At the opening day of the first ever digital Paris Haute Couture Week in June this year, Naomi Campbell addressed the audience with the powerful speech: (...) “This is a call for action that we are making as we hope that this is the conversation that is starting now and will last as long as it is needed. It is up to us, it is up to you to start enforcing inclusion of the multitude identities that compose our countries.” (...) Across history, moments of reset, or restart, invariably put human values at the center. Humanism is the seed of rebirth. Fashion is a reflection of the present times and it brings the inspiration for the better future. Couture is an invite to dream with open eyes. As Nelson Mandela said: “Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.”
Focusing on fashion as the profoundly human activity of giving form to matter through the hands, shaping creations that the body inhabits and brings to life, Pierpaolo Piccioli conceives a new start in the space of fifteen silhouettes. He focuses on the human and lets it dialogue with the digital to create a new dream, at once material and immaterial. A dream of pure fashion in which the painstaking work of the Ateliers is handed over to artist Nick Knight to bloom and flourish in light. White, the sum of all colors, captures the blank slate of this new beginning, the sense of infinite possibilities. White as a sheet of paper waiting for it to be filled with lines and ideas. White as the toile, a symbol of the workmanship and dedication, the first step in the construction process. A possibility.
Authenticity, savoir-faire, and an avant-garde spirit. “Life today is lived according to opposites; the pandemic has inverted everything we knew. Now, instead of a team to execute this collection, I just have my own imagination. Instead of the Place Vendôme in Paris, it’s been designed and sketched on a park bench. Everything has changed, but imagination, and the drive to create, has never been more relevant, or more profound. This collection is a tribute to that impulse to create. It’s also why the world of Schiaparelli has never felt more reflective of our time. Elsa’s commitment to the surreal, her fascination with inverting our everyday reality, has never been more timely. This collection is full of tributes to her work and her obsessions, done in my way, on new terms. Imagination and dreams can be profound, but they are even more so when they guide us into action. Without putting our dreams into practice, these abstractions would be denied their ultimate power.” - Daniel Roseberry, Creative Director at Maison Schiaparelli.
Elegance, sensuality, respect and love for the female form. The vision of an attitude, a call for optimism, an invitation to smile. “I wanted to dedicate this collection to the joy that is part and parcel of my profession, to the pleasure of creating, to the desire to showcase the knowhow of the hands in my atelier. “Attitude” embodies this spirit. Colors form a palette, each connected with a mood, with a sensation. Contrasts are free and happy, hues intense and vibrant. I let my pencil dance on paper, sketching silhouettes — pure without being minimal — that follow the body in its movement, enhancing it and highlighting materials through the needle’s artistry. Jersey kisses curves, fluid chiffon velvet drapes on them, crepe suggests them. Nods to the masculine play with delicate details of laces, embroideries, jewels, and furs.” - said Alexis Mabille
Garments are a form of language. They tell the story of time, the story of your whole being.
This Winter 2021 collection is shaped like a cocoon: protecting and wrapping.
Within the purity of round and sensual constructions are found some wise cuts, ovoid and kinetic. Opulence is born from simplicity - golden caviar spills on a cape dress made of gazar and pleated crepe. From a window in smoked polyurethane appears a swarm of topaz and quartz. On the top of an arm wrapped in black chiffon appears a tiara of emerald blown glass, specially developed by Parisian master glass makers.
Thus begins the next winter. Beautiful, strong and radiant. A mirror of a strong personality, a body free to move as widely as wanted. A woman as a Queen.
Alexandre Vauthier has a unique way of transforming Haute Couture from remarkable events to pieces that, even extremely precious and elegant, combine with everyday life, and this time it was no different. Although he created his collection in the midst of dreams of a better future - and, it seems, quite electrifying - photos in a house in the Hamptons or in an alleyway in Paris make us want to dance with his extravagant, eighteenthcentury looks in the living room, without fear of showing our true selves. 24 looks showed Vauthier's pure talent, never leaving aside his typical aesthetic - this one that has accompanied him since his time as a young apprentice to Thierry Mugler and soon after, as director to Jean-Paul Gaultier. The photos clicked halfway in Paris by Karim Sadli and in the Hamptons by the lenses of the duo Inez and Vinoodh, perfectly translate what Vauthier wants to show us: optimism and hope that a better future will come.
