Let me set the scene: It's a cold Paris evening (-5 degrees to be exact), I'm FROW'ing at the Atelier Versace couture show, surrounded by cashed-up VIPs wearing copious amounts of fur, and then suddenly, quite literally out of nowhere, photographers encircle and fire off their light bulbs in blinding unison — Rita Ora has just emerged barely covered in an orange cut-out mini-dress held together by glimmering ropes filled with Swarovski crystals.
First thought: We're not in Kansas anymore.
Second thought: Isn't Rita cold?
Paris men's fashion week, with it's humble set designs and low-key editors, feels like a book club compared to the big guns and high stakes of couture. With couture, everything is elevated: The international fashion cognoscenti are in attendance (Anna Wintour is a few seats away from Mira Duma); celebrities abound (Uma Thurman, Diane Kruger, Gwyneth Paltrow and Monica Bellucci to name a few); top models dominate the runway (sure, menswear had Lucky Blue, but that's just one candle in the wind to the mega watt star power of Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Joan Smalls and Rosie Huntington-Whitely); and then, there are the gob-smackingly beautiful gowns (so many adjectives: artisanal, hand-crafted, other-worldly). There's just so much more... money.
What were my favourite looks now that the circus of Paris Couture Week is over? Well, with the benefit of hindsight, and as I type out this story in the Royal Orchid Spa of Thai Airways (Side note: Did you know that business class travellers receive complementary foot massages in the Bangkok airport? Yes, it's true. Do it. Pure bliss.), I've whittled down my favourites to these top five looks.
5. Atelier Versace
Powerful, sexy, and in control. The very definition of the Atelier Versace show. And, the very essence of that black billowing dress worn by Mariacarla Boscono strung together by Swarovski crystal rope.
The silk crêpe gown painted with sushi, vegetables, seafood and butterfly wings that matched the runway. Devine, demure, and totally delectable.
3. Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci
Mixed in with the menwear show during Paris men's fashion week, Riccardo Tisci presented a curated selection of twelve couture silhouettes. The result? Everyone left talking about the final look: A show-stopping fur-collar jacket, bordered with crocodile and python hems, draped over a Chantilly lace dress.
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli know what women want to wear; and, just as important, what men want to see women wear. Case in point: That sepia tulle dress with arabesque applications in multi-coloured, and antiquated, plush velvet. Rich, modern, stunning.
Beautiful from afar, breathtakingly intricate up close. For Karl Lagerfeld, spring 2016 was an ode to nature, and with that, turned the Grand Palais into a zen Japanese garden for an ecologically-minded collection that incorporated wild cotton and wood chips. One of the stand outs was this structured 'rugby shoulder' dress painstakingly embroidered with florals, wood paillettes and gem stones. High design meets high needlework.
To see all our coverage of Haute Couture SS16, click here.
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