Coming to the end of the haute couture fashion week, the collections presented during the two (+1) days of the event brought the best of the textile savoir-faire. Avant-garde collections made from the decoding of the fashion codes of a house by other guest designers, a neo-alchemy of haute couture, the cross between aesthetics and culture of Roman temporalities. The special occasion for this season was the return of Balenciaga to Haute Couture as well as the debut of Demna Gvasalia for the maison, as well as Kerby Jean-Raymond making his Haute Couture debut with Pyer Moss with a collection that invites us to reflect.
Waiting for the return of Balenciaga (I.G. @Balenciaga) to Haute Couture, after 53 years, one would not help but wonder how a legacy that has not been showcased since 1968 would be translated to the current context? Under the new direction of Demna Gvasalia and his groundbreaking, contemporary approach to fashion, he has always left us with “expect the unexpected”. The challenge of a different kind of collection presented on Wednesday, July 7 at 10 Avenue George V managed to show a balance between the legacy of the Maison and the signature style of the Georgian designer. Unlike when the founder of the house said “There is no one left to dress”, having today many who dress but do not know how to, the presentation of the collection was also an educational opportunity to remind us of the value of haute couture.
Being the Maison’s return of the Master of Haute Couture, both the classic presentation format with the reopening of the couture salon and the elements of the collection will be recalled. While the character and history of haute couture are well known, it continues to make history. While retaining the technical aspects of a brand to be considered within this sector, another closely related evolves along with it: the customers, being these a different clientele to the beginnings of this sector, customers that today define a new type of modern luxury. The 50th collection managed to materialize that: the importance of the past by observing it and taking its fashion codes while imbuing them in casual pieces, which are recontextualized in glamorous haute couture pieces.
Jean Paul Gaultier
Moving from an haute couture presentation that revives and gives a new modern sense to the legacy of a fashion house after a long time, we find ourselves with a different proposal, where the founder of a fashion house decides to give the helm for a season to another designer to reinterpret the style codes of his brand. This is the case of Jean Paul Gaultier (I.G. @jeanpaulgaultier) who invited Sacai’s Chitose Abe as the first house’ “guest” designer, to take Gaultier’s codes and reinterpret them in her own way for the Autumn-Winter 2021 Haute Couture collection.
The result is a collection with avant-garde silhouettes. The iconic pinstripes, corsets, the striped sailor shirt, tartan, fisherman knit, the boiler suit, and vintage jeans of L’Enfant Terrible are transformed into dresses, bust corsets, skirts, and capes. Pieces with tattoo prints screen-printed by Los Angeles artist Dr. Woo, as well as references to Björk’s look from the FW’94 collection are seen in two looks with red jacquard waders. Complementing the pieces in the collection are overstitched boots and thigh-high boots designed by Pierre Hardy and inspired by the house’s legendary corsets.
Knowing the exclusivity of the couture pieces, and because of the occasion of the collection, a ready-to-wear capsule collection composed of 8 Jean Paul Gaultier x Sacai pieces is also available, including a tattoo print T-shirt and leggings set imagined by Dr. Woo, 3 “Enfants terribles” T-shirts, a revised version of Sacai’s iconic bomber jacket, and an exclusive model of Nike VaporWaffle Sacai x Jean Paul Gaultier sneakers (sold out).
”A PERFECTLY IMPERFECT JUXTAPOSITION BETWEEN WHAT IS REAL AND WHAT IS FAKE.”VIKTOR&ROLF
Every place has its queens and kings, being in the sense of a celebrated self-identification. But what about when it comes to the queens of royalty and fashion? The new royals? The hierarchies, the constant upholding of a social reputation where you know perfectly well that you can’t go wrong and always have to continue. Viktor&Rolf (I.G. @viktorandrolf) in their FW21 couture collection address this ambiguity of “keeping up appearances.”
With each look consisting of a dress, a coat and a sash adorned with Swarovski crystals, these three hierarchies that make up an armor that protects with its appearance of society and protects at its core what is the real me, the real person, the collection denotes a relevant theme for our current society in which we live.
“This season, Viktor&Rolf wanted to show how everyone can become a Queen and how everyone can behave like royalty. No matter if their furs are plastic, their jewels are paste and their gowns patchworked in polyester. A perfectly imperfect juxtaposition between what is real and what is fake.”Viktor&Rolf
Charles De Vilmorin
After a colorful debut last couture season, twenty-four-year-old fashion prodigy Charles De Vilmorin (I.G. @charlesdevilmorin) returns with a collection that shows us another side of the designer. It seems that the colorful creatures have now metamorphosed into a series of 18 spellbinding looks, almost all-black gowns with strong, sophisticated, artistic, and powerful silhouettes.
The pieces of the collection were presented through an exhibition at Maison Baccarat and through a fashion film by Colin Solal Cardo, which featured the participation of French artist Joanna and Bilal Hassani,, who sang “Under Your Bed ” from her new album coming next year.
If it were to remake the iconic scene from American Horror Story Coven where Myrtle Snow is taken to the stake for the second and last time, definitely her (and our) last words and parting outfit would definitely be De Vilmorin!
“Pasolini observed Rome become modern – and that is what is interesting to me: connecting eras, the old with the new, the past with the present.”Kim Jones
Moving from a first collection that marked a journey from England to Rome, Kim Jones’ fall/winter 2021 couture collection for Fendi Couture (I.G.@fendi) marks its settlement in the Eternal City, where the poetics of Roman film director Pier Paolo Pasolini present a lens through which to explore the capital. The result: a modern collection that crosses the aesthetic, cultural, and temporal borders of the Eternal City’s past, present, and future eras.
The temporalities of the different eras of Rome are represented through themes such as marble sculptures, mother-of-pearl mosaics, and translated into softly draped silhouettes, mineral hues, embroidered neckline, and intricate details silk jacquards, Cornely embroidery and glass beads, trompe l’oeil silks, as well as silhouettes translated into delicate lace mini-dresses, where classic scrolls are conjured up through intricate embroidery.
“For the 2021 ‘Artisanal’ Co-ed collection, Maison Margiela studies the desires of a new utopian youth connected to the circles of life, time, and nature.“Maison Margiela
While the haute couture week brought us some events in physical format, the presentation of a film as was the case of John Galliano for his haute couture collection for Maison Margiela (I.G. @maisonmargiela) presents us with another form of storytelling, different from what one is used to seeing on the catwalk.
Through the film entitled “A Folk Horror Tale,” directed by Olivier Dahan and based on an original concept by John Galliano, the film presents a new “neo-alchemy” of haute couture through a transformation between the science of shapes and textures coexisting with the nature of the materials used.
Pyer Moss Couture
While couture week made history with the remerging of Balenciaga, this season also marked the beginning of a new chapter with the debut of Kerby Jean-Raymond with Pyer Moss (I.G. @pyermoss) in haute couture, the first Black-American designer to debut an haute couture collection; and boy was history made with “Wat U Iz,” a collection that, from the venue ( Madam C. J. Walker’s Villa Lewaro in Irvington, New York), the performance to the pieces, was a surreal lesson that beyond a debut, was a lesson, a statement and a reflection on the past-present-future of legacy, resilience, empowerment, and direction for Black people to take: as a person, an artist, an entrepreneur, as a community.
Being a historic event, the designer also commemorated the occasion with the launch of a series of commemorative Couture Family t-shirts.