A modern vision of a Garden of Earthly Delights mingling innocence and decadence, Dior’s Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 2015-2016 show yet again dazzled with its unrivalled creative power. The week also saw Fendi present its first-ever Haute Couture runway show, while Givenchy unveiled a few looks in its Spring-Summer 2016 Menswear show.
Purity and luxury came together in the Rodin Museum’s courtyard as Christian Dior models showcased the Maison’s Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 2015-2016 collection against the backdrop of Raf Simons’ Perspex palace – a structure of panels covered in pointillist dabs of colour like a painter’s palette. The Dior designs clearly evoke the Old Masters of Flemish painting that inspired them, with spectacular drapery and billowing sleeves on coats and flowing gowns recalling the artists’ technical mastery and their reverence for noble materials. A modern expression of the same technical intricacy could be felt in the soft hand-painted prints and intricate assemblages of cut feathers that conjure up the spirit of Impressionism and Pointillism. Sensuality is hinted at – a slit, a skirt suddenly shortening, the teasing use of crepe de chine for an inner lining, jewelled gilets chastely shielding the bust – giving a fleeting intimation of the form underneath the long, flowing volumes.
Fendi chose the opulent Théâtre des Champs-Elysées as the setting for its first Haute Couture collection, dubbed ‘Haute Fourrure’. Karl Lagerfeld’s series of striking, extravagant looks artfully showcased all the ways the virtuoso designer has pushed the boundaries of creativity with this precious material over the half-century he has been creative director of Fendi. Designs incorporated orchids, leather panels and feather trimmings, while an accomplished interplay of materials served to transform furs into a winter coat, an evening cape or a summer top, in turn.
Givenchy wove eleven Haute Couture looks into its Menswear runway show in June. Naomi Campbell, Kendall Jenner and Mariacarla Boscono wore designs that dovetailed with the mystical theme of the menswear collection, which overlayed religious references on corsets and the slightly Gothic transparent lacy dresses channelling a hippy vibe.