By THOMAS ADAMSON, AP Fashion Writer
PARIS (AP) – Images of traditional embroidery and floral paintings adorned the walls of Dior’s celebrity-laden catwalk tribute to Ukraine as the four-day couture week kicked off in Paris on Monday.
Ukrainian artist Olesia Trofymenko’s set was the starting point for designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, who returned to the atelier’s needle-and-thread workshop this season. Dior said the richly embroidery-oriented collection draws inspiration from Eastern European styles, which is also a message of cultural dialogue and support.
Haute couture is the centuries-old Parisian tradition of creating bespoke garments at exorbitant prices for the world’s richest women.
Here are some highlights of the fall-winter 2022 collections:
A pared-down vibe welcomed guest stars like Naomi Watts and Sigourney Weaver in a perfumed annexe of the Left Bank Rodin Museum.
Dior’s celebrated atelier spurned its flash of sequins to put craftsmanship center stage this fall, presenting an organic display of earth-toned dresses with the occasional muted shimmer.
Whatever the display lacked in power, it made up for in impressive detail. Chiuri channeled the “Tree of Life,” the leitmotif in Trofymenko’s art, evoking roots and branches in long, loose, folksy robes—or in stiff, cropped, ethnic-looking jackets embroidered with silk and cotton threads and yarns .
Almost poetically, patchworks of bronze guipure braids on wide skirts gave the impression of shimmering morning dew.
Despite the precise execution, there was little that was new in the exhaustive 68 parts. At times, Chiuri seemed to hark back to the Renaissance styles that defined her tenure at Valentino from 2008 to 2016, like tight scoop necks, long royal gowns and flowing bishop’s sleeves.
Still, there were some standout looks, such as a fitted black dress with a white lace bib that resembled a rebellious nun.
HIDE AND REVEAL SCHIAPARELLIS
Wide-brimmed hats hid the face in dusty, dappled light. Upper bodies peeked through while portions of the waist were slashed into a ribbed slip that resembled human flesh.
The house’s American designer, Daniel Roseberry, explored sensuality – and concealment – in a largely reflective performance that digressed towards the end.
The collection featured dark, archetypal couture. Voluminous satin skirts shot in all directions, reproducing the gravity-free feel of a Renaissance painting.
But there were also plenty of quirks in homage to the Italian house’s eccentric founder, Elsa Schiaparelli, whose heyday was between the two world wars.
Two huge earrings of golden grapes cascaded down to cover the bare-chested model’s nipples. A pair of whimsical, sculpted fabric breasts were centered in a quilted zigzag crop top.
According to company lore, Elsa Schiaparelli topped their list of the most famous French people in a 1948 poll. But they still couldn’t pronounce her name – the “sh” is hard, like in “school”.
Roseberry is well on her way to making the house famous again.
The Schiaparelli couture show was held at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs to celebrate a new retrospective at the museum celebrating the late, great couturier who invented the color shocking pink and courted the surrealist artists.
From July 6, the museum will be showing “Shocking! The Surreal Worlds of Elsa Schiaparelli” with 577 works including 212 pieces of clothing, alongside paintings, sculptures, jewellery, perfume bottles, ceramics, posters and photographs signed by her friends and collaborators, from Man Ray to Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau.
The exhibition also traces her enduring legacy in fashion, showcasing her influence on designs by Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, Azzedine Alaïa and John Galliano.
The Dutch prodigy’s collection was a futuristic spectacle — complete with winged shoes, dynamic silver vines and gravity-defying abstract ribbed silhouettes that one viewer compared to the Marvel Universe — albeit a sophisticated couture take.
Touted as “the first mixed reality runway experience of its kind,” guests were encouraged to have their mobile devices ready to capture the incredible details of the garments, which – in Van Herpen’s signature style – fuse fashion and art.
A bone-white creation took on an extra dimension when it was captured on video and slowed down: its cloak-like tendrils slowly whipped out in all directions like a sci-fi creature. This collection, the house said, fused the physical and the virtual. It succeeded.
There was something dreamy about the show. It started with the décor’s hanging golden flowers, strange white human sculptures and mesmerizing music. This was also reflected in fashion. Sheer white textured fabric swish created large tubular waves on the model’s body. It was like merging the cosmic, the organic, and the graphics of a computer game.
The show, titled Meta Morphism, was also a milestone for the award-winning couturier – marking the 15th anniversary of her eponymous fashion design house.
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