Tulle and feathers and pastels- Oh my! Once again Couture Week leaves us dazzled by craftsmanship and elegance, yet it was the refreshing colour palettes that steer way from traditional autumnal tones that inspired us most this season. The term ‘Couture’ itself breathes an exotic air that knowingly transports us to a realm of fantasy, however what exactly does it mean to establish a Couture collection?
In 1868 the Fédération Française de la Couture founded the origin of ‘Haute Couture’, later be legally registered as the origin in 1945, is the acting headquarters for this breed of French fashion.
As a legally protected term, fashion houses are therefore approved annually by the organisation which determines if a house can be Haute or not. The then chosen “Happy few” coined said by president of fashion at Chanel, Bruno Pavlovsky, must play by the rules to maintain the archaic title. This includes hosting a Parisian workroom with a minimum of 20 employees, as well as this each fashion house must produce a minimum of 25 outfit per season, which occurs in January and July.
A brief insight into the long history of Haute Couture can only deepen our appreciation of this presentation of Parisian artisan that graced us once again earlier this July. From the extraordinary elegance from Ralph & Russo, to the boldly beautiful tones and textures from Valentino, here is our round up of the best collections at Autumn/Winter Couture Week 2019.
Creative director, Pierpaolo Piccioli, continued to reach new heights in his latest display of Couture, embellishing his gowns with feathers, pom poms and luxurious yarns. A spectacle of rich colour and desirable textures ensured “That every single look was different”, he stated in a preview of the show, allowing him to expand on his continuous study that Haute Couture is a metaphor for human diversity. His Haute Couture philosophy has quickly allowed the designer to develop a memorable aesthetic which is maturing as a timeless signature with every collection. A particular favourite is the dazzling yellow dress, complete with a fantastic layered yarn trim- transforming the spirit of a summertime dress into an elevated autumnal gown.
As this collection payed homage to Roman mosaics and ancient marble flooring, it was through the late creative director, Karl Lagerfelds, spectacular eye and love for Rome that inspired the A/W 2019 show. As 54 looks graced the catwalk, one for each year Lagerfeld served at the house, Silvia Venturini Fendi noted the collection came full circle when a book gifted to her by Lagerfeld played crucial a part in inspiring her visual narrative. Geometrical shapes and patterns were woven throughout the collection appearing amongst glamorous tailoring which smoothly translated into spectacular evening wear as the show concluded on show stopping ballgowns.
Ralph & Russo
Tulle, chiffon, organza and feathers are just a few of the reasons why we are left breathless at the craftsmanship presented at Ralph and Russo this season. Directly inspired by the Art Deco movement, their iconic fantasy gowns were fascinatingly confronted by masculine counterparts which created a new, fresh dynamic for the brand. Whilst the collection may not end with a show stopper or an elaborate bridal gown, I personally find it’s because a little piece of the spectacular is woven into every piece - needless to say we cannot be spoilt any further!
Creative director for Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller, explained after the show “It’s the idea of this beautiful, lost chateau where an anarchic spirit comes through”, which was perfectly translated through her ateliers process that went “From clinical laboratory to the playground of a mad scientist” said Vogue. This eccentric and electric narrative was evident through silhouette, from skirts shaped like lampshades to embellishments resembling interior decoration. An erratic yet successful storyline for Couture definitely landed Givenchy as one of the most memorable this season.
Daniel Roseburry presented to us this season his debut show for the Schiaparelli fashion house. Having come from Thom Browne we already had a set inkling there would be a flare for theatrics and tailoring. Roseberry commenced the show by seating himself both at a sketching table and in the centre spotlight. All surrealist origins considered, if there was ever a place where Haute Couture and art were to be at harmony it’s at this fashion house. As expected, reconstructed tailoring was warmly welcomed on the catwalk, as well as the theme for deconstruction which was embodied through silhouette and unique embellishment. Bold colours juxtaposed the often more ‘edgy’ and dark aspects of the collection, leaving me reminiscent of flamboyant, tropical birds. Whilst it appeared Roseberry spliced together two different collections, it’s through this madness that the designer invites you to see the nativity of an artists mind- instilled in us from the beginning when the designer took to his desk, pen and paper in hand, almost in a child-like manner.
Whilst Couture week is a world wind of artisan and narrative, it’s these complexities that inform and treacle down to inspire smaller and growing brands such as ourselves at Mellaris. Keeping an eye on these fashion houses is always an amazing source of inspiration in terms of fabric and colour. Over the coming months we can’t wait to introduce to you our A/W 2019 collection, and who knows maybe there’s a touch of couture influence- you will have to wait and see!
By Kirsty Scott