Best shows from Paris Couture spring 2017 Day 1: Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, Ralph & Russo and Giambattista Valli

Best shows from Paris Couture spring 2017 Day 1: Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, Ralph & Russo and Giambattista Valli

Paris couture fashion week

Text: Norman Tan Brent Taalur Ramsey

Day one of Paris couture fashion week explored Schiaparelli's opulent simplicity, Dior's fairytale magic, Ralph & Russo's new urban look and Giambattista Valli's unrestrained femininity

The collection: Within Schiaparelli's Place Vendôme salon, design director Bertrand Guyon sent out a spring 2017 couture collection inspired by the "opulence and simplicity that define Schiaparelli." While 'simplicity' isn't a word we'd normally use to describe the legendary designer, this collection had us asking: Was there a side of this simplicity we didn't know about? Was it simple in terms of shape, simple adornments, or simple fabrics? After a while, the answer became clear: This collection was simply Schiaparelli.

Favourite looks: Filled with classic Elsa-isms — like the recurring padlocks and golden sunbursts — this collection wasn't putting on a false face for anyone. Though, it did so literally in the form of intarsia black-wool faces on a jacket and jumpsuit combo (look 3) — and that's exactly why this collection was such a perfect start to couture week. Sure, as a whole it seemed a bit incoherent, but individually, the looks appeared authentic, expertly crafted and full of colourful options. Another favourite was the delicate kimono-dress made from flower-petal moulded silk organza gauze (look 21). Simply ethereal.

The celebs: The front row at Schiaparelli's couture show seems to be getting more and more star-studded by the season. This time, guests such as singers Kylie Minogue and Héloïse Letissier (lead of the band Christine and the Queens), and actresses Kate Bosworth, Thandie Newton, and Melissa George, all showed up to show their support — or perhaps shop for their next trip down the red carpet.

Buro loves: The accessories. Only take a closer look, and you'll soon discover an entire hoard of covetable goods: Beaded necklaces with tassels and a golden birdcage pendant (looks 1 & 26), two tasselled clutches with an arrow-through-the-heart charm (looks 7 & 8) and a series of thigh-hugging boots that could have easily stolen the show on their own (looks 2, 5, 10, 12 & 13). 

The collection: This was artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri's first haute couture collection for the house of Dior, and she likened it to entering a labyrinth — an adventure into the heart of the maison scattered with flowers, rich history, and iconography of founder Christian Dior. What transpired was an introduction of black gothic gowns finished with facemasks in the shape of insects and animals (created by Stephen Jones) for punk sensibility, followed by ethereal evening dresses painted in the powdery palette of mauve, blues and pinks and flowing with layers of pleated tulles, remounted lace, and organza. Chiuri's fascination with divination (which we saw during her time at Valentino) emerged in the form of the Domino coat styled with a black velvet hood; the iconic Bar jacket reinvented with a cape, and embroidered shooting stars and tarot symbols on bell-shaped dresses. Magical, transcendent, and something out of a fairytale — Little Black Riding Hood perhaps?

The venue:
 A garden maze, twisting and wild, littered with moss at your feet and bordered by untrimmed hedges — all leading to a central tree dripping with crystals and lights. Housed within a mirrored venue, specially built for the show in the grounds of Musée Rodin, it was a magical mise en scène for the collection that was one part A Midsummer Night's Dream, and another part Pan's Labyrinth.

Favourite looks: That blood-red matelassé dress with a towering feathered crown (look 14); that striking metallic plissé gown with its Grecian goddess vibe (look 50); and hands down, that sublime blush pink exit with a hood and layers of tulle trapping exquisite flowers (look 38). Stunning. 

The collection: Over the years, London-based design duo Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo have created countless dazzling red carpet moments for Hollywood's most elite leading ladies. But, it wasn't only their signature red carpet-ready gowns they were showing on the spring 2017 couture catwalk; Ralph & Russo took to day one with a new look — one that was, dare we say, urban. Complete with contemporary daywear options and a few (shockingly cool) embellished visors, this collection evoked natural beauty and modern architecture for a series of geometric gowns and separates — all with an unmistakable undercurrent of athleticism.

Favourite looks: While the new urban look (look 23) definitely brought something fresh to the catwalk, we couldn't help but fall in love with their signature gowns (especially looks 22 and 46) — and, the pale blue gown with metallic floral design (look 48). Now, that's a gold moment ready for the award season!

The bride: A staple at any Ralph & Russo show, the bride (this season, the Victoria's Secret veteran Alessandra Ambrosio) finished this season's collection in a singular moment of pure wedding bliss — in a gown fit for an angel. And, whoa, what a finale: The gown of white tulle and pale grey organza boasted hand-appliqué crystals, glass beads and metallic flowers, and a silk organza cape covered entirely with ostrich feathers. 

The collection: For the first time in history, the Musée des Archives Nationales in Paris (where the documents and letters of the late Kings and Queens of France now reside) opened its doors to host a fashion show — and a remarkable Giambattista Valli outing at that. Sure, there may have been several Archives' employees waiting outside the gates to protest the government for allowing the show to happen, but nothing could keep us from such a rocking-regal collection; once inside, we were quickly distracted by Valli's signature extravagance. From a creased, duchess satin cocktail dress adorned with ostrich feathers (look 1) to a yellow-lime ball gown made from layers upon layers of silk tulle (look 46), this collection was a diverse exploration of a female traveller  a woman who is rich, elegant and most likely not very happy that her suitcase left her with so many deep-set creases. This was Valli and his unrestrained feminine sophistication at their best.

Favourite looks: We're not sure what sort of woman travels with a complete set of ball gowns, but she's definitely the type of lady we'd like to know. Her multi-coloured macramé stunners (looks 7 & 9) were singularly breath-taking, as were the eye-catching printed silk mousseline ball gown (look 33) and the perfectly regal, embroidered silk tulle ball gown (look 42). All an elegant wardrobe truly fit for a world-roaming royal.

Front row: A talent like Valli's doesn't go unaccompanied for long, and over the years he's garnered quite the list of friends, fans, and admirers — from all walks of like. You know, like Bianca Brandolini, Olivia Palermo, and Lauren Santo Domingo, as well as designers Diane von Furstenberg and Eva Cavalli; just the usual gang. Can you say #SquadGoals? 

Check back tomorrow for our daily coverage of the Paris Haute Couture spring/summer 2017 shows. 

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