Posts tagged Ball Gowns
Haute Couture Week Spring 2019 Paris

Rainbows, Mermaids and Marie-Antoinette

To my great delight, there was a plethora of rainbow colors as well as inspiration taken from my favorite period, the Rococo. Rainbows were seen in many collections, subtle-colored sparkling sequins in the case of Ralph & Russo - or more obvious in the collections of Schiaparelli, Georges Hobeika, Jean Paul Gaultier, Rami Kadi and Givenchy. Lagerfeld’s creations came in pastel rainbows. Alexis Mabille even named his show “Rainbow Splash.” Zuhair Murad, Elie Saab and Jean Paul Gaultier dove into the sea for inspiration, while Giorgio Armani and Stéphane Rolland looked to the Art Deco period.

Karl Lagerfeld invites us to the Mediterranean style “Villa Chanel,” a world he calls “lux, serene and calm, not like [the world] now.” Here we celebrate the joy of beauty and of nature.. Inspired by the exhibition “La Fabrique du luxe: Les marchands merciers parisiens au XVIIIe siècle,” Lagerfeld gives us a modern take on the 18th century world of King Louis XV and his mistress, Madame de Pompadour. Here we see sumptuous embroideries of resin-preserved flowers, sequins carefully painted by hand, and delicate lace, hand-painted or iced with silicone whorls, giving it the look of Meissen porcelain. Full skirts contrasted with small-bodices remind us of the days of Marie Antoinette.

Stéphane Rolland describes his collection as being “inspired by the 20s and art deco. I started with the era after the war of 1914/18 when there was freedom of expression. People wanted to live. When we see what is happening today, we want to rediscover this freedom. It's this that drove my collection and my way of thinking. I entered inside the Champs-Elysées theatre and voilà, here is the message. All the shapes flow, the body is free. It's not too sexy, its sensible, and very sensual, but at the same time super fragile and with an extreme sensibility and femininity. This is what I truly wanted. ”

Georges Chakra describes his collection as “a fairy-tale. it’s funny, its romantic, it’s poetic, it’s sensual, perfect to escape from everyday worries. The clothes have to have a very well done and excellent finish. There are dresses that use kilometers of tulle, there are frills and bows, so I think that everything that is romantic and sensual is seen throughout the show.”

“I don’t believe in modernist couture,” says Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino, “I love couture for what it is—the lightness, the uniqueness.” And that is what we see in Piccioli’s collection, the lightness and uniqueness of flowers. “I have asked the seamstresses of the Atelier to personally name each dress with a name of a flower,” says Piccioli, “or with the emotion brought by the flower itself. I was inspired by the Abécédaire de Flore.” Even many of the models’ eyes are framed in petals to transform them into flower fairies of the 19th-century French artist J. J. Grandville and the 1960s makeup artist Pablo Manzoni. The collection of 65 looks recalls all that we know of Valentino, from the voluminous ball gowns, to the ruffles, to the lace and wallpaper florals, all made relevant for today.

Schiaparelli Haute Couture

Bertrand Guyon of Schiaparelli describes his collection as “almost futuristic, even, because I wanted to work on totally different color combinations inspired by the porcelain of Sèvres, Chantilly and Meissen for the floral section. It’s also very humorous and optimistic.” His embroideries incorporate antique porcelain designs, as well as an astrological pattern from a 17th century star atlas. For futuristic, take a look at his “Meteroid Swarm Cape” or his gigantic, tiered, pink tulle gown.

Giambattista Valli’s trademark tulle explosions, extravagant trains, and fez hats mark his latest collection. Thousands of sparkling Swarovski crystals that crunch under your feet create a feeling of lightness and of Paris at night. Valli describes what led him to become a couturier by reflecting on a photo he’d seen by Helmut Newton, one of models lounging in the couture salon of Yves Saint Laurent. “He captured the atmosphere of the French maisons de la haute couture I was dreaming about when I decided to move to Paris to become a couturier. That attitude only exists here in Paris, a sort of posture of the mind, a nervous silhouette, décomplexée.”

Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2019

Pearls, pearls and more pearls mark the revival of the House of Balmain’s haute couture atelier. Giant orbs encircling wrists and carried by hand were emblazoned with the Balmain name, signifying the house’s return. “Here, it’s all about bringing back Balmain to the elegance of la France,” explains designer Olivier Rousteing. “Of course, the house is known for being edgy and sexy and glamorous. Everything you see will give the sense that it’s taken from the ideas of Mr. Balmain,” he continues, adding that the maison’s archives were essential.

“Every color has its own energy,” says designer Alexis Mabille, as he presents his spring collection, appropriately named “Rainbow Splash.” “It’s a rainbow in every sense — freedom of color and freedom of expression.” He completes his rainbow with the full spectrum of colors, from black to neon by way of turquoise, emerald, navy and gold.

Zuhair Murad Haute Couture

For its Spring-Summer 2019 Haute Couture collection, Maison Georges Hobeika evokes the timeless essence of the Château de Versailles and the passionate myth of the legendary Marie-Antoinette.

