An Evening at the Opera

PARIS HAUTE COUTURE: SPRING/SUMMER 2016


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Parisian socialites and high society ladies seemed to have inspired many a Couture designer this season, as the collections destined for next spring were tinted with romanticism, aristocratic elegance and a slightly historicizing spirit.

At Chanel, apart from the house’s signature tweed suits with even longer skirts and jackets with bishop sleeves, and the somewhat incongruous cork platform shoes, there were numerous beautiful satin evening gowns in muted tones, a variety of beiges, sand, ivory, taupe and ecru, as well as a few models in mocha, white and pink, that were embroidered with sequins and feathers and embellished by gorgeous chignons, all of which translated into the long lean Parisian silhouettes that were much-loved by van Dongen.

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The Dior collection oscillated between heritage cuts, like redingotes, frills, floral motifs or bar jackets, and a minimal sobriety with numerous monochromatic tops, layered, pleated and knotted asymmetrical skirts, and sculptural collars on spectacular coats and dresses.

As for Stephane Rolland, the poetic names given to each of his models, all inspired by famous Belle Epoque operas, like Berlioz’ La Damnation de Faust, Massenet’s Thaïs, or Puccini’s Tosca, set the tone for an utterly romantic collection, as the long, ethereal gowns in white, black and nude tones, exuded a very distinguished Proustian charm, indeed.

For his new couture collection, Franck Sorbier admits to being inspired by the Musée Guimet’s Asian art collection, especially its From Nô to Mata Hari exhibition, but also, Rodin’s Cambodian dancers watercolours, as well as Angkor sculptures, all evolving around the theme of love. With his usual impressive artistry, Sorbier dressed dancers in sophisticated gold, bronze and silvery organza, lace, tulle, satin and lamé outfits, thus transforming them into moving sculptures, in this beautiful tribute to ballet and opera tradition.

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Georges Hobeika seemed to dress young ladies for a ball, as he presented evening satin toilettes in pastels – tangerine, light purple and mint – adorned with crystal embroidery. Fresh and feminine gowns for delicate femmes fleurs, indeed!

This season, Elie Saab fantasized about the wardrobe of a turn of the century Englishwoman on a trip to India. This resulted in Victorian-inspired light lace dresses, sari-like elements, tiaras and embroidered vests, all in magical silvery purple hues, grey and off-white tones.

Last but not least, at Giambattista Valli, the designer’s floral and infinitely cute style prevailed – who wouldn’t fall for his mesmerizing floral mini-dresses, after all– though cuts took a slightly historical twist, as Victorian neck collars, balloon sleeves, Empire busts, oversized bows, long white gloves and crinoline dresses made a guest appearance.

Louise Kissa
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