The new story is devoted to the timeless and unique Couture pieces and the people who are standing behind each piece. The new season is created in the retro mood of the 40s. Intuitively, from the very beginning, the fashion house of Ulyana Sergeenko has been creating a look for a woman regardless of time. The heroine of Ulyana easily changes her mood, scenery, and cities, sometimes even times and entire eras, but from the very first day she remains true to herself. She does not adapt to momentary trends, appreciates the sincerity of history, the purity of the idea. She seeks and finds them in the things that she surrounds herself. Her wardrobe consists of dresses that fit every occasion, tailored jackets, and two-piece suits. Their complexity lies in the high quality of the fabrics and impeccable tailoring. Attention to details and to decorative embroidery is of paramount importance. One of the main stylistic approaches of the new collection is lacemaking techniques - from decorative ornaments made with Krestetskaya Stitch and Vologda laces to creating an entire piece by mixing these techniques.
This collection features one of the major characters of the Commedia dell’Arte: Il Medico. In fact, at the time of the black plague, the city of Venice paid doctors to treat the rich and the poor. As seen in the video directed by Amaury Voslion, the Statue of Liberty appears tied up, wrapped, gagged, a whole Symbol …. as for the plague aka COVID 19, it is embodied by Ophélia Kolb and Il Medico, by Alexandre Risso, aka the medical profession, to whom we can only pay tribute. This season is more than ever part of “the Master of Art spirit”.
Franck Sorbier transposed this story into a Victorian era to bring it to the present day. The collection is a resurrection of the 70s fashion. Paisley and old lace, warm colors. Epochs and geographies are jostling, clothes asserting their identity without complex. It’s playful, warlike, elegant, funny, charming and nostalgic.
A Haute Couture piece is the ultimate luxury level, both in terms of design and craftsmanship quality. The Haute Couture designation is often used in illegitimate ways nowadays. Julien Fournié explains the real nature of Haute Couture, his understanding of the Haute Couture label and how he translates it in every piece he makes. For this particular season, when there was no actual Haute Couture runway show, Julien Fournié has chosen to invite us inside his house’s core values. Exclusivity, authenticity, creative freedom, innovative techniques paired to traditional craftsmanship, create together the Haute Couture eco-system. Julien Fournié NEVER repeats the same design for two customers. Not even when a customer orders a look from a particular collection. Not even if customers based on different continents ask for the same design. Once you buy it, you are the only person in the world to own it. Find Your Legend.
To unveil Olivier Theyskens’ first creations for Azzaro Couture during the Haute Couture Digital Week, the House has given carte blanche to musician Sylvie Kreusch and director Lukas Dhont. In sync with the rhythm of drums, the portrait of a woman with an incandescent craving, marked by the absence of the one she desires, turns into a feverish hallucination. Throughout the sequences of the film, the silhouettes created by Olivier Theyskens are revealed. The designer reinterprets the iconic three-ring motif of the House with embroidered crystals featured on a long slender silver lurex velour dress that is fluidly draped. Inspired by the heritage of Loris Azzaro, Olivier Theyskens embraces the Couture savoirfaire of the House. In a free interpretation, the designer seeks through the apparent simplicity of the cuts, dear to the founder of the House, to give women freedom of movement, glamour and sophistication.
"In the Autumn of 2019 Erik Madigan Heck appeared at our studio in Paris ‘ready to play’. He just wanted an uninterrupted day on his own in our studio. A fan of stopmotion animation there was loose objective to make a film with the material.The film never happened and very soon the world had turned upside down. When the FHCM announced we would be going digital for our our first post-Covid outing we naturally thought of our longtime friend and collaborator and the unfinished work. After 3 months of intense emotions and self-questioning Le Grand Cirque is both an ode to his heroes and a nod to our inspirations while giving us a much needed kick back into the medium we love.” - Aganovich
MAISON MARGIELA ARTISANAL BY JOHN GALLIANO
Hope, heroism, hedonism. Constrained at the mercy of nature, resourcefulness becomes a force of vigor. For the AutumnWinter 2020 Artisanal collection, Maison Margiela empowers our collective moment of resurgence by reinforcing its own ethics. Creative director John Galliano detects in times of uncertainty a desire for transparency: a new consciousness clarified by the illumination of the creative process and the human values it represents. Through the voyeuristic format of film, imagemaker Nick Knight captures the euphoria and melancholia of the genderless artisanal practice. It unravels through the grammar of the thriller in a narrative story under the acronymic title of S.W.A.L.K.
