Friday, January 25, 2013

Brides, Couture and Culture

It's that time of year again.  The haute couture fashion shows have just finished this week in Paris.

Those who have read my prior fashion posts understand that I don't look at fashion the same way most of the world does.  I'm not very concerned at all as to whether or not something is wearable or will sell.


What interests me most is the craftmanship and artistry of the designers, embroiderers, stylists and dresmakers.  To me, haute couture is one of the greatest textile "art shows" and it's free for us to view.  

Embroidery, beading, sewing and embellishment, all combine to tell a story or deliver a point of view.

Today I'd like to share just a few of the looks that have inspired, delighted or moved me in this year's shows.  There's a couple of posts to come on the topic but today I want to focus on the brides.

Often, the last look that a designer presents on the runway is a bridal look and this year, I found myself attracted to these looks more so than usual.


Layers of silk organza, embroidered netting and laces continue to appear in all of the designers looks.  

This Valentino bridal gown has silver emboidery on a sheer silk organza which lightens the overall look considerably...


What struck me most about the Giambattista Valli gown below was the belt!!


It looks stunning over top the simplicity of the ivory gown.  The use of so many different shades of gold gives the accessories a beautifully cohesive yet opulent look...


I have a gold embroidery in my future and I've saved these vines and flower clusters in my project's collection box.

Elie Saab who never disappoints on the lace, beading and embellishment showcased a gown worthy of the finest royal wedding...



Again, you'll see that the skirt is made up of multiple layers of sheer fabric and lace which are embroidered and beaded...


The overall effect is ethereal and luminescent.  Stunning.

The handwork on the veil looks like organza applique onto net and embroidered with sequins.  


At the end of the Chanel show, Karl Lagerfeld voiced his support of the Gay Marriage Reform bill proposed by Francois Hollande.  

In response to the Paris protesters who have taken to the streets in the past few weeks in opposition to the bill, Mr. Lagerfeld sent two lesbian brides down the runway at the end of his show...


When I first saw them, I thought they looked a bit like a pair of wet, bedraggled birds with their "streaky" mascara and droopy headdresses.  (The Chanel collection had lots of feathers this time around.)

The "streaky" eye makeup when viewed up close is actually organza and netting attached to the lids...



And the gowns contain pale gray feathers in addition to white.  When asked why, Mr. Lagerfeld explained how the use of gray gives the feathers dimension whereas using only white would appear too flat...


There you go.  A design tip from Mr. Lagerfeld himself.

My favorite "wedding" gown looks came from Alexis Mabille who didn't send down a bride.  Well, here's the two gowns I would choose if I were going to be a modern bride.  

Get ready to swoon...



Check out those feather flowers...


*still my beating heart*

And now this vision...



 With its harmonious use of pleats, netting and embroidery...in the palest, creamy colors of gray, gold and pink.

What a beautiful color combination.



Now I saved the least traditional bride for last.  

Jean Paul Gaultier ended his show with this beauty...



Her skirt's has a silver applique which reads "Love Gaultier Paris".  I love the hoop skirt, the combination of shimmering patches of silver lace, beading and tinsel.

And the accessories!


Notice that the straps are edged with silver zipper...


And they hold an Indian baby in a beaded bag on her back.


I love all the details on this little bag.

Gaultier's entire collection was inspired by the Indian gypsies of Rajasthan which included a bride he had seen being carried to her wedding on an elephant.

And what delighted me even more than the gown was this surprise hiding beneath that voluminous hooped skirt...


This little band of happy Indian gypsy girls...


If that doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will.

Happy, joyful weekend everyone!

15 comments:

Wendy said...

A feast for the senses to be sure! Such stunning dresses! The work is just fabulous and each dress is a true work of art! I could spend hours just studying the intricate work that has been finished on each of these dresses. Thank you for sharing this wonderful buffet of stitching!

Rachel said...

What a delightful group of little girls!

It's true that the craftsmanship on show in the real haute couture shows is absolutely breathtaking - often I think that's their entire point!

MaggieLove said...

WOW! Eye candy! Love the dress with the pleating as a modern wedding dress and the little girls...too cute! TFS

Marian Hertzog said...

Beautiful! Amazing work. Can't wait to see what you do with your gold embroidery! I love the feather flowers I think the most!

Catherine said...

Oh my gosh ~ those girls are the cutest!! I always love your posts on the haute couture fashion shows! So much to see with each dress ~ I think my favorite is the Valentino!

Sweetpea said...

I could have passed out & died happily after the Saab gown...but no, I trooped through the rest of your un-earthly delights and swooned myself into blissdom!!

Done yourself proud once again, miz Susan! I will never tire of your haute posts, not ever. The textiles, the beading, and ohmygawd the gorgeous lace, all a supreme delight ~ THANK YOU!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I love these posts.
Those little girls are too cute. Love their little bare feet and anklets too.
Don't you wonder how designers can top their last creations year after year!
xx, Carol

Createology said...

This is eye candy of joyful bliss. I am so happy Susan that you view these and then share the highlights. Truly amazing fabrics, designs, stitching, beading, embroidery and lacework. Hours and hours of dedicated work. Creative Hearts are Happy Hearts...

Starr White said...

Oh, SWOON! The silver Valentino is my favorite! Breathtaking! and the Gaultier is haute couture crazy quilting, is it not? thanks so much for sharing this treasure trove of inspiration :)

Bobbi Pohl said...

Dresses are fun to see, but that first picture is kind of scary. Looks like an alien invasion with all those zombie faces and plastered back short hair styles.

Sheila said...

I'm always fascinated by your fashion posts, Susan. This is a great collection of details, and as always, you've done such a beautiful job of editing and compiling your list of your greatest hits of the season. It's fun coursework though. It's so fun to see fashion through your eyes.

Isn't the Gaultier dress interesting? Really sends home the point that one's particular sense of humor drives an end result of a design solution to a significant degree. More corsets and hoops. After some editing of my comment, I'm just going to leave it at that man loves his layers and textures and irony. What a naughty guy. You can't help but laugh with him.

liniecat said...

Remarkable stitching and ideas! and those little lasses are a joy all on their own.
A fab post, thanks so much!

Mosaic Magpie said...

I am sitting here thinking how grand it would be to be in the cutting room when they start creating each dress....a little mouse I would be collecting all the bits and pieces. The Indian papoose...wow what a detail and I did not see that coming. The imaginations these designers have! Those sweet little girls...what a thrill that was for them and their mothers! Great post!
Deb

Miriam said...

I love the combination of organza and lace by Valentino and Ellie Saab. Ohh to be able to stitch a dress designed by either of them!
The little girls look like they are having a ball!

Lorraine said...

Always enjoy reading your fashion posts Susan and this was does not disappoint. Gorgeous and inspiring ideas.

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