The Caped Crusaders of Couture

Couture, by its very bespoke and personal nature, tends not to lend itself to trends. That sort of defeats the point. But, this season, there is an overriding prevalence of one so far: the cape. Which is also in some ways quite perfect because when does one get to wear a cape in real life? And when does one get to wear couture in real life? They go hand in hand and are best done together.

 

The Ralph & Russo Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2016 show, Paris, by Anna Palermo for NOWFASHION

 

We clocked them most at Ralph & Russo, the British-based couture label from Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo, where they billowed to substantial effect, splayed out dragon-fly style or more controlled and sculpting a backline, perfect for the red carpet twist-and-turn shot. The duo continued doing what they do best: making the dreams of the women in their front row come true – there were smiles and almost tears. Capes here are sophisticated.

 

The Ralph & Russo Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2016 show, Paris, by Anna Palermo for NOWFASHION

 

Of late, fashion shows don’t show off how the clothes move. At couture, they should. Because you need to see that detail and craftsmanship – that, after all, is what it’s all about. And when you’re sporting a cape, you need to show off its superhero potential. Step forward Tony Ward: his gowns had the girls doing a swoop of the arm to show off their feathery or sequin-splashed swoosh.

 

The Tony Ward Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2016 show, Paris, by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION

 

Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika has been a regular on the couture calendar since 2001 and he specialises in a traditional sort of elegant femininity: sparkles and florals and bows. It’s pretty and shines all over. Here he offset his Cinderella gowns with sprawling capes that draped to become trains – which more than one of the models had difficulty in navigating the stairs in.

 


The Giambattista Valli Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2016 show, Paris, by Régis Colin-Berthelier for NOWFASHION

 

Riffs and nods to the magic piece of material came at Alexis Mabille for shoulder-on-show cuts, while at Giambattista Valli, his beautiful babydoll dresses with their frothy sleeves and short skirts intermittently boasted flyaway wafts of skirt to trail behind. 

This was perhaps the best non-cape way to do them. It just depends on how much of a fashion super hero you want to be.

 

Read our latest features & Haute-Couture fashion week reports in NOWMagazine.

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