Couture Sticks to Its Guns



Trying to detect a common denominator among couture shows almost defeats the point of the craft itself, non? But if the masters of this elite domain meant us to glean anything from their offerings this season though, it was “Stick to what you know, kid.” Each of the standout collections delved into the designers’ resident turf, pairing embellishment with experimentation.

References to Christian Dior abound in contemporary Dior collections, and this time around, Galliano got into the head of the legend. Nipped waists, jutting hip panels and asymmetrical poof skirts were accouned for, and the season’s theme was a tribute to the designer Charles James, an early influencer of the New Look. The influence came to life in the second half of the show, as dramatic multi-layered ball gowns with exaggerated bustle-esque additions added to the debutante-by-night feel. The designer is also said to have been inspired by the plans for the Met Costume Institute’s upcoming exhibition, American Woman. Lagerfeld was doing his best future-past, woking at the Chanel balance of robotics and romance. And while the designer will  deny himself to have any sort of repeating aesthetic—or for that matter, any kind of futuristic vision—hints of the future seem to be colliding into the Chanel sphere quite frequently as of late, especially here. Silver booties, Gaga-esque heart hair sculpture with a silver streak played off softened pastel chiffons, draped silks and ballooned sillhouettes. The classic Chanel suit was updated by swapping shorts for skirts. Noticeably absent was black and navy, but hey… it’s spring!

Jean Paul Gaultier was also doing what he does best, which of course everything at once. Somewhere between Avatar, Velasquez and Princess Leia did Gaultier create one of his most lush and extravagant collection to date. Although the collection was meant to be a sort of intercontinental exploration of sorts, I couldn’t help but picture Bette Davis’ entrance onto the screen as a made-over glamazon Charlotte Vale in Now, Voyager. Spanish lace, feathers, embellished denim and multicoloured appliqués gave it the distinct feel of Gautier couture show.