Haute Couture Week in Review: Hard Edge Part 1

Alexander Vauthier Haute Couture

Alexandre Vauthier Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image INDIGITALIMAGES

Alexandre Vauthier is a designer whose name has become synonymous with pop- culture royalty. With a client list that reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of modern Hollywood, he’s no stranger to the inner circles of the world’s avant-garde fashion elite. Spring 2015 marked the designer’s first Couture collection since being awarded the official haute couture appellation by the Chambre Syndicale, a title that in the fashion world, is an honour that ranks right up there with a royal endorsement.

Alexandre Vauthier Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image FASHIONISING

It goes without saying that for his Spring 2015 Couture collection, Monsieur Vauthier was determined to prove that his new status was rightly earned. He focused the unusual manipulation of exotic elements; hence a dress of rippling eelskin that looked as effortlessly wearable as satin, flounces of crocodile skin adorning a skirt, a jumpsuit that turned out to be made of minutely hand-perforated pony and a pair of slouchy, low- slung trousers. Each piece must have been insanely labor-intensive!

Alexandre Vauthier Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image FASHIONISING

The designer maintained his design aesthetic of a bombshell ideal with thigh- high slits, plunging necklines and cutouts that exposed sexy glimpses of hip and thigh. Throughout, he also paid homage to his famous, glamorous clients by adding diva pizazz with overflowing sequins and gigantic crystals. There were glitzy lace minis sprinkled with sparkles, as were a pair of skintight midi- length trousers. There were gowns made entirely of sequins and some pieces were entirely encrusted with hand- embroidered stones. Give me more cuz I LOVE this!

Alexandre Vauthier Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image FASHIONISING

I have really one critique. Monsieur Vauthier later said that the collection was meant to convey the idea of protection- hence his runway lineup featured restraining strips of contrasting fabric that resembled harnesses and posture girdles. Accessories, particularly his necklaces and belts, likened neck braces and physiotherapy corsets, and as for all the crystals used- they’ve long been seen as protection against negative influences. To me, this air or restriction was the only off-setting note in a show that otherwise pulsed with a fabulous, sexy vibe.

Alexandre Vauthier Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image FASHIONISING

Odd notes aside, Alexandre Vauthier Spring 2015 show ranks amongst my favourite collections shown during Couture Week. It oozes sex and sparkle and was so masterfully executed that almost every look seemed effortless. I can just see the starlets lining up to wear this season’s clothes. THIS is definitely wearable couture, and that’s why I fell so hard for this collection. Alexandre Vauthier Spring 2015 is a Haute Couture show well done!

Alexandre Vaulthier Haute Couture Spring 2015.[caption width="683" align="alignnone"]

Maison Margiela

[caption width="1722" align="alignnone"] Miason Margiela Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image INDIGITALIMAGES

Martin Margiela has always had a fixation with the forlorn; things often overlooked, discarded, overused or even scorned have often served as inspiration for his Artisinal brand. He has long seen beauty in the wretched and has worked to make them beautiful. It’s a tricky task to do each season and it takes a head designer who is as much an alchemist as a visionary showman to truly make fashion magic. Therefore, creative director John Galliano is without a doubt a perfect fit, as the brand’s aesthetic satisfies his need for beauty, while- and as much as- it’s avant garde attitude inspires his creativity.

John Galliano for Maison Margiela, by Craign McDean for Vogue US February 2014. Image VOGUE MAGAZINE/CRAIG MCDEAN/HEARST PUBLISING

Spring 2015 marked Mr. Galliano’s re-introduction to fashion since the Fall/winter 2011 Dior show. Following some ill thought, horribly disrespectful comments, Mr. Galliano has basically had the world against him, so this season’s offering had to embody more than just a new collection- it had to be a means of rebirth, both for the brand and the designer himself.

Miason Margiela Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image BACKSTAGEAT/SENATUS MAGAZINE

The clothes fit perfectly with that vital sense of rejuvenation that is the house’s staple, while the show fully displayed that sense of decayed opulence that is synonymous with classic Margiela. Deconstruction returned with gowns comprised of tattered ribbons over net, tattered streams of net appliqué trailed off jackets, and hotpants dripped swags of beaded fringe. Found objects- literally discarded pieces of civilization- were used as a means to inject wit and dimension into the decaying opulence seen on the runway. Mr. Galliano’s off-kilter humour was seen throughout the show, subtly interspersed with those masterful details that we’ve come to associate with his own brand of couture. Hence tiny plastic cars were incorporated into a collage of crystals and beads on one gown, another featured a mosaic breastplate of mirrors and glass tiles, glass beads and crystals, pearls were paired with drapes of Mardi- Gras beads and paste jewels, a series of dresses featured large three-dimensional faces made of painted shells across the front…the list goes on.

