Friday Fierceness!

“La Nuit de la Couture” (Night Sewing)- Numéro Magazine #166 September 2015

Gown: Georges Hobeika Haute Couture. Image NUMÉRO MAGAZINE/NATHANIEL GOLDBERG

Model: Daria Strokous
Photographer: Nathaniel Goldberg
Stylist: Samuel Francois
Hair: Vi Sapyyapy
Makeup: Karim Rahman

Friday Fierceness!

“Riesgo en el Cuerpo (Risk in the Body)”- Harper’s Bazaar España September 2015

Gown, marabou shrug, jewels: Armani Privé. Image HARPER’S BAZAAR ESPAÑA/DAVID DUNAN

Model: Zlata Mangafić
Photographer: David Dunan
Stylist: Naty Abascal
Hair: Karim Belghiran
Makeup: Annabelle Petit

Friday Fierceness!

“Fall Starts Here” Harper’s Bazaar US September 2015

Gown: Alexander McQueen. Image HARPER’S BAZAAR/NATHANIEL GOLDBERG

Model: Karolin Wolter
Photographer: Nathaniel Goldberg
Stylist: Tom Van Dorpe
Hair: Vi Sappyapy
Makeup: Mathias Van Hooff

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

Maison Valentino and the Eternal city of Rome. Rome is the core of the Valentino brand. Its where Valentino Garavani founded his Maison Valentino atelier in 1960, and remains the global headquarters of the brand. Therefore, it’s fitting that the Valentino’s Fall 2015 Haute Couture show took place in its home- Rome.

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

Seven years ago, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli took the reins at Valentino, and in that time they’ve rarely designed a collection that hasn’t showcased their own Italian heritage in one way or form. By making the city of Rome the base of this season’s offering, the duo literally brought the collection home in grand style.

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

The city is the literal inspiration of the collection. “Rome is the place where we bring a lot of inspiration,” Ms. Chiuri said before the show, “You can open a door or you can go inside in a corner and find something you’ve never made in your life… you feel the history, the cinema, the church.”

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

The Italian Renaissance was clearly the show’s biggest theme, but rather than focusing on one of the past enlightened periods (the late Imperial, the Byzantine, the Medieval era, the 1400s, the 1600s), the designers concentrated on a different type of Renaissance- a modern one. “It’s kind of a new Renaissance,” Pierpaolo Piccioli noted, speaking of Italy today, but in truth he could have been commenting on the state of Maison Valentino itself.

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

Under their tenure, they have thrust Maison Valentino into a renaissance of its own, reinventing its classic aesthetic to make it one of the hottest, most watched and most lusted after brands in the fashion . Their unapologetically patriotic aesthetic is truly unique, combining intricate, old-world beauty with wide-ranging contrasting elements to create quirky, whimsical, and utterly beautiful garments that highlight the very best examples of Italian craftsmanship and luxury.

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

With this Couture show, the designers aimed to bring new depth to their oeuvre… and their hard work paid off. It was exquisite!

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

The show took place at sunset within the ocher walls of the Piazza Mignanelli, a previous show location of Maison Valentino. It was as perfect a setting as you could get, with the history and the life of the city (locals living in the apartments overlooking the square were hanging out of their windows to take it all in) pouring over the crowd as the show took place. As for the clothes; they were absolutely the location’s equal.

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

I said above that the designers strove to make this collection about modern Rome, but based firmly in its history. The clothing also reflected this with ancient silhouettes being adapted and rendered in a modern way. I have to give praise for their execution as it’s near impossible to render such an ancient city in a completely contemporary way, but they pulled it off beautifully. This location/ clothing approach allowed the designers to convey the idea of a timeless, ageless woman knows her roots and is confident in her style.

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

There were flowing shifts and sheaths that resembled togas, sweeping capes, embellished jackets, corseted gowns and looks patterned in stripes, graphic bands and patchwork that echoed the leather fringe of Roman armour. The runway styling matched perfectly- every look was worn with gladiator sandals, sculpted metal head pieces, while heavy golden jewellery (à la Alessandro Gaggio) wrought in the shape of wolves, griffins, bees, eagles and other traditionally “Romanesque” animals completed each ensemble.

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

The animal imagery played out on the clothing itself; eagles, gryphons and lions appeared almost as bas-relief patterns over silk net, an enormous beaded gryphon appeared on a sweeping cloak, wings and singular feathers appeared in embroidery patterns- there were even embellished jackets and capes covered in actual fluttering plumes (a gilded mid-length coat is particularly stunning!) These touches instilled the collection with a dreamy, almost mythical aura.

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

This mythical look was further enhanced with the inclusion of ancient Roman symbols- stylized patterns of wheat, flowers, vines and olives, intricate stars and geometric graphic prints that resembled ancient armour abounded.

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

The craft on view was masterful: some looks displayed intricate workings of tulle, point d’esprit and lace, others were intricately adorned with glimmering beads and appliqués- more still were graphically patterned in metallic brocade weaves and lush embroidery. There was a sheer tulle cape inset with leather flowers, and a black silk sheaf covered in a trellis of crocheted vines, leaves and olives… the list goes on, and it was gorgeous!

