Forget about Christmas, Couture Fashion Week is definitely the most wonderful time of year. This year the calendar seemed particularly full and the spectrum ran from super frothy to outlandishly imaginative (from printed turnips from Schiaparelli to the cubist inspired fabric sculptures at Viktor & Rolf) but as always there was a breathtakingly beautiful array of gowns. Here’s my rundown of the very best of Couture Fashion Week!
Ralph & Russo
They may be the new kids on the block but Ralph & Russo have quickly made a name for themselves creating beautiful showstoppers with a call to the golden age of style. Stand out pieces included a stunning waterfall hemmed gown finished with embellished hand painted flowers that felt like a true throwback to Dior’s new look as well as more modern, sexier pieces such as a Chantilly lace pencil skirted dress with an oversized peplum. Pretty pretty pretty!
Elie Saab had his mind fixed on the east this season as he took inspiration from English woman Lilah Wingfield taking a turn of the century trip to the subcontinent. “India is her backdrop and her inspiration for a new blend of formalism and ease, opulence and elementary lines,” said the collection notes and the couture that followed was an opulent nod to the nations heritage without veering towards costume. Sari inspired drapes were married with Edwardian silhouettes to a striking effect. The necklines were high and the beading was lavish resulting in a deeply romantic yet other worldly collection.
Whilst Saab looked to the east, Giambattista Valli looked closer to home this season, paying homage to his beloved Paris and taking inspiration from the beautiful gardens that decorate the city. His clientele was always been at the younger end of the spectrum and this youthful spirit has always imbibed his collections with a certain joie di vivre. Whilst many saw the voluminous, florally detailed gowns as a come hither to the heads at Dior looking for a worthy replacement for Raf Simons, the kicky short hemlines and frothy tulle confections were definitely dreamt up for the Valli girl, who’ll undoubtedly wear them to kick up a riot.
Come what may, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino can always be relied upon to deliver a collection of divine gowns that despite they beauty always remain fresh and current. This season’s inspiration was venetian-pagan romanticism; the models wandering barefoot and nymph like with golden snakes weaved through their hair. Their use of velvet was particularly remarkable, pleated, painted and appliqued in the richest of hues resulting in some truly stand out gowns that our favourite starlets will no doubt be donning to grace a red carpet come the Oscars.