Naomi Campbell not only owns the clothes she wears, but by her sheer magnetic presence commands the entire runway when she walks it. Donatella Versace knows this well, casting the age-defying 43-year-old to start Paris haute couture week with a bang of indomitable energy.
It was a hard act to follow.
On Monday, the first of three full days of collections, showcased a universe of divergent and notable styles: From Dutch wunderkind Iris Van Herpen’s organic musings, the diaphanous display by Giambattista Valli in top form, to the supreme elegance of Christian Lacroix’s one-off ode to the late, great designer Elsa Schiaparelli.
Meanwhile, Christian Dior’s Raf Simons broke through the walls of Avenue Montaigne to send the fashion house on a journey across the four corners of the globe: Encompassing the purity of Asia, the bold Americas, the bright stripes and patterns of Africa’s Masai, with a dash of Europe’s dainty-waisted “Parisienne.”
Lacroix’s comeback collection, considered the highlight of the season, comes at the start of four days of haute couture fashion for autumn 2013/winter 2014.
Haute couture exists only in Paris, where it is a legally protected appellation subject to strict criteria such as the amount of work carried out by hand, the limited number of pieces and the size of a house’s workforce.
With bold and refreshing sense of femininity, Giambattista Valli produced what could well be one of his strongest haute couture shows to date for autumn-winter.
Thirty-nine diaphanous creations – in off-white, pale grey, mid red and soft Renaissance blue – stunned revellers on Monday evening with their finely balanced play of texture, layering and transparency.
A series of truncated full silk shirts, that flared from the waist, softly blossomed thanks to myriad ruffles cut – in a masterly touch – on the bias. While myriad floral embroiderings added a delicacy.
One black and white bustier dress with tulle sported an exquisite satin in lilac blue gathered silk section that flowed over the model’s hip, and billowed like a loose flower.