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

Black was a dominant colour, a nod to Italy’s acclaimed film noir genre and maybe to the the more sinister parts of Rome’s past. Colour was introduced by way of a vibrant red (it is Valentino after all), deep green and blue and glimmering metallic gold, but these looks were few and far between. The moody elements shone especially when juxtaposed with the collection’s overly romantic fare, diffusing the sweetness and keping the tone of the show firmly engaging and cohesive. The black undoubtedly added supplementary strength to the idea of the pure, absolute elegance that the designers wished to convey.

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

The show’s guests very rightly gave it a vibrant standing ovation. This is one of the best Valentino Haute Couture collections in recent years- perhaps even the finest work that Ms. Chiuri and Mr. Piccioli have done to date. It certainly was my favourite show of the entire Fall 2015 couture schedule. There were no gimmicks or excess fluff to be seen on the runway- just straightforward, timelessly elegant and exquisitely gorgeous fashion.

And judging from the response that’s exactly what the Valentino customer wants. It was fantastic!

Xx- Ana

Friday Fierceness!

The Shining- Vogue UK September 2015

Dress: Marni, Blouse: Gucci, Socks: Simone Rocha, Shoes: Chameleon Accessories Boutique, Headress: Lucinda Chambers, Jewels: Marni, Amrapali, Joomi Lim. Image VOGUE UK/PAOLO ROVERSI

Model: Paula Galecka
Photographer: Paolo Rorversi
Stylist: Lucinda Chambers
Hair: Christiaan Houtenbos
Makeup: Linda Cantello

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall 2015

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

Elie Saab. How I love his work!

Mr. Saab is a champion at what he does: transforming women of the world into princesses, one gorgeous gown at a time. With his theatrical silhouettes, intricate adornments, dazzling accessories and dramatic runway shows, Mr. Saab has proven his worth as one of the top couturiers on the planet, while his shows have become staple events on the annual Couture schedules.

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

Ellie Saab has been doing the princess look for over thirty years, and while it’s a formula that may have gotten a little repetitive, I’m certainly not complaining. If you’re like me and are constantly enamoured by Mr. Saab’s gorgeous work, then brace yourself to be swept away by his latest couture collection!

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

Fall 2015 was a particularly romantic outing for Mr. Saab, as he is celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary this year. Mrs. Saab walked down the aisle in a gorgeous gilded gown created by her husband- so understandably, this image provided the leitmotif for his Fall 2015 offering, which was brimming with metallic fabrics and gorgeous honey-coloured ornamentation.

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

It was a grandiose affair- ball gowns have always made up the bulk of Elie Saab shows, but this season the designer dispensed entirely with daywear and cocktail ensembles and focused entirely on evening. Shapes ranged the entire spectrum of the princess look from slender fluted sheaths to full-on Cinderella frocks, with some fabulously regal Arabic additions thrown in: khaftans, shalwars (tunics and trousers), capes and vests that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in Princess Jasmine’s wardrobe.

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

It was FABulous!

Almost every look seemed to be coated in liquid aurum, but the supporting colour palette was just as luxurious- metallic silver, blush pink, pale peridot green, aquamarine, deep jewel tones of teal, violet, burgundy and lots of luxurious sable. Mr. Saab developed the gold concept to incorporate a Byzantine focus, a perfect pairing that gave the collection a premise on which to build gowns of shimmering lace and fur.

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

Cape- backed looks, butterfly wings and full-on trains added further grandeur, as did delicate golden tiaras and encrusted clutches that the model’s sported on the runway. The result was one of unsurpassed lightness. This airiness provided Mr. Saab with an ample base on which to apply intricate floral adornments, which he did with a lighter touch than previously seen. While the results were by no means sparsely decorated, they were a subdued version of Mr. Saab’s elaborate work.

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

Sweeping cuts aside, the reduced ornamentation allowed the clothing to move and flow as if they were almost weightless, thus giving the illusion that the garments were floating around the model’s bodies like clouds. It was a beautiful effect, and one that radiated a sense of grace and delicacy as only a master’s work can.

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

As always, Elie Saab has delivered a fabulous couture collection for Fall 2015- one that fully delivers everything that brand devotees have come to love and expect from the designer. It’s not ground-breaking fashion, but really, who expects the avant-garde from Elie Saab? Mr. Saab has always focused on beauty, and on creating garments that are and that make his clients feel gorgeous. This collection delivered.

Who can really ask for more?

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image WWD/GIOVANNI GIANNONI

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall 2015 was utterly gorgeous!

Xx – Ana

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall 2015

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image NOWFASHION/REGIS COLIN BERTHELIER

I have always been a fan of Schiaparelli’s surrealist take on haute design. Long loving the work that took place under the direction of Marco Zanini, and then impressed by the direction of brand ambassador, Farida Khelfa, I was looking forward to seeing what new design head Bertrand Guyon had to offer for his debut couture show.

