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Christian Dior fashion house celebrates its 70th anniversary. The largest retrospective ever made shows the result of the lifetime of works created by Christian Dior himself and six art directors – his successors who were making and interpreting in their own way codes and aesthetics of the fashion house through decades.

Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and the house’s current creative director for women’s collections, Maria Grazia Chiuri, influenced the style of the fashion house, but each of them maintained and enriched its identity and the original concept.

The selection of over 300 haute couture gowns designed between 1947 and the present days, dresses worn by famous style icons, hundreds of archive documents, including illustrations, photographs, letters and couturier’s notebooks, advertising posters, and accessories, including hats, jewelry, shoes and perfume bottles – the homage to Dior universe is exhibited on 32000m2 space.

A special display is devoted to the signature silhouette of the house – New Look. Created in 1947, it brought Christian Dior instant fame and became the new symbol of femininity.

http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/

Musée des Arts décoratifs

107, rue de Rivoli

75001 Paris

France

Phone: +33 (0)1 44 55 57 5

from 5 July 2017 to 7 January 2018

Evelinesmes

“Nobody can find out you have beautiful soul if your appearance turns people off. I am sure the person with rich in-ness can’t accept dirty and messy exterior”.

Evelina Khromtchenko

Diary

The Parisian Haute Couture Week is without any doubt the main July fashion event. Couture fashion constantly evolves despite its long history and a typically French adhesion to tradition. Fall-winter 2017-2018 season was no different. This year the Week became longer. This was due to the fact that the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture was surprisingly flexible with the status of the “invited member” this year – there are 18 houses in this list as of now: AF Vandervorst, Antonio Grimaldi, Azzaro Couture, Galia Lahav, Georges Hobeika, Guo Pei, Hyun Mi Nielsen, Iris Van Herpen, Maison Rabih Kayrouz, Proenza Schouler, Ralph&Russo, Rodarte, RVDK by Ronald Van Der Kemp, Ulyana Sergeenko, Vetements, Xuan, Yuima Nakazato, Zuhair Murad. Moreover, some of those invited members were something unheard-of. While most houses accredited within a framework of the Fashion week were presenting their couture fall-winter 2017-2018 collections, some new-comers stood out with their prêt-a-porter spring-summer 2018 collections.

Day one
American brands Proenza Schouler and Rodarte were among those who went over the fashion schedule and presented their spring-summer 2018 collections in Paris. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez – designers at Proenza Schouler – explained their decision to unify prêt-a-porter spring-summer 2018 and cruise spring-summer 2018 by a desire to upgrade their collections in terms of quality cutting their quantity in half. Flounces, lace, feathers were paired up with a rather neutral main color scheme – the designers stood true to themselves and mixed eclectic with classic.

Rodarte show, that was held at a Port-Royale garden, demonstrated Mulleavy sisters’ fidelity to the brand conception. Femininity was kept in all the looks – in both rather simple transparent lace polka dot dresses and coarse leather perfectos, embroidered with pearls.

Permanent Parisian resident, Belgian duo A. F. Vandervorst, which previously preferred the pret-a-porter week, also presented his spring collection. Plastic trash bags used as a fabric for bodies, skirts, decorative details in the looks were the main feature of the show. A dash of absurdity was also added by headwear made out of purses, pants, jackets, medals and again plastic trash bags.

Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz who is a permanent member of Parisian Fashion weeks was also keen on showing his view on the spring-summer 2018 season. Models were wearing bright satin dresses, and oversize coats of vivid colors and dancing to a live performance of the French singer Christophe who was playing the piano.

Many brands profit of the press gathering in Paris without officially participating in the official Haute Couture week schedule. For example, Например, Russian designer Vika Gazinskaya took a step further compared to her colleagues from the USA, Belgium and Lebanon by showing her spring-summer 2018 collection at a Parisian hotel Bristol even before the start of the couture marathon.

