show in Paris. Picture by Gio Staiano.
This time around, the Dutch designer-duo Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren explored the theatricality of the archetypal Haute Couture défilé. All looks were dramatic, fierce, and crafted from satin duchesse in a lush color palette – a fabric that added a glamorous touch to the collection. This restricted choice of fabric made a statement: the less options you have as a designer, the more creative you need to be. “Limitations stimulate creativity,” the designer-duo noted. The result, sophisticated evening-wear numbers, were utterly desirable and accessorized with custom-made jewerly.
VALENTINO SS18 Haute Couture show in Paris. Picture by Regis Colin Berthelier.
Nobody does wearable couture like Pierpaolo Piccioli. The Italian designer knows that the Valentino woman wants to be different from the rest of the couture clients. Princess gowns and over-the-top embroideries are not for her; she would rather mix fantasy (in this case, in the shape of feathered headpieces displaying an eccentricity worthy of a Fellini film and flower-like taffeta gowns with a whiff of Cristóbal Balenciaga to them) and reality. True, reality is easier to cope with while wearing superbly-cut moiré palazzos or a double-face cashmere coat, but still, we can't help but marvel at the level of restraint, savoir-faire, and beauty that Pierpaolo Piccioli exhibits, season after season.
MAISON RABIH KAYROUZ SS18 Haute Couture show in Paris. Picture by Regis Colin Berthelier.
It was a funny feast for the eyes, to say the least! Funny in the positive sense: French journalist Sophie Fontanel walked down the runway in a cheeky interplay with French ballet dancer Marie-Agnès Gillot, while Rabih Kayrouz's models walked down the aisle of the American Cathedral in Paris. And what we love about Kayrouz's Haute Couture is that both his day- and evening-wear are made for real women and are actually wearable on a daily basis (at least for the clientele that can afford them). In fact, the designer's sophisticated numbers even had a street-flair to them, while still keeping a chic and opulent touch. We particularly loved the flannel jumpsuit and the coats that were nonchalantly worn over one shoulder.
MAISON MARGIELA SS18 'Artisanal' show in Paris. Courtesy of Maison Margiela.
Once again, John Galliano's outing for Maison Margiela's Artisanal collection came with a dystopian and highly explorative twist – hence the conceptual look of the models and heavily deconstructed tailoring, wrapping and styling of the garments, and shiny tech-textures of the fabrics. The show's soundtrack was a somewhat spiritual, dramatic, and dark music that underlined the very eclectic and primitive style of this Spring/Summer 2018 Artisanal collection. Also to be noted, the out-of-the-future hair and make-up and the reflecting fabrics used to make this impressive and daring Haute Couture offering even more desirable than it already is.