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image NOWFASHION/REGIS COLIN BERTHELIER

Until now, Mr. Guyon has been relatively unknown outside Paris’ haute couture ateliers, but he does have years of experience in the workshops of Maison Valentino, Maison Givenchy (under the direction of Monsieur Hubert himself) and from collaborations with John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. To top it all off, Mr. Guyon is a graduate of the prestigious École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, so he is more than qualified to fulfil the role of design head at Maison Schiaparelli. He certainly lived up to all the expectation!

Put simply, Mr. Guyon’s expertise came out in full force for Fall 2015.

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image NOWFASHION/REGIS COLIN BERTHELIER

The designer called his first collection “Le Théâtre d’Elsa” in homage to the surreal loving baroness of shock. “I knew a little of Elsa Schiaparelli,” Mr. Guyon said of his knowledge before coming to the house. “…now I know that I don’t know her… she didn’t do only extravagant things. She also did quite minimal… what interested me were these austere, simple, lesser known silhouettes, which don’t immediately remind us of Elsa Schiaparelli.” It was this minimalism that he focused on for Fall, choosing to base his collection in understated garments that referenced the house’s 1930’s heyday.

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image NOWFASHION/REGIS COLIN BERTHELIER

This translated into garments with a demure appeal, with Mr. Guyon’s lighter hand replacing Marco Zanini’s zany vibe with a more sedate and feminine approach that reflected his theatrical, vintage inspirations. Schiaparelli‘s latest collection proves that fun and elegance can coincide in perfect harmony: sharp tailoring tempered eccentric elements to maintain an air of glitzy Old- Hollywood glamour, while gorgeous (and cheeky) ornamentation payed homage to trademark Schiaparelli quirkiness.

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image NOWFASHION/REGIS COLIN BERTHELIER

Silhouettes reflected the elegance of the 1930’s, with clean lines and classic cuts that heightened the transitional impact of the collection. Far from being a historic review of Ms. Schiaparelli’s penchant for surrealism, the designer concentrated on luxurious fabrics and technical construction to create fabulous clothing with flatteringly elegant, womanly cuts.

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image NOWFASHION/REGIS COLIN BERTHELIER

The runway opened with a selection of tailored separates that could easily transition from day to night. Trim trousers, button- front shirts, swing skirts, chiffon blouses, patterned jackets and embellished asymmetrical dresses all appeared on the runway, peeking out from under fabulous embroidered capes, beaded brocade jackets and patterned fur shrugs.

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image NOWFASHION/REGIS COLIN BERTHELIER

As the show progressed into bolder territory, so did the range of color, print, texture and adornment. A hyper-pigmented fur jacket here, a richly embroidered metallic brocade there, a delicate hand-painted motif on gossamer silk… the list goes on. Mr. Guyon turned his hand to everything from silk biker jackets and quilted opera coats to mohair skirts and sequinned tunics. The results were all fabulous.

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image NOWFASHION/REGIS COLIN BERTHELIER

Of course Madam Elsa’s signature motifs (pierced hearts, stylized eyes, keyholes, stars, faces) were all on display, appearing as woven fabric patterns and 3-D embroidery and as funky statement jewelry. Yet amongst all the reverent homage, there were touches of modern art and fashion: glimmering biker jackets, sheer maxi dresses and t-shirt tunics to name a few. Ms. Shiaparelli was known for her collaborations with artists and these touches heavily referenced the works of artists Marcel Vertes, Christian Bérard and Nick Cave. Indeed Mr. Guyon’s best work was seen when he married his own sophisticated aesthetic with Shiaparelli’s surrealism to create subtle and intriguing looks.

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image NOWFASHION/REGIS COLIN BERTHELIER

Mr. Guyon toned the surrealism down for the finale, choosing to premiere a selection of spine-tinglingly beautiful evening gowns to close the show. These looks (elegant flowing dresses covered in hand-painted prints and trompe l’oeil embellishments) were relatively plain in comparison to the rest of the collection, but they were haunting in their impact.

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image NOWFASHION/REGIS COLIN BERTHELIER

The collection was in many ways a resounding success. Apart from being exceedingly beautiful, it was an offering that paid respectful (but not too literal) homage to the spirit and legacy of a legendary house- Maison Schiaparelli. With such an iconic and unique designer as inspiration, it’s easy for a designer to get lost in all the eccentricity, but Mr. Guyon navigated his way through the challenge with a deft hand. The results may have come off as a little bit safe at times- especially following the high-impact work of Mr. Zaniani, but it was a beautiful and strong first showing.

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall 2015. Image NOWFASHION/REGIS COLIN BERTHELIER

As is often the case when a new designer takes over a fashion house, I think that Mr. Guyon’s next season will be more suggestive of his true vision for the brand, thus allowing for more of his own design influence to appear on the runway. In time, I’m certain that Mr. Guyon possesses the ability to make Maison Schiaparelli as special and influential as it once was.

Xx- Ana