Paris Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2016-2017 Fashion Week kicked off with astonishing creativity in construction and detailing. Here, we bring you the best of the first two days. Newcomer Yuima Nakazato soared to impressive heights with kaleidoscopic bodices, as did Serkan Cura in his architectural structures. Ralph & Russo’s enchanting ode to flora and fauna and Georges Hobeika’s poetic draperies highlighted sweet and sophisticated femininity. We also visited the worlds of Ulyana Sergeenko, Guo Pei, and Tony Ward.
Origami confections made from polyvinyl chloride beamed like opalescent rainbow fish, for a jaw-dropping crusade into the future at Yuima Nakazato’s first Paris couture show. The Japanese designer sculpted iceberg silhouettes that coiled like snaking polynucleotides. Nakazato’s chromosome display was further electrified in the details: high-collared necks bloomed like kaleidoscopic seaweed — bodices were perforated by a plotter machine in the guise of galaxies — while models’ unearthly makeup matched triangular spiked, ombré sleeves. Black footwear mounted on geometrical stilts was coupled with celestial bodied calf braces, lifting Nakazato’s space age tour de force to new, imaginative heights.
Under a floral gazebo outside the Natural History Museum in Paris, palms were met with champagne and freshly squeezed orange juice at Ulyana Sergeenko’s runway show. Youthful idealism pervaded through shimmering bodysuits while forestry furs, marked with woodland landscapes and doe, oozed bohemian femininity. The Russian designer left no pasture untouched; Sergeenko unveiled an iridescent equestrian helmet, paired with a rose stained sequined overcoat and a peach garter belt. A tribal headpiece encrusted with precious stones, matched a scintillating asymmetrical backless dress.
The Beijing-born designer Guo Pei crafted tasselled, plume coronets to compliment Victorian style gowns with curvilinear trains at her regal couture spectacle, reminiscent of a Visconti film. Her meticulous fabrications, like marble sculpture, exuded three-dimensional artistry — crimson fringe frocks bounced like Arabian horse hair and inky feather lapels exuded ravenous resplendence. The Chinese empress of couture’s chiselled masterpieces displayed flaxen embellishments on top electric blue paillette sheaths. Pei’s coral dragon décolletés warmed narrow filigree bodices and exaggerated emerald fur trim decadently waltzed around caplets and hoop-shaped bottoms.
Pastel caplet dresses blossomed like lavender fields unveiling a romantic balled of poetic draperies at Georges Hobeika. Tow-coloured appliqué spread like tree roots against snowy passementerie and transparent sleeves were dusted with ombré spherules magnified by Chantilly lace. Hobeika’s foppish forms fluctuated in length and fabric, playing with textured tweeds and champagne satin. Organza bodices were meticulously embellished with fuchsia floweret beading, and emerald accents evinced sprightly sophistication. The Lebanese couturier playfully paired his Impressionist painted gowns and diaphanous soft-hued harem pants, with striking efflorescent pumps and magenta lace-up tennis shoes.
Cascading chiffon gowns symbolized the mythical junction between daybreak and nightfall at Ralph & Russo. Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo’s enchanting ode to flora and fauna was a sensory spectacular of frothy frocks — and of artfully tailored, extravagant outerwear accessorized with cylindrical chapeaus. The English design duo’s imaginative opus was a mixture of over-the-top Hollywood glamour and elegant, wearable shifts in predominately pastel tones. Ruffles pervaded the ultra-feminine collection — and voluminous tulle confections with three-dimensional floral trains exuded swanlike magnificence.
Fiery fluid gowns and florid translucent cat suits with majestic inky impressions were heightened by plume and opulent beadwork at Tony Ward. Pleated like modular origami, Ward’s lush, protracted, jewel tone silhouettes were evocative gossamer marvels. Like the scales of a phoenix, the Lebanese designer unravelled yellow-gold appliqué swerving around the base of flaxen skirts to create a mythical trompe l’oeil effect. Vermillion silk threads coated with cochineal ornamentations were as sharp as talons and strapless sapphire evening wear in silk and taffeta soared like expertly embellished wings.
Architectural lines formed textural sculptures at Serkan Cura’s exclusive runway show at Hôtel Vernet. Inspired by muse and dancer Lara Laquiz, Cura dressed her in a flesh-pink petticoat and skirt of 3D teddy lacing, topped off with a soft police helmet. Laquiz lingered on stage, striking dancer poses as one by one, models slowly exhibited impressive sculptured bodices. The show began with sharp, geometric formations and led to spiked bodysuits and masks entirely crafted from feathers. The Belgian-born designer of Turkish origins wrapped and bound silhouettes in criss-cross formations, only to liberate bodies in airy, feather coats.
Words / Chloe Rash and Sheri Chiu