Friday, March 31, 2023

#RunwayRundown: Paris Couture Week A/W’15

Just as we finished falling for the menswear at Fashion Weeks for Spring/Summer’16, Couture Fashion Week in Paris lands us back in the womens’ tribe, with a catwalk full of perfectly-crafted looks that we can’t help but want.

Below in our Runway Rundown is the 10 most notable collections spied, according to Team SPICE – see it and tell us if you concur with our edit.

1. Alexandre Vauthier


Alexandre Vauthier based his badass collection loosely on Native America – the results being lashings of fringe and a fierceness found in the combination of high shine leather and fur.

But what is best summed up as sheer fabulousness (and we try not to use this word ever, here at SPICE) probably lies in the extremes of the range; in the skinny, patent leather pants, sliced to reveal cutouts that mimic the print of a leaf’s underside; in the diamond cutouts that stretched down a tight-legged jumpsuit; in the way the aforementioned fringe slapped models’ shins as they walked, trailing from wide waist belts till just above the ankle.


And then there was the contrast between the smart and glamourous pieces one might don to upscale, professional eves out (androgynous tuxedo tunics, wrapped in the front) and the party-ready items that wouldn’t look out of place in Gwen Stefani’s wardrobe: silky, quirkily cut gowns to be worn with a punchy varsity jacket and asymmetric dresses with one-shouldered, lace bodices and a layered skirt spilling down the opposite side of the body.

Things we think best reserved for the bold among you, the feeling being “Wallflowers, beware.”

2. Ulyana Sergeenko


When you can count Rihanna among your fans (the singer having worn a piece to act out a murder-kidnapping in her “Bitch Better Have My Money” video) you know you’ve got something special.

But when designer Ulyana Sergeenko sent models down Paris’ Autumn/Winter’15 Couture runway, we at SPICE knew she’d made our wardrobe’s new season life – the epiphany arriving 6 looks in, when a black Jessica Rabbit-worthy gown slinked on in, tiered down one side with green pleats.


Inspired by her homeland, Russia, but more specifically, a set of grand Saint Petersburg apartments and their plush interiors, the collection saw the type of textures you’d want to wear when head-turning: a full fur coat in peach calling our desire, while heavily embroidered dresses with fancy lampshade hems stopped hearts on the Frow.

After a sort of boudoir-chic that only Hollywood’s most special style mavens can work? Well, you might want to get in there quick, before the likes of Rihanna snaps up all things Ulyana Sergeenko.

3. Giambattista Valli


At Giambattista Valli, it was all about the details – the embellishes used having created a textured and eye-trapping collection we could only describe as dreamy.

We’ll start by telling you there were tutus – the stuff of a girly-girl’s best wardrobe fantasy – made wearable for tomboys over long, slim trousers (which were sometimes made of mesh), though left ultra femme when done in feathers and forming the skirt of a minidress.


And it was this contrast of volume, texture and proportion that made the showcase, alongside the designer’s clever use of colour; vivid grass green, powder pink, orange and monochrome, oft decorated by a metallic silver that acted like sharp and chic tinsel.

A feminine, moreish and inescapable range full of quirks, Giambattista Valli has us hooked.

4. Fendi


For Karl Lagerfeld’s 50th year designing for the fashion house, all sorts of fur came purring down the catwalk at Fendi’s Fall’15 couture showcase, where coats were hooded, trailing the floor; knee or ankle-length to suit however one might like to wear it.

A few that don’t like to wear fur through, PETA, were outside the show, rallying for their distaste – not that it stopped the press praising the collection, which didn’t see one look without a skin of some sort.


Mostly, the ensembles came Cruella DeVille-d in monochrome – a rare peach popped against white on the rare occasion. But, while the rarity of the animals said skins came from remains a mystery (there was no detailed show notes accompanying their walk on Paris’ ramp), the range makes clear that this designer’s love of the stuff is not soon to be extinct; the flame’s 50 years old and still going strong.

5. Atelier Versace


Designed to show the “two faces” of Versace – Donatella herself telling they “wanted to show the softer side of Versace,” this collection brought all the feels of a festival-going pixie who prefers her wardrobe delicate, feminine yet touched with rock’n’roll; a combination Team SPICE enjoyed seeing on the ramp.

Cue cutouts, frayed hems and sheer corsetry that held gowns together with thin strips of floral wrapped about the bodice – all worn with platforms and dainty flower headdresses.


