Loris Azzaro Couture Fall Winter 2014 Paris
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RAWR! The penultimate show of Paris' busy couture schedule was Loris Azzaro, where co-creative directors Alvaro Castejon and Arnaud Maillard continued their reboot of the brand by this off-calendar presentation where each look name started with an R, reading like a constant purr. After three decades of absence from the couture circuit, the house's high evening identity is embraced once again as the duo called out to the most eveningwear of big cats, the black panther.

Opening with two surprisingly demure long black dresses - their appeal was through varying texture, not opacity -, the show went on to enforce the house codes of slinky silhouettes, shimmer, and skin.  A dash of masculine made the outerwear shine; feline man-eaters know to keep their prey's sharply tailored blazer or leather perfecto after dinner. Unabashedly sultry, there was plenty of flesh to flash through the stylized and crystallized tears, claws ripping at the breast and hip on a dark blue number, or the symmetrical slashes that bared strategic expanses. But it evoked the ripple of muscle under fur, rather than brasher displays.

There wasn't much that could really pass as daywear, although those declensions are no doubt available for in sales showrooms, but who would look to Azzaro to be a wallflower anyways. Even the more restrained jumpsuits had tumbling lengths of pleated chiffon to add drama to their tail. As far as this season goes, Castejon and Maillard remained on the straight and narrow when it came to being on-brand even if a few outliers could have had their claws trimmed. "We are trying to bring back the energy that we loved, a rock'n'roll attitude with a beautiful woman," they explained backstage after the show. The move to the couture schedule gave more substance to their insistence on dove-tailing into glamorous occasions. Indeed, the collection was just the kind of star-powered body-skimming that can be seen on red carpets around the world, and perhaps that's what Maillard meant when he added they were considering "women of the world".

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