Wearable dreams in Paris:
Welcome back Couture!
by Sara Pizzi
The Haute Couture calendar ends today in Paris, and never before has high fashion been so arrogantly alive. Even if arrogant isn’t quite the most appropriate term. Because couture is a dream, whispered and delicate. A transfiguration of the women’s most highest fashion fantasies. A dive into a dreamlike reality, opulent and precious, from the collection to the sets. But credit where credit's due, Haute Couture came about first and foremost as a service to the maison’s wealthy clientele.
In a season in which Versace preferred to pass on the famous catwalks of Paris in favour of the red carpets of Hollywood, Haute Couture has never been so daring. While Chanel is its icon par excellence, capable of seducing generations of women from all over the world, then it is perhaps Dior, under the guidance of Maria Grazia Chiuri, which is this season’s true revelation. It could be said that Chiuri has finally found her brand.
Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, a secret garden full of fauns and unicorns, childhood memories, of fables and fairytales, giving rise to female imagery. And so an already legendary brand becomes the symbol of renewal. Of that Italian savoir faire combined with the great French tradition. Of a bold essence, strong and refined, that isn’t just expressed through precious fabrics and regal embroideries, but also through clear messages and powerful claims. Because today, Haute Couture is something radically different to what it was in the past; just think of the gowns made by Galliano for Margiela, with faces sculpted in tulle, the expression of symbolic layering that aims to reflect on the awareness of modern existence.
“…no more yielding but a dream” said Shakespeare in his famous play, but besides a dream, Chiuri and her colleagues have much more to offer: not just the opulence of a gala dress, but the highest fashion expression of our contemporary age.
“We should be all feminist” is the slogan on the Dior t-shirt by Maria Grazia Chiuri. Already a must have for fashionistas all over the world, but also a bold and strong message which has never been so relevant than in this historic time. In fact, in tandem with the fashion shows in Paris, a global women’s protest was held, linked to the inauguration of the new American President in Washington.
It was with this t-shirt that she met Virginie Mouzat of Vanity Fair France during the collection preview. “Emotion? Stress?” the journalist asked, “No, just sleepiness!” replied the designer.
At Musée Rodin, in a labyrinth with the atmosphere of a masked ball, comes a file of visions in tulle, velvet gowns that recall 19th century capes, gradually abandoning its austerity to become softer, suspended between day and night, between reality and dreams. Dior’s New Look is mellowed in the classic corset structure and in the “corolle” line, for dresses that are a triumph of lace, matelassé satin, peplums and tulle.
“It takes 25 metres of cloth to make a Christian Dior dress!” said its many detractors. It was 1947, the beginning of a dream. Today, 2017, the dream continues with a woman who – applying the metaphor of the labyrinth to her own personal story – seems to have found the right direction and that balance between femininity and modernity. A complex interplay that leaves everyone very curious about the next fashion show.
Welcome to a wearable dream, it’s Couture!