We’re not sure which field Versace’s couture gowns would be welcome in, but if you’re heading out and hoping to make looking at you an event in itself, a piece from this collection will do it – and quicker than any fairy dust could, too.

6. Maison Margiela


With John Galliano’s well-documented departure and return to fashion, it seems the designer is using his past (all that’s now behind him) as the inspiration for his creativity; the back to most of his couture collection pieces being where the real magic was at.

Gowns that came surreal and crowded in the front, but free-flowing and elegant in the rear; an unexpected pop of colour surprising us when some models turned – all working to leave us second-guessing what we thought we saw coming down the ramp and making us as eager to see each piece leave as we were to welcome its approach.


And, while we’re not sure whether this double encounter with Mr Galliano’s talent was indication of how he views his career past (which includes a body of work that can’t be touched or tarnished by any controversy), we can tell that the future of the designer will be a continuation of the good things he is known for – this couture range being 360 degree proof that he’s back and looking forward to applause all-round.

7. Schiaparelli


Painting models’ faces like porcelain dolls, Schiaparelli’s designer clearly had a lot of fun playing dress up for Autumn/Winter’15, with a collection that brought girly, care-free vibes to couture.

Bright, cartoon-ready colours clung to fur, which hung randomly about the body of coats on the runway, forming an accentuating outline to an abstract print that was as brave as it was strokable – but among the Barbie-esque, childlike quality of these eye-popping pieces was a decadent and grown up theme, seen via the ancient Greek-style busts depicted on a dress, lavish golds and the scattering of brocade here and there.


This is the range to wear if you’re into all things classy but can ooze unlimited levels of cool when getting dressed.

8. Armani Prive


At Armani, with a collection entitled “Shocking,” punk inspirations turned up something energetic and elegant, and all sorts of “wear me, now.”

The era’s pinup, Siouxsie Sioux was reincarnated by the models, who wore a strong brow, closely-cropped hair and a bright pout – a touch of glam to bounce off the shaggy feathers and fringing that flounced down the runway and onto our wish lists.


The palette played with purples, greens, blue, black and pink, which made its best moment on a sequinned suit that dip-dyed like a night’s sky and made a case for wearing it under just that, whether you’re dinner, drinks or club bound, or some a-lister heading for a red carpet.

Team SPICE fell hard for this collection which, against all the glitz and glam of it, isn’t ‘shocking’ news at all.

9. Chanel


Karl Lagerfeld’s creations for Chanel’s couture collection came to him in a dream – one he had about Chanel’s 1930s sketches of her love, Paul Iribe. Hence the model’s androgynous bobs then, paired with a bold set of brows and pixie boots that reminded Team SPICE of Peter Pan (the boy that never grew up).

Except the models on Mr Lagerfeld’s casino-set catwalk were grown and sexy in their subtly show-stopping ensembles – the range made up of twinsets mostly, and full of the Chanel brand monickers, like the contrast trim, tweeds (though modernised and quilted by a very fancy computer called Sweetie) and famed Chanel jackets.


Shoulders were given more than a moment’s consideration too, with the designer using epaulettes to accentuate the frame, rather than dated shoulder pads, but truly it was the textured items – those crafted in feathered, petalled or generous layers of sequin and tulle – that took our breath away.

Well, that and the boy-meets-girl bridal suit Kendall Jenner closed the show with; inspiring wedding wear that we’d happily work a room in on any given day of the week.

10. Victor&Rolf


Curtailing from ready-to-wear and pledging a commitment to couture only, the designers at Viktor & Rolf came out to sing proof that fashion is art, definitely, and undressing models during their most-talked-about showcase in order to show how the fact is so.

Editors, fashion journalists and photographers were stunned by the garments that walked the runway; heavily draped and unusual pieces that were abstract in shape and print. But, when the duo removed items from models – revealing the sharply folded hems were actually hinged and stretched out to make the frame of a canvas – the room was gripped by the collection’s double beauty.


Hanging the ‘gowns’ on a plain white wall, Viktor & Ralph showed how their efforts were both good enough to decorate the body and any interior interested in abstract paintings or Dutch still life – and with each extravagant silhouette unfolded into the showcase-turned-gallery space, Team SPICE appreciated the efforts and thinking behind the brand’s “Wearable Art” collection.

Find yourself one of these dual-purposed dresses, but don’t wear it – it’ll be worth a lot more if you can keep it unscathed and ready to hang in a museum sometime in the faraway future.

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