Spring in the air during Paris Couture week

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jan 23, 2013 - 20:09
  • Updated : Jan 23, 2013 - 20:09

Christian Dior. ( AP-Yonhap News)
PARIS (AP) ― A garden within a garden was the setting for Christian Dior’s flower-obsessed ― and typically decadent ― couture show.

Carrying on with the “flower women” theme of designer Raf Simons’ last offering, landscape artist Martin Wirtz recreated a scented French garden replete with hazelnut trees and boxwood hedges, in an annex inside Paris’ famed Jardin des Tuileries.

Spring was indeed in the air.

The flower theme was most obviously expressed in floral embroideries. And in this respect, the floral reference was less subtle than last season, which played more with the inverted flower silhouette of Dior’s famous 1947 “New Look.”

This was intentional.

“I wanted to do a very self-explanatory collection,” Simons said. “I wanted it to ... be about the very idea of spring.”

True enough, his spring-summer 2013 show saw multi-layered flower appliques that increased ― like a blossom ― as the 47 looks progressed. It was a nice idea, but detailed gold, yellow and blue appliques sometimes got the better of the silhouette, and detracted from the gowns.
Alexandre Vauthier. (AFP-Yonhap News)

The subtlety of the show was to be found, instead, in Simons’ exploration of sections and layers through color.

Apart from the staple hourglass shape that’s familiar Dior territory, Simons experimented away from the house DNA, mainly to great effect, with colored sections on ensembles which seemed to grow in stages, like a plant shoot.

This produced some of the show’s best looks, like strips of pale lemon, off white and pale lilac, which broke up one embroidered, black silk bustier.

Or a bright yellow silk dress with great angled sections.

One of the final looks in white saw the bottom of one silk ball skirt expand out at a line, like an organic growth spurt.

The green-thumbed musing was all very creative and produced many beautiful looks, but Raf Simons may do well to venture out of the garden for next season.


Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s veteran couturier, has shown his support for the legalization of gay marriage in France by sending two models down a catwalk wearing couture bridal gowns.

He did that to cap Paris’ Grand Palais fashion show on Tuesday and also had a young nephew of his accompany the women models as they walked forward holding hands.

Francois Hollande plans to legalize gay marriage and thus allow same-sex couples to adopt and conceive children. But not everyone in France agrees that’s the way to go. On Jan. 13, hundreds of thousands of people marched in Paris to oppose such a law.

Asked if his use of lesbian couture at his show was designed to support gay marriage in France, Lagerfeld replied: “Of course it was.”

“I don’t even understand the debate. Since 1904 (in France) the church and state have been separate,” the German-born designer told The Associated Press. He said people who consider marriage a sacred religious union can continue that tradition in their churches, temples, synagogues and mosques, but that all religions should tolerate gay marriage.

However, Lagerfeld also said he opposes allowing gay couples to father children born through artificial insemination.

Models with 19th-century-style feathers cascading from their hair sported 69 looks in silk, lace and tulle. Dropped-square shoulders defined the esthetic.

With Chanel, there is always more than meets the eye. Here, that was found in the tweed ― or the lack of it. All the skirt suits that resembled tweed were, in fact, fastidiously woven silk ribbons.

Stephane Rolland

Stephane Rolland finally hit the right aesthetic for his spring-summer 2013 couture show in Paris, perfecting his take on pure architectural styles.

Accompanied by toga-wearing violinists, rich hourglass gowns flowed by in white silk and diaphanous white organza. Some looks came in black.

Sheer backs and see-through silk blocks on legs added touches of sensuality ― proof why Rolland’s a favorite with television stars like Kim Kardashian, who watched from the front row.

“I designed this show like a sculpture exhibit,” Rolland told The Associated Press backstage, citing the Louvre’s sculptural masterpiece the “Winged Victory of Samothrace” as a reference.

Indeed, windswept collars in the show that billowed from busts evoked Grecian drama.

The process behind the clothes in haute couture is often as interesting as the garments themselves. Rolland used a decorative technique of baking chiffon bubbles ― literally in a furnace ― that said he recently learned from a scientist.

It’s nice to know the couturier who’s now worn by Lady Gaga and Yasmin Le Bon doesn’t take himself too seriously.

One spiky applique detail was made of cigarette butts the designer apparently collected from chain-smoking models at a fitting. They were, naturally, all slims.