A celestial and voyeuristic portrayal of the creative practice, the film reflects ideals of transparency, connectivity and inclusion key to our collective present experience.
Maison Margiela pieces labelled Recicla signify recycled items handpicked from vintage stores by creative director John Galliano, upcycled into new manifestations. Invoking the technique of anonymity of the lining – the revelation of a garment’s construction through cutting – Recicla outerwear from the classic men’s wardrobe is transformed through heroic cutting, drawing on the intense movements of L’Apache dance.
IRIS VAN HERPEN
In a short film directed by Ryan McDaniels and starring “Game of Thrones” actress Carice von Houten, Iris Van Herpen went digital to present the latest collection of Haute Couture Fall/ Winter 2020/2021. Entitled “Transmotion,” the work is a surrealist representation of the designer's ethereal thoughts.
The Dutch designer - known for fusing technology with traditional Haute Couture handicrafts, instigates us to think about the rebirth, the evolution and the necessary transformation, imposed during the pandemic period. Inspired by the atmosphere of Maurits Cornelis Escher - Dutch graphic artist known for his woodcuts, lithographs and halftones - the dress shows the tree of life in an hourglass, on which there is a trace of black ink in delicate and light folds of white organza. Vibrissae appear in the center, which refer to robotic extensions of the head, intended to capture movements and the environment. The geometric tangle resembles the inclination of humanity in its attempt to domesticate nature. Without a doubt, the symmetrical dress is the absolute protagonist who dances lightly between dreams and reality. A search for contact with nature and respect for all its creatures, from the most delicate and sensitive to the strongest and most independent.
Art is the most interesting form of human expression. A couture dress can thus become a message, expressing inner beauty to the world. “Dance as an Art form has always been present in my life and has certainly influenced my creations. All our dresses are conceived by following the movement of the fabric when draped around the body. And the dress finally comes alive when a woman wears it.” Beauty and femininity have inspired Sofia Crociani’s entire collection: “When conceiving the dresses, I was driven by the rhythm of a silent movie, but also inspired by the beauty of Francesca Bertini and Theda Bara, Man Ray portraits, and nymphs from Greek and Roman mythology.The female essence of Echo, Egeria, Eurydice, and the powerful beauty of the Sistine Chapel are evoked in “Angelness”, the art performance film directed by Jacopo Godani. We believe that femininity is not related to human gender. The physiological aspect of being born male or female has nothing to do with femininity. What drives us to continue and present this new project is the hope that humanity will change one day and will act responsibly and live sustainably, to slow down consumeristic lifestyle and preserve the world. Inspiration comes from motion and emotion.”
Painters, sculptors, writers, intellectuals and, lately, also designers. They are the protagonists of that famous “Roman School” which over the years has nourished and raised generations of artists in the way of beauty expressed in multiple forms; a painting, a book, a unique work, perhaps even in fabric. Antonio Grimaldi is one of them. The Salerno born couturier, raised in Rome and since 2017 an invited member of the official calendar of Haute Couture Parisienne, developed his talent exactly under that Roman sky, in the way of the beautiful and well-made, of history and of the future, of stylistic avant-garde and with respect for the most rigorous sartorial traditions made great by Italian High Fashion and that is well evidenced by his work. In the course of the years, his creations have traveled the world, from Asia to the Middle East, and conquered the hearts of international princesses, actresses and artists. From season to season, Grimaldi’s collections arouse wonder and memories, the embroideries; classic and very modern, the grace of feathers, the strength of metal and iron, rekindle memory and a moment later they project you into the future.
