Jan 27, 2023
There were three different ways of representing female empowerment during the last few days of haute couture fashion shows. While Alexandre Vauthier stayed true to his brand’s identity, dressing his models in maximalist glamour, Julie de Libran looked to her community of creative and inspiring women, and Zuhair Murad reinterpreted his signature style, combining the 1920s with explosive sensuality.
Fluorescent colours and volumes at
Alexandre Vauthier returned to his usual venue at 50 Boulevard Lefebvre, in the 15th arrondissement of the French capital, where he has presented his collections for the past several seasons. Set against an industrial-style brick backdrop, the French designer presented a collection that stayed true to the brand’s glamorous and provocative identity, with a plethora of exaggerated shoulder pads, mini-skirts and the brand’s must-have boots, some in velvet and others embellished with rhinestones.
Vauthier’s vision was clear from the very first look of the show: a fitted black hooded dress worn with a faux-fur coat of the same color, the first of several furry looks from the show. The coat was seen repeatedly on the runway in shades of fuchsia, scarlet or lime green and was reminiscent of the iconic fur coat designed by Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s.
Solemn black quickly gave way to disco accents, appearing on bomber jackets, fitted strapless dresses or tiny sequinned tops, as well as two-piece ensembles fitted at the waist, also equipped with hoods and sometimes worn with sunglasses. Rhinestones were once again present in Vauthier’s designs, specifically in suggestive low-cut tops, or in belted dresses. Several asymmetrical pieces were created from what looked like fragments of a mirror broken into a thousand pieces.
The brand also presented sensual fitted jumpsuits and black and green leggings, worn with big coats or biker jackets. Fluorescent orange accents gradually took over the collection, tinting the inside of black velvet dresses, infinity boots, a sequined jumpsuit under a fur coat and even a tulle mini-dress, also presented in fuchsia.
Among the show’s models was Iris Law, daughter of actors Jude Law and Sadie Frost, who wore a black velvet look with puffy sleeves. Meanwhile, the front row was filled with well-known faces such as influencer Valentina Ferragni, model Tina Kunakey, drag queen Miss Fame and famous actress Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, known for her role as Sylvie in the series Emily in Paris.
Julie de Libran’s chic club
At Julie de Libran, everything was beautiful, refined and sophisticated. A luminous and delicately decorated space with access to an interior courtyard filled with plants in one of the buildings of Boulevard Raspail, in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, hosted the brand’s Spring/Summer 2023 presentation.
Inside, a warm atmosphere reigned: the fireplace was lit and the ambiance was lively among the guests. Conversations were flowing around the wooden table in the open plan kitchen, with a buffet and plenty of fresh flowers. In one of the corners of the room, a small Sisley beauty counter was set up, offering skincare treatments and simple make-up products. At the same time, a video showcasing the designer’s chic, Parisian-style collection was being screened.
“I wanted some of my muses to wear the collection on the day of its presentation. When you don’t see the clothes worn, in the end, it’s not really fashion. On this occasion, they are in charge of bringing my creations to life in a very personal way,” the French designer explained to FashionNetwork.com. De Libran founded her eponymous label three years ago.
For this new presentation, the designer and former creative director of Sonia Rykiel wanted to gather around her a community of women who inspire her with their “talent, creativity and character.” Among the elegant and sophisticated guests were Spanish entrepreneur and it-girl, Maria de la Orden; deputy CEO of the beauty brand Sisley, Christine d’Ornano; Dior public relations director, Mathilde Favier; the founder of LVBespoke, Lorena Vergani, and stylist Tina Leung.
Other pieces from the collection were delicately hung on elegant hangers, paired with a selection of Manolo Blahnik heels. Various hints of glitter characterised the draped dresses worn by the models themselves.
Among the most striking looks from the collection, a black fringed mini-skirt, a blue dress with long open sleeves and medieval reminiscences, an extremely short little black dress in velvet adorned with jewels around the neckline, and a beige midi dress embroidered with flowers.
“I am very lucky to live in Paris, the cradle of creativity, ateliers and expert craftsmanship. It’s wonderful to be able to work with the very best, whether for fabrics, details or finishes,” said the designer, revealing that she herself contributed to the making of her latest haute couture collection. “It was a lot of work but it is really wonderful that my own hands were part of the discipline that is Haute Couture,” said the designer, who has worked for the likes of Gianfranco Ferré, Versace and Louis Vuitton.
Today, the exclusive firm produces limited-edition pieces or made-to-order garments. In addition, de Libran reaches out to her customers around the world through ‘fashion truck’ inspired presentation events that have led her to build a strong network of loyal customers in markets such as the United States.
For next season, the artistic director is not ruling out a return to the classic fashion show format. “You have to let yourself go and present the garments in a way that best enhances the clothes. This time I wanted an intimate moment with friends,” she said with a smile.
Sexy glamour at Zuhair Murad
Influencers from all over the world flocked to the halls of the Hotel Potocki, a stone’s throw away from the Champs Elysées. And for good reason: the most loyal followers and customers of the Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad came to discover the maison’s latest haute couture collection, which was more youthful and casual than usual. Like Alexandre Vauthier, the designer opted for extreme sensuality tinged with fluorescent colours.
Spanish supermodel Blanca Padilla opened the show, almost unrecognisable under a large white wide-brimmed hat, an accessory that would reappear frequently throughout the show. The show continued with summer and French Riviera influences translated into luxurious beach looks: from sequinned swim caps clearly inspired by the 1920’s, to knotted head scarves or asymmetrical draped metallic dresses suitable for a jet-set night of partying with exclusive ocean views.
Ostrich feathers created glamorous boas and voluptuous sleeves, and bordered a long robe with a flowing train worn over a tiny bejewelled bodysuit. Lime green embroidered shorts, shiny pleated mini-skirts and tight dresses with side slits comprised a collection in which there was also room for gauzy chiffon looks and modern hoods and veils in shiny silk.
The colour palette was optimistic and joyful, with colours that mimicked a sunset such as orange, fuchsia and yellow made for spectacular and photogenic haute couture pieces. A modern bride wearing a semi-transparent embroidered dress along with an oversized cape topped with a translucent veil closed the show.
At the end of the show, Zuhair Murad took a bow and received an enthusiastic round of applause from his influencer fans who, at no time during the show, stopped taking pictures of their favourite looks. An aesthetic made for flash photography, exclusive parties and red carpets that undoubtedly met the expectations of its customers.
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