Couture Wrap: Young Designers

January 29, 2014 • Fashion

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Serkan Cura

If the January 2014 Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2014 shows in Paris proved anything, it was that couture is alive and kicking once again, thanks, in part, to a slew of young designers who have embraced the art form of fashion, and showed here last week alongside the bigger houses.

Newer names included Charlotte Licha, who has been showing ready-to-wear since 2009; Serkan Cura who studied at the Royal Academy in Antwerp and worked for Jean-Paul Gaultier;  and Ralph & Russo, the first British label to be officially invited to show at couture in Paris.

Some of these lesser-known but highly creative brands are making a distinct impression. Consider the Jordanian designer Rad Hourani, who makes unisex haute couture, and presented a well-received show this year; or Yiqing Yin, the Chinese-born designer who is now also working for Leonard, who sent a beautiful haute couture collection down the runway inspired by moths. Ralph & Russo called upon screen sirens of yesteryear to inspire their refined gowns, which made for a lovely closing day show.

The wide range of new players and ideas,, made couture feel like there was an anything goes approach in the air. From the ultra-sexy tiger women of the young designer Alexandre Vauthier to the modernist muses of the newly revived Schiaparelli brand and Vionnet, for which Hussein Chalayan designed a demi-couture collection calling on the house’s illustrious past of bias cuts and beyond. “It is not really about breaking the rules,” explained Yiqing Yin in her atelier where her moths and chrysalis designs were on display. “But it is about expanding the ideas of what you can do with couture.” Yin worked with an industrial machine that creates hemlines for ready-to-wear to make up the material for one full-length dress, while Vauthier experimented with new techniques to create a series of dresses that looked like coiffed hair-dos had been sprayed in swirls across the models bodies.

Here’s what some of the young designers have to say:

 

Charlotte Licha Q&A:

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What is your approach to couture?

The couture is an art… you create what you feel, what you saw in your mind. Every picture is created by your hands.

What is your influence for this season?

In my opinion, we are atoms (small points) living on earth, waking up with light, shining more and more with sun rising and recede as night fall and the moon taking sun’s place. And this was the idea that influenced me for this season. Starting from the “small points” ( The atom), growing up to be a “circle” and retract to a new “point”.

What role does couture play in the modern-day fashion industry?

Simplicity in the couture made beauty when it comes to focus on extravagance and elegance.

How hard is it for smaller houses to make a mark and how do you do that?

Despite the rules (number of employee, having an atelier, new collection every year… etc)

Technically it is very hard. But with the WILL everyone could make his own mark. The difficulties are vanished during the evolution of the creativity.

Any special materials, techniques you use in this collection?

Usually I use transparent and straight cuts on the chest, Petals and Lace patterns laser married with abstract forms to create a rich visual look, focusing on different forms of sleeves with a fine sewing work applied on embroidery infinitely elegant and well designed.

Overall direction?

I have a lot to do in the future many ideas as prêt-à-porter and perfume … and let some of them surprise the woman.

 

Serkan Cura Q&A:

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What is your approach to couture?

To make dream pieces.

What is your influence for this season?

A mix of different worlds: the sea, the beach, Avatars, and Pirates of the Caribbean

What role does couture play in the modern-day fashion industry?

It is as source of inspiration, of ideas. It creates the new tendencies for ready to wear.

How hard is it for smaller houses to make a mark and how do you do that?

It is not particularly difficult. You just have to always believe to your dreams

Any special materials, techniques you use in this collection?

For each dress, techniques and fabrics are different. But I always use feathers on each dress.

Overall direction?

No direction. I just know where I want to go.

 

Ralph & Russo Q&A

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What is your approach to couture?

Michael Russo

Quality and craftsmanship are at the heart of everything we do at Ralph & Russo. Each and every couture creation is hand-crafted by our team of expert couturiers in our London atelier.

What is your influence for this season?

Tamara Ralph

For Spring/Summer 2014 I was inspired by the dramatic and elegant fashion and photography of the 1940’s and 1950’s. The timeless glamour, bold silhouettes, cinched waists, peplums and romantic ball gowns captured by iconic photographers Walde Huth, Henry Clarke and Lillian Bassman were elements that I wanted to introduce into the collection. The intricate embroideries were inspired by beautiful Parisian gardens and architecture.

 

What role does couture play in the modern-day fashion industry?

Tamara Ralph

Couture still plays a pivotal role in the modern-day fashion industry. Every trend you see in prêt-a-porter and in turn on the high street ultimately hails from the palettes, shapes and styles witnessed at Haute Couture week. Couture’s influence is undeniable and to be a part of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture is not only a real honour but extremely exciting.

 

How hard is it for smaller houses to make a mark and how do you do that?

Michael Russo

Ralph & Russo has grown organically and via word of mouth over a short period of time. The quality and service we offer our clients is second to none and this not only keeps them coming back to us time and time again but also attracts a wider clientele.

 

Any special materials, techniques you use in this collection?

Tamara Ralph

All of our fabrics are hand-selected from the finest mills in the world. The Spring/Summer 2014 collection includes some beautiful silk crepes, duchess silks, silk gazar and French Chantilly lace. Some of the pieces include open-cut work, which is a delicate and meticulous process and others appliqué detailing. Lots of hand draping and intricate embroidery can be seen throughout the collection.

 

Who are your clients?

Michael Russo

We are lucky enough to count international royalty, A-list celebrities and UHNW individuals amongst our private clientele.

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