“In every creature, even the darkest, most evil ones, there subsists a hint of light,” said Julien Fournié as he and his team put the finishing touches on the final gown of his then upcoming couture show.
It’s no surprise then, that the designer, a master of drama, staged his 11th runway show in the Oratory of the Louvre. It was an extraordinarily theatrical show, in which Mr. Fournié sought to plunge his audience straight into the dark and dangerous world of truly dramatic creatures- seductive and mysterious women.
For the Fall/winter 2015 Collection, Premières Pulsions (First Impulses), Monsieur Fournié drew upon the mystique of the vampire enchantress as envisioned by William Blake, David Lynch and Francis Ford Coppola’s cinematic adaption of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The late addition of Angelina Jolie as Maleficent (who wouldn’t find inspiration with that character’s portrayal?) produced a collection that is both vibrant and beautiful for it’s darkness.
This a lesson in pure glamour. By stripping shapes down to their barest lines, Julien Fournié produced a captivating vision in startlingly simple and beautiful terms. By keeping lines clean, the fabrics luxurious, and the details unexpectedly lush, this collection updates the idea of the seductress as being an oversexed vamp, to that of an ethereal creature that is sensual, fragile- but extraordinarily glamorous all at once.
The show started simply enough, with Mr. Fournié taking full advantage of the opportunity to showcase pieces from his upcoming Spring/summer 2015 Collection for Paris’s Printemps Department Store and his soon to be released shoe collection for Fashion Lab. Here he showcased his separates; pencil skirts, silk blouses, layered jackets and trousers, before moving on to his dramatic couture looks.
Let me take a minute to mention these prêt-à-porter pieces.
It was a smart decision for Mr. Fournié to present these at the beginning of the show. Not only did it provide the perfect allegory for bridging fantasy and reality, it also helped to build anticipation for his upcoming collection. These off-the-rack pieces ground the collection into the realities of contemporary luxury wear (which is basically all about sales) while offering a streamlined selection of wardrobe-building possibilities. It’s a good move, and from judging the fantastic array of wearable items shown, I can say that this is an area with real growth potential for the house.
Afterwards, the runway changed to one swathed in shadows, with almost every possible shade of black being the major colour. Rendered in net, lace, chiffon and silk, and coated in iridescent finishes, black took on a whole new dimension in terms of texture and shade. By showcasing so basic a colour in such an imaginative way, Mr. Fournié truly conveyed the of the beauty of shadows and the glimmer of light that persists in darkness. Its all simply gorgeous.
Then, Julien Fournié further amplified the effect by juxtaposing his shadowy blacks with vibrant pops of fuchsia, butter yellow, emerald and acid green and sapphire blue, As I said before- drama! These brighter inclusions were not without their dark embellishments; black returned here in the form of graphic prints, lace cutouts, crystal embroidery, and feathered trims. It may sound like a lot, but trust me, these theatrical trimmings made the collection.
There was also a little practicality included in the details- a clever snap closure concept that was both ornamental and inventive banished the need for fussy zippers and hooks. It’s a pretty cool concept, and I hope that it catches on with other designers!
The tailoring was impressive; the long, clean lines and body-skimming fabrics showed the female body off to the best degree. Plunging V-necks that extend to the waist and sharp slits that allow just a hint of the thigh to be seen, guarantee Mr. Fournié’s clients will be showstoppers. It’s very sexy, but never too much.
By pairing such risqué details with gracefully fluted skirts, cascading waterfall sleeves and soft, flowing fabrics, Julien Fournié rendered the concept of the dark enchantress in an updated, thoroughly glam form.
By stripping away the fussy details and presenting his vision in stark drama Julien Fournié perfectly demonstrated that even the wicked have a soft, delicate side.