The Italian brand Miu Miu show and the dinner afterwards were held in a spectacular interior of the Automobile club of France – the place one could not access without a member card previously. Champagne, performance by a young Canadian rapper Tommy Genesis (she doesn’t have even 100 000 on her Instagram account, but apparently she has a bright future ahead), worldwide celebrities at tables and top-models on the catwalk – the guests at Miuccia Prada’s show were definitely not bored. Bright jumpsuits of all imaginable textures – from pastel silk pajama-style to close cotton military ones – were the main theme of the new collection.

Parisian house Azzaro returned this week with a status of an “invited member” with the first collection made by a new young artistic director Maxime Simoens. Fur throw-overs, silk flowy dresses reminding of the old Hollywood style, decorated with crystals and reflecting in mirrors – Simoens devoted his fall-winter 2017-2018 collection to the founder of the house Loris Azzaro. There weren’t really any surprises, but who knows what the future will bring.

Dutch brand Ronald Van Der Kemp, also a freshly invited member of the Haute Couture week, presented his fall-winter 2017-2018 collection. But that was the only traditional part of the show. Details blow out of proportion, prints, contrasting in terms of color and shape – Van Der Kemp’s couture collection stands out of the ordinary and is made with an eccentricity associated with the designer.

The presentation of the official member of the Chambre Syndicale Maurizio Galante was held at the only floating hotel in Paris – OFF Paris Seine Hôtel, its interior spaces were made by the designer of the brand. Galante called his collection «Drago» (Dragon), materializing his idea of clothes that serve to protect and impress at the same time, even if they are maid from light materials such as organza and silk.

The week was also marked by the comeback of Peter Dundas (he worked last at Italian houses – Emilio Pucci and Roberto Cavalli, but this time he showed his own collection), and by the launch of the first ever internet haute couture house, created by a French designer Olivier Lapidus – heir to the house of his father Ted Lapidus, he decided to close the couture brand and devoted himself to special projects and raising his two daughters, who carry rather unusual names – Koukla and Mila. Shows will be held online on the website with a function of an immediate purchase «see now buy now», available for any item in the collection. Two first capsule collections each include eight dresses symbolizing the lucky number 8 and the sign of infinity. For now Peter and Olivier held their shows off the official schedule, but we will see what those test cases lead to.

Day two
Sciaparelli show that put an emphasis on feminism (as did Dior) started the second day of the Week. The reincarnated house managed without a problem to get into the sacred list of the members of the Chambre Syndicale – partly due to its founder’s legendary name, partly due to the charisma of the new owner, Italian fashion tycoon Diego Della Valle, the President of the luxury goods company TOD’S. ‘Shocking society’ was the main theme of the show. The brand did a very good job following this idea: mini, floor-length dresses, color palette from snowy-white to neon pink, mix of textures from silk to plastic, references to Picasso and Rothko.

The show of an always avant-gardist Iris Van Herpen was inspired by two elements – water and air. Fluid lines and silhouettes, weavings on dresses and patterns, imitating waves – it seemed, models were floating rather than walking on the catwalk. Audio-visual accompaniment from the Dutch band Between Music also matched – all five members were playing musical instruments and singing in tanks submerged in water.

Monique LHuillier joined the designers, who went ahead of September Fashion weeks against the official schedule, with her prêt-a-porter spring-summer 2018 show. The main looks of the collection turned out to be rather feminine, with accentuated thin neck, framed with ruffles, and skinny waist. The only masculine detail was the tailored black smoking.

The image of strong women continued to serve as an inspiration for Maria Grazia Chiuri in the creation of her second Dior couture collection. This time it was adventurous women, explorers, who erase geographic and gender borders and prejudices. Famous artist Pietro Ruffo created decorations, imitating different landscapes and enormous animal sculptures. New variations of the emblematic Dior Bar jacket (the piece Chiuri loved the most while exploring Dior archives) were particularly emphasized in the collection.

Floral tenderness reigned at the Petit Palais during the show of Giambatista Valli – member of the Chambre Syndicale. This season the designer proposed feminine dresses for all tastes possible – mini, maxi, voluminous and skin-tight, semi-transparent, with puffed details and long veiling trails.

Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo aimed at depicting an ideal of feminine beauty in their new collection for Ralph&Russo, photographs by Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton and Norman Parkinson were a considerable source of inspiration. Nostalgia for Audrey Hepburn and other muses from famous balck-and-white photos was really palpable in the looks of the only British house in the list of the Haute Couture week participants.

