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PARIS — Christian Dior took to the runway with sparkles and tailoring on Monday for the first day of Paris’ Haute Couture week, sending models down the catwalk in strapless dresses and neat winter jackets.
While the fashion world is still wavering on how to cope with the coronavirus outbreak, Dior decided to stage an in-person catwalk show for one of the most anticipated events of the season.
Masked guests included actresses Rosamund Pike, Madelaine Petsch and Claire Foy along with influencer Chiara Ferragni, and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
Rhinestone and pearl embroideries dominated the collection on ankle-length dresses, shimmering tights paired with glitter bodysuits, sleeveless jackets and low-heel shoes.
The profusion of glitter was broken with neutral tones that ranged from black to off-white. Designs included ecru cashmere capes, grey pleated ensembles and long silk evening dresses cut low in the back.
The venue, a temporary structure in the gardens of the Rodin Museum, featured larger-than-life embroidered artworks from Indian artist couple Madhvi Parekh and Manu Parekh. The exhibition of surreal pieces remained in place for public viewing throughout the week.
LVMH-owned Dior collaborated with the Chanakya School of Craft based in Mumbai for some of the silhouettes, including a top embroidered with silver ribbons and crystal tassels matched with an A-line skirt.
With this Spring-Summer 2022 collection, described by designer Maria Grazia Chiuri as a highlight of art and craft, the creative chief wanted to promote a new generation of craftspeople.
“I think that to be a couture brand today, for Dior, means to support all this ability around the world and to promote and to maintain life,” Ms. Chiuri said in an interview with Reuters ahead of the show. “Because with the COVID, the risk is it disappears.”
HORSE STRUTS CHANEL CATWALK
French fashion house Chanel shook up conventions by sending a horse out onto the catwalk at its Haute Couture show in Paris on Tuesday.
The animal was ridden by Charlotte Casiraghi, a niece of Prince Albert of Monaco and a competitive showjumper who is also a Chanel brand ambassador.
Wearing a Chanel jacket made of black tweed and decorated with sequins, Ms. Casiraghi rode out at the start of the show, cantering several times around a catwalk designed to resemble a horse training ring.
The rest of the models — this time on foot — came out onto the catwalk afterwards.
The show, at the Grand Palais Ephemere, an exhibition and performance space in Paris, was conceived by Virginie Viard, who became Chanel’s creative director in 2019 following the death of haute couture icon Karl Lagerfeld.
STÉPHANE ROLLAND RETURNS TO PARIS
French label Stéphane Rolland returned to the runway on Tuesday for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, offering an array of feminine draped dresses and billowing cloud-like gowns.
After almost two years, the designer Stéphane Rolland said he felt it was time to get back to an in-person show for his new couture collection.
“We designed the collection to be displayed on a runway — if there were any last-minute problems, we could always change course,” the French designer told Reuters before the show.
Held in the Palais de Chaillot, at a stone’s throw from the Eiffel tower, the spring-summer 2022 presentation opened to the beat of Aretha Franklin and a series of fluid kaftans made of satin crepe in black and ivory tones.
Mr. Rolland’s muse, the Spanish model Nieves Alvarez, strode down the catwalk in a hooded golden metallic blazer paired with wide pants in white wool.
The label, known for its sculptural outfits, slightly refined its designs but silhouettes remained bold and striking. “I have the impression that with what we have gone through, it was necessary to turn a page — without turning my back on what I had done before,” Mr. Rolland said.
“I want to highlight the body of a free woman differently — to project a desirable look, and play with transparency in a subtle manner, rather than a slightly vulgar style. It’s about sensuality, not sexuality.”
Tailored dresses, a long brown tunic, draped gowns plunging in the back or front alternated on the catwalk while other models paraded in transparent chiffon dresses.
Ms. Alvarez closed the show in a black velvet and satin ballgown and a huge emerald necklace.
Before the presentation, Mr. Rolland paid homage to Thierry Mugler with a recorded message honoring the designer who died on Sunday last week.
ELIE SAAB BRINGS VIBRANT LOOKS
Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab returned to the Paris catwalk after nearly two years, turning the page on a troubled period marked by the Beirut port blast and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), with a collection of vibrant, red carpet-ready looks.
Mr. Saab sensed a need for release, he told Reuters in an interview ahead of the show.
“I felt my clients are looking for release, they want things that are flashy, with colors, lively things — I see that this period has affected a lot of people,” he said.
Drawing on the influence of the Mediterranean region’s colors and civilizations, the designer worked bright hues into his collection.
Models wound around the room in tulle ball gowns and capes covered in bright Bougainvillea flowers, which contrasted in texture and color with shimmery blue-toned dresses covered in embroidery.
Mr. Saab’s previous runway show in the French capital took place in Feb. 2020, just before the novel coronavirus swept across the globe, halting travel and prompting lockdowns.
Weddings and awards ceremonies — key events that send clients to Saab — were canceled for months.
Then, in August, Beirut was rocked by the explosion that killed more than 200 people, wounded thousands and laid waste to entire neighborhoods.
The offices of Mr. Saab’s namesake label were badly damaged, as was his home, its arches and marbled columns covered with dust and rubble.
“Thank God, no one died — we were blessed,” Mr. Saab said, noting they were able to quickly return to the offices in the weeks that followed.
Work continued on his home, however.
“There’s still my house — that was destroyed as well — we are still finishing the works,” said the designer, who founded his label in 1982, at the height of the country’s 1975-1990 civil war.
“We, Lebanese, when we go through difficult times — each time we experience difficult times, we transform the challenge into something better. There’s no other country that has had so many problems,” he said. — Reuters