Stéphane Rolland’s 2016 fall haute couture collection proved that one can literately reinvent the wheel – or evening gown as this case may be. This collection was a showcase of one-of-a-kind entrance making gowns…the stuff easily associated with haute couture. Rolland’s deft hand at tailoring and draping was apparent throughout on gowns of duchess silk satin – the epitome of elegance. He cut away gowns straight down the middle leaving us wondering how in the world that works? Is there enough Hollywood tape to keep the belly button cleavage gowns together? What was especially inventive was Rolland’s haute “fur” capsule collection. A knitted mink panel on a suede skirt or a white knitted mink oversized cape and white mink windowpane vest were fresh, modern and pure luxe.
For his fall 2016 haute couture collection Giambattista Valli created a fantasy grouping highlighted by pleats and ruffles and beautiful draping. He focused on the sleeve with complex and innovative architecture that showcased his skilled hand at couture technique. From little girl baby doll dresses to big girl ball gowns, each look was more enticing than the next. Pewter encrusted diamond ropes, earrings, and belts gave these dresses that special occasion touch. A pale blue mink with chiffon sleeves shows the workmanship and time required to create these garments and confirms their place in the haute couture universe. Adding sheared mink and broadtail just heightened the ecstasy. A hot pink fur with orange beading was young, fun, with a gotta-have-it-now kind of urgency.
If you’re familiar with the show “How’d They Do That?” you’d be certain to put J. Mendel’s entire couture collection for fall 2016 as the season premier. Exhibiting his keen understanding of construction, Gilles Mendel showed his unparalleled skill and innovate techniques in working with fur. Gilles, son of Jacques Mendel, is the fifth generation in this historical family lineage to impart hidden “tools” to create masterpieces . For example, fur off-the-shoulder looks, a broadtail coat laser cut to look like mesh and a white off-the shoulder column dress with mink tiles on chiffon—no easy feats indeed. It was an opulent collection with sable, chinchilla, and mink embellished with, what else but of course, 24kt gold!. This is stuff that takes time, money, and a few family secrets.
The Ralph and Russo design team Tamara Ralph and Micheal Russo made a floral motif the centerpiece of their 2016 fall couture collection. Fine fabrics of silk or organza were ornately embellished with hand painted trellised floral vines, embroidered multi colored stitched flowers, or delicate petals atop fabric. Rich jewel tone colors against ivory backdrops mirrored botanical prints on parchment paper. The duo also created a few voluminous white on white ball gowns with laser cut prints and fine feather touches. Overall, the collection was youthful and fresh. Probably best appreciated in person, the superfine adornment doesn’t translate from afar. But out of the garden of gowns appeared a white cape made from horizontal cuts of mink-a cloud of white floated across the secret garden.
When you think about a teenage professional singer crooning about love and life, it’s sometimes hard to understand how they can do it with such emotion yet without much experience to draw from. Well the same goes for 29-year-old Beirut-based couturier Rami Kadi. How can a young man tap into women so completely? Her desires, yearning for beauty and eternal youth are expressed in each and every gown he creates. Cut-outs with just enough midriff, nipped waists for accentuated hips and patterns that emphasized the intricate detailing found in couture – it’s no wonder that Kadi’s clientele list is growing exponentially. Kadi says, “Couture doesn’t have to be classic. It has to be couture in terms of the savoir faire and level of craftsmanship, but you don’t have to look like a princess, or if you do it should be in a modern way.” Well sign us up. We want to be a part of that plan!
We’re going to go out on a limb-a very, very short limb- and say that when you see mostly colors of army green and bisque in haute couture, you’re not gonna think the best is yet to come. At the Alexandre Vauthier fall couture show for 2016, his designs in large did appear to be a bit common and expected. But looks can be deceiving as his trademark clean, sharp tailoring and precise garment construction allow for the simple, easy chic. This is part of the magic of couture. Mixed in with the muted were sparkly black and gold beaded gowns. They glistened with an intensity that trains your eyes to follow every fleck. One saving grace was a belted red fox chubby walking coat. This was a 1970’s jet-set sophisticate kind of look we hope to see more of.