Couture Week Round Up AW13

My newest piece for The Glass Pineapple; celebrating the weirdest and most wonderful area of fashion:

We love Couture Fashion Week – the celebration of the superb construction, evocative philosophy and optical brilliance that goes into every design spectacle on the catwalk is a joy to behold. Amidst the visual splendours this year: the dramatic darkness at Viktor & Rolf, the full-face masks at Maison Martin Margiela and the Eastern opulence of Laurence Xu, compounded a diverse selection of couture themes and achievements that more than ensured the fantastical spirit of couture lives on.

Bouchra Jarrar

‘Couture du jour’ was coined backstage at the Bouchra Jarrar AW13 couture collection and never has a phrase been more appropriate. With her unique signature approach to daywear, Jarrar created an accessible yet refined series of looks, employing traditional couture craftsmanship for ostensibly everyday pieces. With almost masculine approach to tailoring, Jarrar featured a seemingly endless mix-and-match combination of jackets, open long-line vests and 7/8 length slim-line trousers.

There were, of course, exquisite embellishments; from the buckles and zips that adorned the jackets of the collection and chic silver chains that swung from the trousers, to the iridescent clusters of pearls that emblazoned the vests and one rather large feather and crystal harness. The initially stark monochrome palette gave the collection a feeling of modern chicness, which evolved into feminine sensuality with subtle flashes of blush and beige in the form of glamorous plunge necked trapeze gowns. It was daywear and elegant eveningwear that challenged the conventional approach of haute couture.

bouchra

(Images courtesy of Vogue)

Alexis Mabille

Alexis Mabille is fast becoming a Glass Pineapple couture favourite and this dramatic fairytale show of the sweet, delicate and romantic, that contrasted sugary princess dresses with darker gothic pieces, more than lived up to expectations. The clever colour palette pitched sugary pastels – lilac, pink and cornflower – against bolder colours such as black, red and a steely metallic blue. Within these fairytale archetypes, we fell for a sumptuously Matador-esque combination of high waisted trousers topped with an intricately embroidered cropped jacket. Did Mabille’s inspiration stem from Brothers Grimm perhaps? No, interestingly, 19th century artist Giovanni Boldini, the ‘Master of Swish’ was cited as Mabille’s muse.

From the fluid lines and folds of the collection to the hand-painted ombre effect on the tailored trousers, the signature brushstrokes were clear to see. The contrast of textures heightened the dramatic vibe of the collection, mixing classic lace with modern shine, delicate pearls with midnight-black tulle. Intricate embellishments were a key feature of looks that were thick with dazzling embroidery, frills, bows and appliqué hair accessories in the form of delicate silver petals and colourful flowers. It was “a play on the past, but in a twisted modern way,” as Mabille himself described it.

alexismabille

(Images courtesy of Vogue)

Schiaparelli

This one-off collection was an ode to the iconic late designer Elsa Schiaparelli by Christian Lacroix. Schiaparelli’s eclectic and varied style was expertly reflected in this daringly contemporary and indulgent collection that referenced Lacroix’s own archives. There were no notions of wearability, with each piece so fantastical and exaggerated there was an almost costume-esque feel. The collection was impressively diverse, featuring dark gothic hooded capes, elegant dresses, bejewelled parachute trousers and ladylike coats with large exaggerated pockets. Lacroix presented us with unexpected colour combinations, teaming an emerald green cocktail dress with a fur hat in shocking pink and an aubergine military jacket with a bright green silk turban. There was a timeless feel, much more museum than catwalk, with a presentation on static mannequins and forgoing the distraction of live models. Lacroix’s return to couture via the muse of Schiaparelli was truly a triumphant one.

Schiaparelli

(Images courtesy of Vogue)

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