For the past four months, the global pandemic we’ve been living in has been disrupting our daily lives, forcing industries to re-invent their plans for the year. Amongst them, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode decided to schedule its usual Haute Couture Week digitally, on an exclusive online platform.
Nostalgic surrealism meets unrealism at Schiaparelli
This morning, Schiaparelli kicked-off the week with an unusual behind-the-scenes video starring its Creative Director, Daniel Roseberry who, after taking a quick trip back to the US, found himself stuck in isolation. “Everyone has their own lockdown story, some harrowing, some tragic, some utterly lonely. The luckiest of us have been able to spend this time in nature, far removed from city life. My own experience was shared with millions of other Manhattanites: It was privileged, but nothing extraordinary. What was extraordinary, however, was the ability to walk into Washington Square Park on a Monday morning and sketch out an entire Couture collection,” explained the designer in an Instagram post.
Glimpses of reds, pinks and blues mix with structured silhouettes, feminine décolletés and delicate shapes appeared in a series of nostalgic sketches, reminiscent of Maison’s surrealistic aesthetic – an iconic trait for Schiaparelli. “Everything has changed, but imagination, and the drive to create, has never been more relevant, or more profound. This collection is a tribute to that impulse to create. It’s also why the world of Schiaparelli has never felt more reflective of our time. Elsa’s commitment to the surreal, her fascination with inverting our everyday reality, has never been more timely. This collection is full of tributes to her work and her obsessions, done in my way, on new terms.”
From Game of Thrones to Couture: Iris Van Herpen’s presents ‘Transmotion'
Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen is perhaps known to many for her extraordinary ability to merge technological innovation and artisanal handiwork. From preparing to launch her creation in cyberspace to her pioneering use of laser cutting, 3D printing and digital fabrication, the Dutch designer has been crossing the paths between traditional and experimental for a while now.
In preparation for her show in January, this season Van Herpen decided to present only one look. “The concept of creation stems from the notion of growth and regeneration. The seemingly simple seed is the embodiment of life and the potential that comes with it. A seed embedded upside down in dirt still sees the seedling growing the right way up. Motion and fluidity involved in the formation of tessellations highlight the capacity to shift between negatives and positives,” said the designer on Instagram.
Filmed by director Ryan McDaniels, the video, titled ‘Transmotion,’ starred Game of Thrones actress Carice Van Houten wearing a diaphanous white gown in silk organza. Inspired by Dutch artist MC Escher, Van Herpen created a geometrical dress following symmetry in both its axis and without context.
In the film, Van Houten drifted amongst the lights which reflected against her, while translucent layers of pleats constructed to look like petals revealed crystalline filaments sprouting from the heart of the dress. Black branches of duchess satin were laser-cut, hand-stitched and form the central roots of the garment, and lack seed-like crystals punctuated the tip of each stamen like strand.
Mythology and Miniatures: Dior presents 'Le Mythe Dior’
“This collection was conceived during the lockdown. Therefore we knew we wouldn’t be able to do a show, so it was immediately clear to me that my references would be tied to the dream and fantasy world,” explained Maria Grazia Chiuri in an official video on the brand’s Instagram detailing how her ideas crystallized during the lockdown, the importance of savoir-faire, and the influence of female Surrealist artists and the Théâtre de la Mode.
Debuting a fifteen-minute long surrealist feature film named ‘Le Mythe Dior’ by acclaimed Italian director Matteo Garrone, whom the designer had loved for his fantastical 2015 film, ‘The Tale of Tales,’ Chiuri presented a film which detailed the journey of a magical trunk through a land full of mermaids, wood nymphs, fairies and statues.
Carried around by twin couriers, this trunk full of a collection of miniature doll-sized Dior dresses was presented to each mythological creature who was able to choose a dress of their liking from the selection. Diaphanous was the word to describe the collection: a series which wove in some of Chiuri’s favourite Surrealist muses – from Lee Miller, Dora Maar, Leonora Carrington, Jacqueline Lamba and Dorothea Tanning – into embroidered tulle and pleated chiffon, in meticulously patch-worked pastel lace turning fairy tales into real life.
The film also referenced the Théâtre de la Mode, the touring collaboration between designers and artists created to raise funds for war survivors and to help revive the French fashion industry in the aftermath of World War II. “The idea at the time served to promote the idea that regardless of the war, the French Haute Couture was still alive,” stated Chiuri. Fit enough to say that this collection – albeit the narrowness of the film’s cast – definitely demonstrated that regardless of EverythingEverything fashion can still perpetuate a dream.
From Beirut to Paris: Rabih Kayrouz’s essentialism
The Lebanese fashion designer decided to take a step back this year by presenting just one look. With a 5 minutes video, produced and directed by Nasri Sayegh, the brand shows the making of the look; from a sketch in the designer’s base in Beirut at 320 Rue Gouraud to its creation at 38 Boulevard Raspail, in his Paris atelier. The film, titled 320/38 in reference to the two locations, starts in Beiruit and shows an apt parallel between the sketching and the background music.
From birds chipping to cars, a mixture of sounds intertwines with sharp snippets of an intimate construction of the dress, subtly alternating as if they were in a constant dance. The short film narrates the story of the dress – one that builds on a design that Kayrouz began developing two seasons ago. At last, the film shows us the final product: an orange gown made entirely of ribbons that perfectly moulds to the model’s body. A mixture of creativity and architecture created a hybrid dress whose skirt’s ribbed undulations adapt through movement and space.