Edition N.2 is an edit of timeless silhouettes. “For Edition N.2, I wanted to create a film that was a meaningful expression of life. Featuring Aissa and Aida, who are twin sisters, allowed me to convey their sisterhood and the wonders of sisterly love, a universal concept but also one that is so dear to me. Human interaction, especially through physical touch, has become so precious. This has brought me even closer to fabrics, how materials feel when in contact with the body, which is the essence of my work. ...tenderness, lightness, but also real depth through feelings. This collection is made of wardrobe essentials, by way of the classic Parisian approach to style. It is also an example of the type of fashion that I offer.” - Bouchra Jarrar
Entitled “A Promise,” Maurizio Galante’s haute couture collection pays tribute to those precious moments of anticipation that precede a special encounter or event. Moments during which everything seems possible, with unlimited potential, when we envision with delight what is about to unfold. These magical moments of preparation are characterized with particular quality; time passes slowly, leisurely, yet feels very brief. Iconic model Amalia Viairelli, a timeless yet contemporary woman, enlivens this collection with gesture and pause. A series of outfits comes to life, conveying the pleasure and delicacy of such precious instants. As in a poem by Marina Tsvétaïeva, in which emotions are strung one by one, like pearls of a fantastic necklace, the garments appear one after another. Silhouettes created by emotions and memories; a nostalgic ode to bygone shapes. Reminiscent of flowing architecture, constructed with soft and delicate materials, Maurizio Galante 2020 collection tells of lightness, elegance, and inner strength.
Guo Pei Autumn/Winter 2020 collection named “Savannah” transports one from urban life to the primitive and vast fields of Savannah, embracing the essence of life in its primal and true form. It is inspired by the mystical African grasslands. Here, the original landscapes of Earth are preserved. Nature’s law of survival, migration and procreation remain untainted. The designer draws upon this invigorating life force, composing a concerto to nature’s rhythm, celebrating the tenacity of life.
The fabric, Piñatex features prominently in this collection. Combining rich natural resources and traditional Filipino weaving techniques, Piñatex fabrics are made from plant fibers of pineapple leaves. The designer chose the fusion of this naturally sourced material put together by manual craft to once again, explore sustainable fashion. Elephant grey and white, neutrals, serve as supports for the two colors that symbolize the veins of life - the passionate red and the dreamy blue. Evocation of our life, sometimes calm, sometimes exhilarating, in a dimension between dream and reality.
MAISON RABIH KAYROUZ
Between Beirut and Paris - this is the story of a dress. What if Beirut and Paris were hanging by a thread, a drawing, a movement, a line, a grain? On the melody of Mounir Mrad and precious, crystalline voice of Shadia, “320/38” tells the story of the possibility of a dress. In Beirut the dress is dreamt, imagined, conceived, sketched, drawn. In Paris, it takes shape, comes to life, gets woven. Alive, playful, orange-red. In Beirut, the “sublime petites mains,” caressed by the morning light, weave an imaginary gros grain, like a thin thread which materialize in a studio flooded with the light of a Parisian afternoon. In Beirut, this sample. In Paris, this creation. Color bursts out
The collection named “Butterfly People” attempts to answers a question — ‘what is the relevance of couture in such times?’ The core idea behind the luxury Rahul Mishra is trying to cultivate is pushing for sustainable employment of the craft community. Indeed, there is an unperturbed expression of art through his motifs, but every stitch, every knot is strongly related to the present and future of an artisan, especially hit by the pandemic— the greatest leveler, that did not see race, religion or social hierarchy, brought with itself a sea of change.
"This period of pause let nature be without much human intervention. Skies in Delhi have been the clearest shade of blue and the air cleaner than ever. Migratory birds have miraculously appeared along with long-forgotten water bodies and the cityscape has been kissed by nature’s revival. This took me back to the corals in the Maldives. Was there the slightest chance of the lost colors re-emerging in brighter hues? How do the ocean beds look now? Are they replete with newfound psychedelia? The lotus pond paints a very different picture today, with swarms of dragonflies perched on floating leaves and the atelier feels nothing short of a garden – hosting, cultivating, and celebrating the craftsmanship of the butterfly people." - Rahul Mishra
VIKTOR & ROLF
“Change” is the title of the Haute Couture Fall Winter 2020-21 collection presented by Viktor & Rolf with a traditional, but in digital form, narrated by Mika. Change represents the fulcrum of the historical moment we are living, which is why Viktor & Rolf has composed three wardrobes for three different points of view. Each of the three has a specific outfit: a négligé, a bathrobe and a coat.
