Zuhair Murad Couture Fall Winter 2014 Paris
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Zuhair Murad's forte has been, for the past two decades, hands down, his second-skin evening dresses that impress on the red carpets. Kristen Stewart, Petra Nemcova and other starlets practically fall over themselves (metaphorically as the weighty beading undoubtedly anchors them) to slip into his designs.

Today, Murad was switching among two key themes: one, a geometric perception of deco which played particularly well with his bead-work; the other, organic fault lines scrawling along the front of gowns, embodied later in a colorful sparkling play suit, followed by its printed chiffon counterpart and further variations. Flashes of skin - or flesh colored tulle - provided a more contemporary sexiness to his curve-loving designs.

As a whole, it was a traditionalist vision of couture, in which everything feels larger than life. But that didn't make it a bad season. Murad's sincere appreciation of the female form made for a balanced, proportioned, youthful approach of the classics, while a three piece suit, a clay crepe jumpsuit or beaded blouson with a floppy skirt prefigured sportier options to come. So ensconced is he in the evening and red carpet niche that his very lovely daywear petters out almost unnoticed, and that's a shame.

It didn't have any pretense other than being glittering garments from a man immersed in a rarefying context where these are still a reality. What's the point, one might ask, but the number of devotees that crowd his front row easily answers that.

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