| Jessica Camille Aguirre |
PARIS (dpa) – If Paris was grey and rainy during haute couture fashion week recently, the gloom was offset by bright blossoms and lots of romance on the runways.
After Versace kicked off the shows with an evening soiree, the mood turned spring-like.
Chanel, known since Karl Lagerfeld took its helm as a purveyor of fantastical sets, transformed the Grand Palais into a tropical jungle of white paper flowers – which unfurled into an array of colourful blossoms as the show began.
His collection reflected the sentiment: classic Chanel jackets rendered in eye-popping pastels struck a fresh note with daring cuts and mid-calf pencils skirts paired with modern belts. Structured dresses bristling with flower-like creations were only slightly tempered by somber veils and Edwardian hats piled with tulle.
Contrast was also in order at Dior, where floating pieces of embroidered flowers were set atop bright vinyl boots. The collection showcased some structural elements, in line with the 60s invocation present in bright prints and appliques, but even knife-pleated skirts were made soft by their light volume.
Keeping with the botanical motif, Armani put forth a collection unified with bamboo patterning throughout. Oversized karate belts and X-ray fabric in luminous layers gave the looks an element of moving fluidity, even while keeping with the house’s trademark sleek.
If love was in the air, with an extra-vagant proposal for a bride’s sartorial considerations on nearly every runway, Jean Paul Gaultier poked a bit of fun at the theme, rendering a teetering head full of hair curlers as a wedding cake and enlisting older models to twirl in white tulle coupled with tailored jackets. Lavish epaulets and asymmetrical juxtapositions gave the collection an indelible Gaultier imprint.
The season’s standout was Valentino, if only for its craftsmanship, and the collection was gilded in the romance of the week as the designers cited Shakespeare, parts of Dante’s Inferno and the painter Marc Chagall as inspirations for a show rich with his-torical allusions and feminine shapes.
Floor-length dresses in lush velvet and soft tulle were interspersed with Russian-inflected pinafores thick with embroidery. A few shearling accents countered the softness of the looks, as models wore flowers intertwined in their crown braids.
Flowers abounded as well at Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad and Viktor & Rolf. Even Giambattista Valli’s collection, which was also accented by classic black veils, sported appliqued and printed blossoms. If spring isn’t quite here, the runways at least are awash in bloom.