Donatella Versace made it easy for us to enjoy haute couture Fall 2016 without intimidation or fuss. She described her 2016 fall couture by saying, “This collection is different for me. I put a lot of attention on draping, and less on embroideries and super-sexy.” A youthful modernity comes through with her body skimming silhouettes and hem to waist full leg seam slits. We know Versace is an avid fitness zealot and clearly, as evidenced by her designs, she expects her clients to be equally committed to the gym to sculpt a perfect, Greek goddess-like body. What was beyond compare was a red dress that challenges the famous house of the big “V” for its domination over this color (Valentino for those of you playing at home). This was 911 alarming style that left us in full arrest.
At the Alberta Ferretti fall 2016 haute couture show movement was the theme and fringe was the main entree, with a side serving of scalloped edges and art deco dressing. Her usual feminine forms included plunging necklines and barely there, see-through fabrics. Some of her fringe pieces were so delicate they resembled fine ostrich feathers. Other times, Ferretti used fabrics and finishes that were so radiant and iridescent they mimicked the glistening of mother of pearl. While Ferretti is a relative new comer to the couture line up, she shows her prowess in hand crafted dresses that frankly are even beautiful than her RTW pieces. A true artisan with uncompromising standards, Ferretti knows how to dress a woman to make her feel and look sexy and ladylike.
When you burst on the fashion scene outfitting Rhianna in a canary yellow, fur trimmed gown with the world watching, you’re gonna attract attention to see what comes next. Filling her Paris show with curious onlookers and influential fashion movers, Guo Pei’s fall couture show for 2016 had some amateur mistakes and some non- traditional risks. Like other designers this season, Pei included fringe and iridescent color tones to add texture and allure to her gowns – a combination that was safe, elegant, and marketable. Pei is unafraid to include fur in an over-the-top kind of way that puts it center stage. Fox is her pelt of choice for its plush, full appearance and she dyes it unabashedly. Regrettably, Pei tried to make a dress out of fox. Using what looked like a toilet paper roll for a dress form, the result was bulky and unflattering – an amateur mistake the couture elite won’t be so quick to forget and forgive.
Ulyana Sergeenko and business partner Frol Burimskiy celebrated their ninth year on the haute couture calendar with their fall 2016 collection. From Russian roots, Sergeenko draws on a culture rich in history. Reflective of the decadent days of the Tsars to the bread line Bolsheviks, the collection showed restraint mixed with opulence. There was lots of fur…particularly some beautifully elegant intarsia mink and fox coats and a chic cowl-neck mink sweater. A Russian broadtail walking coat in pearl white shimmered like a silver white winter. But outside of the fur collection, the pieces were very simple and though pretty, they didn’t seem to reflect haute couture ideals.
Francesco Scognamiglio’s invitation from the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to be a guest member this season was his dream come true. Scognamiglio, an Italian tailor-turned designer from Naples, Italy used the grand stage to take chances and push boundaries. His opening piece was a 3/4 length coat made of PVC trimmed in mink and Swarovski crystals -a statement-making piece for sure. He used high neck pleats for portrait collars in sea foam organza. The art is in the details including embroideries, beading and gold and silver encrusted lace. Scongnamigilo’s artisanship showcases constructions and embellishments based on well-established couture techniques.
More Haute Couture to come…..