Versace Couture Spring/Summer 2014
Hedi Slimane closed men’s week in Paris on Sunday night with a tongue-in-cheek show for Saint Laurent, featuring beautiful conservative day wear and glitzy evening gear for men for his collection of rockerbilly kids from Los Angeles, who wore straight suits with an attitude and skinny trousers and leopard-skin bomber jackets with panache.
An hour later across town, at the Versace Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2014 show, Lady Gaga, was in the spotlight, sitting front row for the opening show of the haute couture season which was inspired by Grace Jones.
Lady Gaga posed backstage with models after the event, wearing her own custom-made version of the looks Donatella sent down the runway, in this collection devoted to the elegance and power of the contemporary goddess.
Models walked in seductive, full-length silk jersey dresses that draped across the body, sometimes revealing a slither of bare back. But the head was shrouded and mysterious, decked in elegant hoods, a la Jones, that looked like something from an old Noir film.
Legs were everywhere, revealed through the slit of a long dress or through a ruched skirt that slit up above the knees for these sexy women who wore revealing power jackets and dresses with sheer panels that exposed the skin without it looking overly youthful.
Schiaparelli Couture Spring/Summer 2014
In an entirely different approach to couture, the Versace show was followed on Monday morning in Paris with the first Schiaparelli haute couture show in over sixty years, designed by Marco Zanini who is overseeing the newly revived brand.
In a small venue situated close to the Schiap. headquarters on Place Vendome, Mr. Zanini sent down the runway an eclectic collection of outfits, both modern and luxurious, original and in a sense low key for couture, save for some playful embellishments in tune with the late Elsa Schiaparelli’s vision. Think over-sized balloon like sleeves and obscure hats.
Models walked in flat sandals, decorated in what looked like feathers, in a twist that Mr. Zanini said backstage was in reference to Schiaparelli’s non-conformist women. “We need confident women,” he said.
Milliner Stephen Jones created hats that sometimes looked like works of modern art a la Schiaparelli, and Mr. Zanini composed both masculine and feminine silhouettes: both modern and a little old-worldy, from a black wool tuxedo, with white ruffles spilling out from beneath the jacket, worn with over-long trousers brushing the tops of the sandals, to a goddess-like gold lurex short-suit, worn with a flowing blue chiffon robe that looked young and Riviera and old Hollywood movie star at the same time.
Alexis Mabille Couture Spring/Summer 2014
Elegant figure-hugging dresses, worn by tiny models, that looked like delicate snow flakes, were the result of designer Alexis Mabille’s exploration of sculptures in shades of white and cream that might be found in his inspiration, the Grand Journey, he said backstage after his spring/summer 2014 couture show on Monday night.
One could imagine some of the draped looks adorning a Greek sculpture on Mabille’s own jaunt through history, taking in Greece and Rome, in his collection of feminine dresses, some of which looked like plays on a wedding gown. Others were more playful and tongue-in-cheek, like a sheer dress made of bows, or an oversized gold jacket, with a ribbed look fit for an Emperor which unfolded around the torso and draped down behind the legs revealing lacy-looking trousers sure to appeal to a Middle Eastern clientele.
Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2014
Christian Dior began with asymmetrical layered mini-skirt ensembles that sloped sideways across the body, revealing first a shoulder in a sheer feminine flowing white dress, and then décolleté in a more sculptural black ensemble that curved between the breasts and reached up with a shapely strap across one shoulder, maximizing on the sculptured body of the model.
White mini dresses with oversized perforated holes were paired with sheer stockings which reached beneath the knee, in a sort of sixties goes sci-fi spin. Black suits and oversized dresses with rounded shoulders which expanded down the sleeves, and a play on playing with different lengths or layering within one look, from panels of perforated materials attached to, say, an elegant dress which cinched at the waist and ballooned into a lady-like ensemble from yesteryear, were some of the looks in this modern take on couture, which was a touch girlie and at the same time artful with its unconventional silhouettes and beautiful fabrics juxtaposing the sheer with paneling that both revealed and covered the body in an eye-catching look.