Yanina Couture show told the story of the modern Snow Queen. Snowflakes, frost patterns, snowball imitations, fur muffs and hoods – Julia Yanina showed a real winter fairytale unscheduled in the official time-sheet of the Haute Couture week. She is definitely a person the president of Fédération française de la couture Ralph Toledano should watch closely – judging from the particular attention Yanina’s embroidered dresses get from creative directors of several well-known Parisian houses, Julia has already earned a status of the ‘invited member’.

Second day evening terminated by a spectacular event at the Musée des arts décoratifs de Paris – an exhibition ‘Chrisitan Dior. Designer of Dreams’. Christian Dior house celebrates 70 years anniversary this year. The largest retrospective ever done is the result of the lifetime of works created by the couturier himself and six artistic directors – his followers who were making and interpreting in their own way codes and aesthetics of the Fashion house through decades: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri. More than 300 couture dresses that have been created from 1947 until present times are displayed at three thousand square meters space. The iconic silhouette «new look» holds a special place at the exhibition. The silhouette made in 1947 made Dior a real star, having become a new symbol of femininity.

Day three
If there is a house, that breaks usual framework of shows and that is being waited for with bated breath – it is, without any doubt, Chanel. This show started the third day of the Haute Couture week. Karl Lagerfeld, who received the highest honor of the city of Paris the Grand Vermeil Medal, devoted his show to the city’s main symbol, having turned the Grand Palais into a park next to the Eiffel Tower with famous green garden chairs. The collection was also carried the allure of composed Parisian chic a la Coco Chanel herself: neat hats, structured silhouettes and tuned down color palette.

However, not all the designers look for inspiration in visual forms. Alexis Mabille materialized his vision of perfume in his new fall-winter collection2017-2018. Figs, almond blossoms, peonies, bergamot – various sensual perfumes were interpreted into jackets with floral details, floor-length dresses with embroidery and gradient layers of organza, mini-dresses resembling flower buds.

Stéphane Rolland stayed true to himself this season by mixing sculpture and couture. Models demonstrated fluid minimalistic fit dresses with low plunge lines. The overall color scheme was black-and-white in-tune with the traditional designer’s manner. Three-dimensional golden geometric details were a fresh addition. One brightly red dress stood out from the otherwise pretty monochromatic collection.

Despite being young Julien Fournie is already an official member of Chambre Syndicale and aims at easily portable designs. He is the so-called ‘client-oriented designer’. Elegant simplicity of cocktail dresses and evening gowns will no doubt please the admirers of the house. Nuances of beige, white, golden and dominance of black color will allow Julien’s clients to easily combine new purchases with capsule wardrobes.

Young prodigy from Lebanon Rami Kadi made a collection in nuances of sapphire and emerald colors, framed with platinum. Besides traditional couture materials Rami boldly used plastic, raffia, cotton. The talented young man has not yet been invited to the exclusive list of the, but it is obviously just a question of time.

Revolver-brooches, leather luggage, voluminous fur details, silhouettes of the 30s and the 40s – Ulyana Sergeenko show trasnported the guests to the first half of the 20th century, to the epoch of gangsters and spies. The looks were created in a recognizable style of Ulyana – strong and, at the same moment, astonishingly feminine and delicate. Sergeenko’s show soundtrack traditionally deserves a special mention: this time it included compositions by Michael Jackson, Leonid Utesov, black rappers, Mark Bernes with a refrain from the emblematic ouverture of the epic film ‘The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed’.

Corresponding member of the Chambre Syndicale Giorgio Armani got out of his comfort zone this Week having swiped the usual black décor and funky soundtrack for the projections of Palazzo Corsini and Armani studio in Milan, melodies by Wagner, Rachmaninoff and Offenbach. The show that started with gorgeous pants suits continued with dresses decorated with bright graphic flowers, birds and petals, embroidered or made out of plastic, and finished by classic black Armani Prive dresses. Miniature onion-shaped hats with a light veil were the uniting element of the collection. Sophia Loren, Rossy de Palma, Naomi Watts and Kate Winslet came to support Giorgio at his show.

