Haute couture week never ceases to amaze and this season was no different. Embodying a nostalgic and romantic melody, Autumn/Winter ’16 looked back to days of old, where fast fashion hadn’t yet come to fruition, where the women of the ateliers were acknowledged for all their efforts and time-consuming labours and city-dwelling lovers weren’t driven by the likes of on-screen dating apps.
It is not unusual to see an elaborate set for Chanel catwalk shows, and this season was no different. For AW16, Chanel’s couture seamstresses were included on the set, who Karl Lagerfeld then took his end of show bow arm-in-arm with, many still wearing their sewing kits. The couture itself, took place in an array of classic Chanel tweed, over black suede boots and gloves, creating a canvas on which the cropped wide-leg pantsuits and flatly squared shoulders took pride place.
Viktor & Rolf repurposed garments and various textiles from past archives, finding new and inventive ways to painstakingly stitch together swathes of multi-coloured tulle with shirt fabrics and denim. Ultimately resulting in a wearable art collection, much to the designers’ technical skill credit.
Elie Saab stormed the catwalk with a ‘Love in New York’ concept, showcasing intricate embroidery of lit skyscraper windows and the discernible Chrysler building, with velveteen birds and crystal heart motifs across full-length gowns. What really stole the show, however, were the vast array of monochromatic blooms; stitched beads on tulle or three-dimensional embroidery on Chantilly lace, offering the cynical city a sparkling hope of a fairy tale ending.
On the theme of monochromatic collections, Dior’s Couture collection was completely void of colour, except the token metallic embellishments, (this is couture after all); gowns were seen through the classic Dior silhouette. What was refreshing was the choice of footwear with such embellished gowns, not just any footwear but lace-up flat sandals – an odd choice for the colder season, but I’m sure there’s a logical, nay, inspired reason behind it.