Miason Margiela Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image BACKSTAGEAT/SENATUS MAGAZINE

In contrast with all these rich visuals, there was that signature Margiela sense of minimalism seen in a series of simple black suits and stunning red sheaf dresses seen towards the show’s end. These pieces were the stabilizing factors- palette cleaners that came after a decadent course of visuals.

Miason Margiela Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image BACKSTAGEAT/SENATUS MAGAZINE

Maison Margiela’s Spring 2015 show was truly captivating. While irreverent, nightmarish and a little grotesque, the collection effused a strong sense of luxury and extravagance. It was minimalist yet decadent, hauntingly beautiful and a collection that will leave you thinking long after the season has wrapped up. This show proves that regardless of personal faults, the artistry and talent of a great designer can’t be overlooked. John Galliano’s back and he’s found a new home at Maison Margiela. I for one can’t wait to see more!

Maison Margiela Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image INDIGITALIMAGES

Dior Haute Couture

Dior Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image INDIGITALIMAGES

Spring 2015 marked the beginning of new era for Maison Dior- for the first time in his position as creative director, Raf Simons strove to assert his own influence on the iconic ‘Dior look.’ He’s keen on changing public perceptions of the brand and is determined to make the House of Dior- particularly it’s couture line, more relevant to the tastes of the wider world. Basically, he wants to update Dior’s look (I’m not sure what I feel about this). To do this he turned to the genius that is David Bowie (love this).

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David Bowie is the undisputed chameleon of the music world. His ability to reinterpret himself through the decades has exulted him far above status of a great musician into the category of being one of pop culture’s biggest icons. Through his career, David Bowie has come to represent something more than just a man; he’s become an idea- a means by which others can be inspired to reinvent themselves… and it’s this aspect that Raf Simons tapped into when designing Dior’s Spring 2015 collection.

Dior Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image DIOR

Dior has become synonymous with ladylike glamour- and that ladylike aspect is exactly what Raf Simons is trying to change. Spring 2015 was a rebirth of sorts- not just in a new creative direction for the house, but for the designer himself since this is the first collection that he really pushed to make his own aesthetic displayed. Rather than turning directly to house archives as a basis for his collection, Monseiur Simons relied on Dior’s essence to influence his designs. Thus, rather than reinterpreting the iconic staples and silhouettes that are Dior’s genetic building blocks, he experimented with building blocks of another kind: bodysuits, shift dresses, tunics and swing coats.

Dior Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image SONNY VANDEVELDE/W MAGAZINE

There were layered looks comprised of leggings and minidresses under jackets, mini skirts and shorts were worn over bodysuits or by themselves with thigh- high boots. For the first time in a long time there was plastic on a Dior Couture runway in the form of embellished opera- length coats. There were long tunic dresses, sequinned jumpers and metallic minidresses with angular cutouts. There was a whole series of flared dresses and skirts of varying length, each minutely pleated and boasting details of precisely arranged hand-embroidered ribbon or embellished lace overlays.

Dior Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image SONNY VANDEVELDE/W MAGAZINE

Monseiur Simons’ vision spanned decades: his looks captured the romance of couture salons in the 1950s, the swinging experimentalism of the 60s, the laissez faire attitude of the 70s… even the space- aged visions of the 80s, all rolled up and combined with a futuristic flair of embellished plastic. The result was a stunning effort that spanned time and space, all set to a soundtrack of a performer who has always done exactly that with his music.

Dior Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image SONNY VANDEVELDE/W MAGAZINE

It was a fabulous and sophisticated show- pure Bowie- and surprisingly pure Dior as well. Spring 2015 was undeniably as beautiful and cosmopolitan as Christian Dior shows always are, but this season pulsed with a spirit renewed. It was the first time in a long while that a show actually kicked with a spunky, youthful, almost live-wired attitude. Let’s just say that for Spring 2015, Maison Dior rocked!

Dior Haute Couture Spring 2015. Image INDIGITALIMAGES

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