Haute Couture 2015

By Jo Phillips

Atelier Versace

Donatella Versace’s dresses need no explanation. This season, she did what she is known for, which is sensual seductiveness. The inspiration of this collection was to go back to the shape of the woman’s body, as she put it, which is naturally curvy. This was unlike your typical couture collection, where usually the clothes are adorned in beads and embroidery. The cuts and slashes in the dresses took centre stage. The color palette consisted mostly of black, red, silver, and royal blue. The audience, which included mother-daughter duo Kate Hudson and Goldie Hawn, rivaled the star-studded cast of models which included Karlie Kloss, Eva Herzigova, and Amber Valletta.

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Schiaparelli

This couture collection was anticipated because it was presented by the in-house team rather than a specific designer (designer Marco Zanini left after two seasons). However, you would have never guessed it if you just looked at the clothes, as the vision was wonderfully strong. Looking at the clothes can make you feel like you travelled to the end of the world and back. There were many cultural references but somehow they worked together in harmony. If there we had to describe this collection in one word, it would be rich, as it describes everything from the fabrics used, to the color-palette, to the vibrant set designed by creative director Jean Paul Goude.

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Christian Dior:

Raf Simons has proved that he is a natural with couture as he is with ready-to-wear. This collection had a slight Bowie-inspired feel to it, as Simons revealed he was inspired by the chameleon nature he had, and how he was able to constantly reinvent himself. It is nothing short of amazing what Simons delivered with this collection. With 55 looks, the designer took us on a time-travel adventure, covering decades of style (50’s, 60’s, 70’s). Simons has stated once that he is a designer who is constantly seduced by the past, yet he is one of the most sophisticatedly modern designers working today. The incredibly constructed pleated dresses, thigh-high vinyl boots, and futuristic ponytails were some of the many highlights of the show. Of course, the maze-set is a whole other story. All in all, this collection was out of this world.

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Giambattisa Valli 

For this collection, designer Giambattisa Valli had The Metropolitan Museum’s Impossible Conversations in mind when he was designing; the exhibition that was inspired by the dialogue between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. However, Valli created his own impossible conversation, between Coco Chanel and Janis Joplin. Think little black jackets and dresses over pants. The collection itself felt like a dream, with cloud-like tulle, luxurious detailed embellishment, and a burst of exotic flowers. This is a girl who finds great enjoyment in her femininity.

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Alexis Mabille

“There are strange evenings when flowers have a soul.” This is the line from the Albert Samain that inspired this collection, which was both beautiful and slightly dark. The collection had an array of jewel-tone shades, beautiful sheer fabrics, and a reinterpretation of floral shapes.

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Chanel

Flowers were also the dominating force at Chanel, but needless to say, legend Karl Lagerfeld always finds a way to top the rest. The set was breathtaking, and took about six months to make, it was worth it if you’ve seen how it came to life when the Chanel-branded watering can made the engine flowers blossom. Leave it to Karl to give us a set that is both unimaginable to the average mind and unforgettable at the same time. The clothes were equally captivating. It felt like a youthful reinterpretation of all the Chanel classics. Tweed suit: check, stunningly ornate accessories: check, out-of-this-world embellishment, embroidery, and appliqué: check. However, there was an edgy vibe, creating by the bare midriffs, black booties, and the presence of young “it-girls” like Kendall Jenner, Binx Walton, and Lindsey Wixon amongst others. Lagerfeld proves again that he is always in touch with the now. The finale bridal look, which also took several months to construct, could easily leave one breathless.

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Armani Prive: 

Designer Giorgio Armani has always been heavily influenced by Japan. For this outstandingly beautiful collection, he was particularly inspired by bamboo, and how it combines both delicacy and strength. He brought it out in more ways than one; painted on the blazers, embossed on the jackets, spun into the lace, presented as jacquard, even taking the bark and turning into a gorgeous pair of pants. The array of textures presented were unbelievably impressive.

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Ulyana Sergeenko

Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko, once a celebrated street style star (one of the “Russian dolls” crew), now a respected fashion designer. With each season, Sergeenko proves herself with her strong feminine Russian aesthetic, and this collection is no exception. The designs were toying with maximalism but had a restrained quality to them; this gave the old-fashioned silhouettes a modern twist. Instead of going back to her Russian roots, the designer looked at neighboring countries like Georgia and Armenia for inspiration. The attention to detail is magnificent and the proportions were even better.

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Elie Saab 

Lavish. Luxe. Elegant. Extreme. Beautiful. Just some words to describe the Elie Saab’s collection this season, or any season for that matter, as the Lebanese designer continues to top himself season after season. This collection was particularly inspired by Elie Saab’s past, most specifically the Beirut that the designer’s parents grew up in, one whose people were always dressed for a party.

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Viktor and Rolf: 

The duo behind Viktor and Rolf always used the flower as their starting point, but went on a slightly different direction than the others, think mad, whimsical, and playful. The designers worked with Vlisco, the 1846 Dutch company that in batik style, dyed, printed textiles. There was a vacation feel to it all with the addition of floral baby-doll dresses, avande garde straw hats, and unexpected flip flops. There was a freshness in this collection, an unpretentiousness, a casual take on haute couture.

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Jean Paul Gaultier

Reinterpreting the bride was the main theme of  this Jean Paul Gaultier. Let your imagination go wild and you’ll find every look in this outrageous show. Half and half dresses, gravity-defying tulle, lavish tuxedo suits, denim overalls, ornate headpieces, and Naomi Campbell dressed as a wedding bouquet were all part of the spectacle.

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Valentino

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli let themselves get carried away by the words of Shakespeare, Dante, and the paintings of Marc Chagall for this love-inspired collection. Heart-achingly romantic. That’s how we would describe these dresses made out of lush red velvet, soft tulle, and gold bodices. Some sentiments were translated explicitly with beautiful writings on the dresses.

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Zuhair Murad

Everyone was swimming in heaven during this water-inspired Zuhair Murad haute couture collection. He interpreted the element in every way possible: waves translated in pleats, beading that dripped from top to bottom, and models drowning in devastatingly lovely tulle. Not to mention the mermaid inspired looks. The bridal look presented in the finale was a show in its own right.

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