In his Armani Privé collection, “Laquer,” Giorgio Armani brings us the Art Deco aesthetic of the Jazz Age fused with the beautiful red lacquers that are a hallmark of Chinese art.

Zuhair Murad’s “Aquatic Serenade” makes the greatest splash at Haute Couture Week. “The inspiration was all about the sea, the world of the deep sea, the sea from the beaches, from inside and outside,” he explains, adding that his colors are meant to “evoke the feel of ripples on water.” Murad’s palette includes the whole range of ocean colors, from shades of blue dégradé to turquoise to mother-of-pearl.

“I wanted to celebrate the magic of femininity,” says Elie Saab “Oui, c’est le rêve! It’s a dream of luminous mermaids emerging from the waves and promenading along the sea.” Sequins of ocean-blue remind us of the shimmering surface of the sea.“ I wanted to express the brilliance and the glamour of women; I try to enhance their charm with my creations: I look at femininity with my utmost respect. I bring to French haute couture my Mediterranean sensibility, a vision of a woman almost regal in her demeanor.”

Giambattista Valli Haute Couture Spring 2019

Most Beautiful Gowns From Haute Couture Week Fall/Winter 2018-19


Haute Couture—what does it mean? Literally, “High Dressmaking.” So welcome to a review of the Fall 2018 High Dressmaking Week in Paris, where 34 brand new collections were presented. But when did this all start? Way back in the time of Marie Antoinette. The term Haute Couture didn’t come into use, however, until the mid 19th century, when it referred to the dress design work of Charles Frederick Worth in Paris. In order to qualify for Haute Couture, the high standards of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne have to be met. I’ll not list them here, but one look at the fabulous dresses will give you an idea of what they are. By the way, in Haute Couture, money is no object.

Armani Privé Fall 2018

Zuhair Murad takes us back to Imperial Russia; rediscovers the luxurious taste of czars and czarinas, brings back the textures and patterns of the period, the rich fabrics (velvet, chiffon, duchesse satin) the colors (sapphire, gray, wine, khaki), the exquisite embroideries, which took thousands and thousands of hours to complete. Some designs capture the masculine, military element of the times, yet as Murad says, are sexy, giving confidence and strength.

Un soir à Saint-Pétersbourg ... Imperial Russia - or rather, a dream-like depiction - is at the heart of Zuhair Murad's Couture 2018-19 collection. The grand balls held by tsars in Saint Petersburg give way to a sense of aristocratic opulence.

Armani described his fall Privé collection as “couture…as it once was: the authentic essence of luxury and perfection.” And so it was. Classically sculptured evening gowns in black and cream, gave way to gowns fuchsia, turquoise and a plethora of pink, and ended in an explosion of ostrich feathers. For the younger generation, it was, in Armani’s words, an opportunity to witness the “true meaning of haute couture, going back to the catwalk as it once was.”

Armani Privé Fall 2018

The inherent elegance of the Giorgio Armani Privé collections calls celebrity guests in their drones to witness the show from the front row.

Mix Elie Saab, Gaudi, Art Nouveau, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Silk Chiffon, choose from a palette which includes jewel tones (emerald, garnet, amethyst), beaded embroidery, and ruffles, and you enter a third dimension of exquisitely feminine gowns and dresses.

Armani Privé Haute Couture Fall Winter 2018 2019 Full Womenswear Runway fashion Show Collection by Giorgio Armani

For Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli everything in his show was larger than life, from the incredibly voluminous hair of Kaia, (super-teased á la 1960s) to the highly saturated colors—strawberry, bright tangerine, brilliant green. The vision he created is like a dream in which disparate elements are combined. “That is what couture is for me,” says Piccioli, “a place where you [can express] your vision of beauty, your intimate dreams.

Elie Saab | Haute Couture Fall Winter 2018/2019 by Elie Saab | Full Fashion Show in High Quality. (Widescreen - Exclusive Video/1080p - Paris/France)

When you hear Givenchy, you think of Audrey Hepburn’s smashing black gown in Breakfast At Tiffany’s. In Clare Waight Keller’s collection it appeared again. But this time a matching black hood replaced Audrey’s strands of pearls. Though minimalist was the word used to describe the lines of her clothes, some broke the mold, including some with an explosion of sequins.

Giambattista Valli sets his Haute Couture sights on the younger generation. As he says, “They have that kind of sense to wear haute couture like they are wearing jeans and a T-shirt. They don’t have any complex.” But unlike jeans and a T-shirt, a gorgeous turquoise or bubble-gum pink tulle gown (which may contain 400 yards of fabric), will be tough to dance in.

Elizabeth Kennedy dazzles with her gowns at NYFW Spring 2018 RTW

Elizabeth Kennedy ’s Spring collection dazzles. At the urging of Bergdorf Goodman, Elizabeth debuted her first evening wear collection in 2012. Prior to that she designed in-demand couture for BG’s clients and headed Donna Karen Atelier. For the Spring 2018 RTW collection she mentions René Magritte as a creative influence.