Chanel told the grandest of fashion fairy tales as models emerged from an enchanted forest under the vaults of the Grand Palais. Girls gazed smoky-eyed beyond the looming trees that surrounded the runway in Karl Lagerfeld’s ethereal production, seeming to float in billowing bellshaped gowns and feathered fascinators.
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli romanced Paris with their triumphant show. Fluid forms with long sleeves and simple necklines framed diaphanous flowing gowns in pearly white, ivory, black and Valentino’s signature red. It was the details that added to the romance with embroidered butterflies, birds and flowers thoughtfully placed throughout the collection. The wrought-iron caped dresses provided the extra wow factor with the decorative piping based on a 19thcentury Venetian pattern.
Donatella Versace clad her girls in gold-threaded pinstripe power suits and warrior skirts accessorised with shoulder guards and cuffs. The tough-girl image came across strong and hard, but was balanced with modern femininity and sex appeal through the use of sheer cut-outs, zipper seaming and fluorescent piping.
An ode to delicateness was the name of the game as Saab demonstrated his growth from red-carpet ringmaster to established couturier. The emphasis was on the frailty and passing of the seasons intertwined with the perception of female beauty throughout the ages.
With strong lines and geometric patterns, the collection fused oriental mysticism and ’30s art deco. Accessories stood out: hard clutches and oversized jewellery had a refined earthiness to them with polished patterns of shell, stone and wood surfaces. Tailored suits and jackets were embroidered with retro zigzag patterns into dark Mikado satin, reflecting Armani’s luxurious yet understated chic.
Red sparkling lips and cropped pixie hair finished off the futuristic Audrey Hepburninspired look of the models that strolled in Raf Simons’ secret garden. Dresses were accentuated with delicately scattered floral details against gentle folds and voluminous silhouettes. The yellow tulip-shaped dress that breezed through the hedged runway paths was a true winner.
Jean Paul Gaultier
Patchwork, polka dots and bold stripes all featured in Gaultier’s nomadic adventure. Models in typical bustier and masculine suits alongside looser dresses paraded with beehive hairdos, giant wood bangles, leather arm bands and enchanting veils. Patterns, prints, tassels, beading and the occasional camel motif also appeared. The show ended with a charming reveal of four smiling children hidden beneath a model’s gown.
A force of nature pervaded Valli’s runway, which instead of the subtle garden details from previous collections featured a full bloom of floral magnificence, evident in dresses covered with bouquets. Mother nature’s hand was on display in the use of blotted ink-style animal prints and panels of fur and feathers.