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Haute Couture’s New Attitude

Fashion News
This ruffled top and embellished trousers created by the Christian Dior design team points to a brand trying to modernize it's haute couture line.

By Jessica Michault

The Spring/Summer 2016 Haute Couture season just finished in Paris and it proved itself to be quite an interesting offering. The most notable trend was a move by designers to try and modernize couture, bringing it closer to reality. Gowns were worn with flat boots, construction was loosed up and daywear was back in a big way.

At Chanel, designer Karl Lagerfeld was inspired by Coco Chanel’s early years when she was known for designing clothing in shades of beige. That was the dominant color in his impressive collection that focused on more practical daywear pieces such as short jackets with rounded sleeves and slim midi skirts.

In the garden of a modern and minimalist luxury wood-slat Japanese-inspired home, which was the backdrop for the show, Lagerfeld had his models slowly stroll along on curved cork wedge heels.

Other modern day highlights of the show included a silk bomber jacket and the hoodie worn by the bride, two very contemporary garments, that got the couture treatment: festooned as they were with shimmering 3D beaded blooms.

For designers Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri, the goal of their Valentino couture show was to given their clients the room to move. Taking a page out of the book of Mariano Fortuny, the duo created a collection of muses that would be able to haunt the mind long after they faded from view. Virginal maidens that walked barefoot down the catwalk in ivory gowns and golden medallion jewelry woven into the fabric of the ensemble, their hair crowned by a golden serpent circlet.

It is always an interesting exercise to attend a fashion show when the house finds itself between designers. As fate would have it, this is a position that the Christian Dior brand has found itself in twice in the last five years. This time, the house gave couture a more relaxed, approachable spirit.

The way the team attempted to accomplish this was by loosening up the construction of the garments and focusing on the shoulders (the one area on a woman that never really ages).


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