Ystyle trend Report: Haute Couture 2018
YStyle checks in on the couture collections for six of the most notable shows for our spring 2018 roundup. The Art of Flamboyance
There is a certain allure and glamour that comes only from haute couture, and creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s latest collection for Valentino has captured its very essence. Cascading ruffles, outsized bows, operatic shapes and stunning color combinations radiate an exuberance that’s hard to shake off, especially when done in the form of floor-sweeping taffeta coats, bold-colored silk trousers, see-through sequined tops, and voluminous gowns. A sense of newness is felt in all the designs, while giant fluffy feather toppers custom-made by milliner Philip Treacy help add to the fantasy. Interestingly, each look in the show is named after its maker — a nod to the artisans who dedicate their skills (not to mention hundreds of hours) to crafting and refining these couture creations. “The people of couture, the hands, they make it work,” Piccioli explains. Haute couture may be the zenith of fashion, but it is also the most personal.
“I don’t work for museums, I don’t work for archives — I really work to dress real women,” says Giambattista Valli, backstage at his couture presentation staged at the Musée des Beaux-Arts. This season was a study in lightness for the designer — taking the grandeur and the traditions of haute couture and modernizing it through the technical expertise of his atelier. There were embroidered mini-dresses paired with thigh-high leather boots for every floor-grazing frock; dégradé micro-jewels adorn short sheathes; and a pair of sensual ruffled confections for every other show-stopping gown — a Valli signature, bien sûr — with a rumored count of 400 yards of plissé tulle for each. Lush and oh-so-sweet, the collection was a veritable garden of earthly delights.Lunar Phase
Clare Waight Keller’s debut couture outing for Givenchy, dubbed “Mysteries of a Garden at Night,” signals a new chapter for the French fashion house — one marked by a strong, refined take on femininity. Tailoring plays a pivotal role in the collection, presented by way of narrow noir coats layered over fully sequined gowns, sleek wide-legged pantsuits and sculpted tops paired with embellished tulle skirts. “I wanted to use the strength of tailoring, but in a feminine way,” she emphasizes. In creating the couture pieces, Waight Keller utilized Japanese fabrics that would fully soak up dyes, resulting in highly saturated tones, and favored silhouettes that would flatter the female form. It’s this attention to luxurious detail that, while subtle, makes all the difference. Modern, dignified, polished — Givenchy's first couture collection in eight years is definitely worth the wait.Garden Party
A traditional French garden built inside the Grand Palais —complete with trellis archways, a fountain centerpiece, stone benches, and over 10,000 English roses — is the dreamlike setting for Chanel’s haute couture s/s 2018 show. And while the set is undeniably beautiful, the clothes are even more exhilarating. A fresh take on the French maison’s signature tweed opens the show, reinterpreted for spring via round-shouldered midi dresses, fur-trimmed A-line coats, corolla skirt suits, and even Lucite heel boots. Meanwhile, pretty florals adorn a bevy of flowing gowns, as only Karl Lagerfeld would have it. Observe: watercolor prints on intricately pleated skirts are made to look like strewn petals, organdy flowers on ball gowns are encrusted with dainty crystals, and delicate bloom embroidery adds dimension to ultra-feminine chiffon frocks. “I don’t know what I’m doing, in a way,” Lagerfeld confides. “It’s just a feeling.” But oh, what a feeling!Bio Mimicry
Iris Van Herpen
“I think we, as humans, don’t even come close to the intelligence within nature,” shares Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen, talking about her most recent couture collection forVogue.com. Titled “Ludi Nature” or “Nature Play,” Van Herpen’s clothes still hew close to her signature oeuvre of floating exoskeletons and 3D-printed second skins but this season, her pieces have a decidedly “lighter feel” — still otherworldly, but closer to the idea of something natural and wearable; well, at least as far as Van Herpen’s couture work goes. Observe: for one, the clothes are either cut closer to the body or billow out in couture-appropriate gowns — marching out in silk-tulle sheathes made technical with undulating shapes in the likeness of armored scales from a futuristic creature; or Mylar interwoven with laser-cut leathers made to look like the delicate foliage of a sentient flower. Flora or fauna, Iris Van Herpen seems to ask. Just take your pick.
Surrealism was the point of all departure for Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior haute couture collection. Set outside the Musée Rodin, the walls were swathed in muslin cloth, sitting atop a runway decked out in black and white checkerboard floor. Decorated with floating mobiles of plaster body parts — sculpted sets of eyes, noses, torsos and lips — Chiuri’s sent down a parade of Bar-inflected silhouettes rendered exclusively in black and white. Dior’s “New Look” for 2018? Severe, to be sure, but afforded all the luxuries and high drama that feels signature to the storied maison. Highlights include sheer birdcage bodices rendered in illusion tulles and horsehair ribbings; cinched waist jackets flaring out into soft pleated silks. The cherry on Dior’s cake? Exquisite eye masks made by legendary milliner Stephen Jones topped almost every other look.