Alexandre Vauthier show resembled a 80s disco-party. Bright pink décor, neon lights, shiny disco balls were in tune with the ambiance of the revealing silk polka dotted and metalized satin dresses. The show was opened and closed by the designer’s muse Bella Hadid. Chiara Ferragni wearing a gorgeous evening gown by Alexandre was at the first row. And once again all guests perhaps some even unconsciously were reminded of the young Yves Saint Laurent.

The day terminated by a grandiose party devoted to a new Gabrielle Chanel perfume launch, it was held at the Palais de Tokyo – Kristen Stewart, Anastassia Khozissova, Cara Delevingne and other beauties from all over the world were dancing to the songs of Pharrell Williams and Katy Perry.

Day four
Due to the sad passing away of the outstanding French political figure Simone Veil, John Galliano’s show for Maison Margiela, that opened the 4th day of the Week, was moved at the last moment from les Invalides to the house’s headquarters. However, Galliano and his team managed to one-up the sudden change of the highly important moment of the defile – its address. Guests were sitting on the classical white chairs, but the décor was quite unusual – mannequins, sketches of the looks, templates and squares of fabric. Morveover, all Galliano’s team was standing on the staircase wearing white working gowns. All this was making the almost sacred process of the creation of the collection closer to the guests. Trench coats made out of different fabrics (leather, organza, wool) were the main unifying element of the contrasty collection a la Galliano.

Elie Saab show was held under the brand’s traditional trademark of the Oriental luxury. Classic silhouettes of floor-length dresses with accentuated waist, lots of highly detailed embroidery, elegant tiaras and complex oriental motifs – the designer preferred to base his collection on the elements closely associated with the brand Elie Saab. He was also obviously inspired by the ‘Game of Thrones’ series.

Jean Paul Gaultier transported his guests to the snowy kingdom, even the soundtrack was Christmassy. Gaultier added a dash of sport chic to the haute couture – puffer jackets and sweaters were worn over semi transparent couture dresses, many looks were complemented by joyful ski bonnets with big pompoms and huge fur ushankas. The show was closed by a top-model Coco Rocha, who drove out on the catwalk in a cart wearing a semi-transparent white mini dress over a clingy golden jumpsuit.

Models at the Viktor&Rolf show demonstrated clothes wearing costumes of gigantic dolls. Voluminous khaki-colored outwear was paired up with skirts with floral patterns and embroidered jeans. Outsized details with patchwork sewed-on pieces and denim were seen in almost every look and unified the surrealistic defile.

Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad, whose collections have been associated with femininity and airiness since long ago, this season found inspiration in the images of Gibson girls from the end of the 19th century. Slim waist, hourglass silhouette, dresses that accentuate the figure – the designer materialized eternal beauty ideals in his collection. As always, special attention was devoted to details. Every look had a zest – pearl-beaded fringe, ostrich feathers, painting, embroidery or cascade of ruffles.

Valentino fall-winter 2017-2018 show stood out from the general framework of the classic couture. Bright modern color-blocks and pretty quotidian shapes is a rarity at the Haute Couture week. Simple straight silhouettes without unnecessary details prevailed in the collection. Variety was brought via large patterns and embroidered elements on dresses and capes.

Fur fashion house Fendi, the received the status of the corresponding member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, closed the Week – this season there was no need to go to Rome to see the show, everything happened at the Avenue Montaigne. However, Karl Lagerfeld had to share the triumph of the spectacular finale with Azzedine Alaia, who decided to hold his show without an announcement in the official schedule of the Week. His idea was widely supported – by Carla Bruni Sarkozy, Naomi Campbell, Nicolas Ghesquière and Farida Khelfa, to name only a few.

The Fashion week was closed with a sublime party by the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, traditionally organized by the President of the Federation Ralph Toledano to celebrate the end of the Fashion week at the Petit Palais – literally everyone important from the world of fashion could be seen there. However, the previous tradition of designers to bring a model wearing the best piece from the collection was not followed. The times change and we change alongside.

Text: Maria Massot, Irina Larina

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