The first wardrobe represents a gloomy mood. It opens with a midnight blue silk robe, with applications in the shape of clouds full of rain.
In the second wardrobe we find the contrasting emotions that each of us is experiencing these days. The whole wardrobe is in shades of pink. The négligé is embroidered with emoji representing different moods. Following is a pink candy pink dressing gown with large volumes, decorated with large bows on the sleeve. To complete the wardrobe, a pink coat, with the right sleeve with exaggerated volume, taped with cylindrical glitter applications.
The third group of dresses brings love within the collection: sadness and frustration are swept away by three romantic looks, sprinkled with hearts. The white silk gown with red and black embroidered appliqués brings a wave of serenity. The quilted fabric dressing gown, on the other hand, totally envelops the body, giving a feeling of security. The final look of the entire show is a blaze of love: a white coat surrounded by sparkling hearts. Viktor & Rolf's final message is that we all deserve to be loved, regardless of age, color, gender, race, religion or sexuality
RALPH & RUSSO
Reflecting on the far-reaching beauty of our natural world and the digitally charged future, Creative Director Tamara Ralph presented a collection infused with wonder, encouraging all to take refuge during this difficult time in the world of fantasy, and to look beyond and to dream.
Abundant with vibrant tones of yellow-gold and sky blue, hues of lavender and fuchsia pink, the collection harkens to the natural palette of our planet, citing seven of the globe’s most unique and awe-inspiring locations, and enhancing silhouettes with intricate floral details. From three-dimensional organza blooms to swathes of floral taffeta and tweed - each distorted, blurred like water colors, and digitally printed – the collection defies singularity, bridging the gap between technology and the elements.
Uniquely presented against the seven contemporary wonders of the world, this season is brought to life by an equally international individual; Ralph & Russo’s very own avatar and muse, Hauli. Named in traditional Swahili after strength and power, Hauli is at once rooted in African origins and a reflection of womankind; of the beautiful and inspiring women bringing courage and positive change to all four corners of the world.
Entitled “Wardrobe 12” Ronald Van Der Kemp's collection is an expressive statement about the essence of Haute Couture and the times we live in. In extension to the latest “Army of Love” project, produced during social isolation, it makes a positive appeal to the world to surrender to a more sustainable future. Van Der Kemp's real mission since the beginning of his career in the fashion world is to show that we can walk together in search of a better world and that ethics should not be massacred by the glamour of exacerbated consumption. All the looks have been built from pieces from previous collections and in a totally responsible way. The combination of 28 looks has been shown as a truly unprecedented show. The vibrant shapes and colors take us straight to the 80s. The volume, gloss, frills and flowing fabrics bring the spirit of Ronald Van Der Kemp without blinking. Eight short films made separately, but combined for their essences and particularities, put in focus productions without gender and full of life.
“Surrealist images manage to make visible what is in itself invisible. I’m interested in mystery and magic, which are also a way of exorcising uncertainty about the future,” says Maria Grazia Chiuri of her autumnwinter 2020-2021 haute couture collection. During this unprecedented period, the Creative Director of Dior women’s collections chose to focus on the work of artists such as Lee Miller, Dora Maar and Jacqueline Lamba, who transcended the role of “muses” to which their beauty had initially relegated them in order to champion – in their lives and surrealist works – a different femininity. The new collection is imbued with that attitude: one that is connected, attuned to nature and transformation. Certain pieces display spectacular gradations of red, like a coral reef swaying in the glimmer of the ocean. The colors of paintings by Leonora Carrington and Dorothea Tanning live on in these creations through luminous hues and dreamworlds. The surrealists’ female body also conjures a reinterpretation of the miniature mannequin, a poetic emblem at the heart of the couture universe. The artist Cindy Sherman appropriates this almost magical object in one of her first video projects, which oscillates between the history of fashion and the possibility of a new representation; today, these miniatures make it possible to invent a different ritual.