For this season, Dutch designer Ronald van der Kemp was inspired by the things he loves and cares about. The collection is a sentimental mash-up of memories, leftovers, trouvailles, eccentric muses and vivid impressions. The pieces are all up-cycled pledging for the responsible future: from lace cutouts from vintage bridal gowns like 3D mandala appliqués on a gown in black and white to a denim skirt with a dramatic pumpkin-shaped hem via patchworks incorporating scraps of python and leather, or vintage silk scarves. There were touches of old-world glamor, in a white peplum jacket, its sleeves turned up and attached to the shoulders, accentuating the volume.
Photos: Courtesy of Ronald Van Der Kemp
Japanese designer Yuima Nakazato sought solace in craft, sketching pictures, shaping clay (his own ceramic jewelry featured on the runway) and manipulating fabric. When he looked through the window of his Tokyo workshop, patches of blue sky between the buildings fired up his imagination. That color provided the prevalent hue in this otherworldly collection, his shamanic beings evocative of the Na’vi from James Cameron’s “Avatar.”
Photos: Courtesy of Yuima Nakazato
Breathtaking! Each design looks like a dream in a mysterious world, where captivating colors, sequins, gemstones, and shimmering beads stand out. Garments with mystique elements reflecting the fantasy world of the “beginning of twilight” with light and metallic structures, sheer details, and luminescent hues. Elie Saab also used delicate shades, luxurious textures, and sumptuous and lavish fabrics, as well as elegant and intricate embroideries.
Photos: Courtesy of Elie Saab
Extravagance, celebration and unadulterated glamour; feathers, sequins, crystals and endless layers of frothy tulle were the order of the day. Giambattista Valli has always taken a go big or go home approach to his collections and to celebrate ten years of crafting couture he didn’t hold back. For the autumn-winter 2022/2023 Haute Couture collection the Italian fashion designer went all out on the sartorial pomp with 59 bombastic looks as models descended on the runway from an archway of balloons.
Photos: Courtesy of Giambattista Valli
This season, Daniel Roseberry returned to the very meaning of fashion for inspiration for his Born Again collection. The opening look inspired by Elsa Schiaparelli’s archives, consists of short, sharply tailored black jacket and silk-crepe skirt set under a champagne double satin corset, finished with two black bows and a shiny braided black boater hat. Feeling like the ultimate protagonist to your personal fantasy, the clothes honored the moving parts of Elsa Schiaparelli’s vulnerability and life. Such features also included her adornment for flowers, seeing them as the ultimate frontier of beauty, covering herself with them all around. Roseberry’s arrival at the house in 2019, the designer has returned Schiaparelli to the forefront of fashion.
Photos: Courtesy of Schiaparelli
“In this collection, we are looking at fragments of different cities, namely Kyoto, Paris, and Rome” — explained Kim Jones. The Creative Director made a stand for finding the beauty in luxury minimalism. There’s not much chic in this world than wearing an impeccably tailored suit paired with dazzling diamond. A turtle neck thigh-split dress with tie waist, a leather tank and wide leg trousers, and a simple strapless number in soft leather were stand out moments of this effortless elegance. A series of Japanese-inspired florals in a muted palette added depth to more uncomplicated shapes while monochromatic silk gowns supplied a bold and confident brilliance.
Photos: Courtesy of Fendi
Fournié invites us to find the light in the dark with his collection “First Creatures”. He draws his inspiration from the open sea. Manta Rays symbolize grace. A futuristic gown is inspired by the shape of this sea creature and inlaid in silk organza. This creature is also seen on hemlines of some of the jackets.These are the looks that are unique yet femininely strong in detailing, in ways that are not the norm. The jellyfish represents the dread of coming into contact with one, and the fascination of seeing their beauty. And the tentacles represent people and their perceptions, as well as a way to exchange with neighbors who are different from you, in an ocean of “borderless circulation.”
Photos: Courtesy of Julien Fournié
Maison Rabih Kayrouz
The couturier created a refreshing collection both in spirit and structure. Kayrouz blurs the lines between couture and ready-to-wear, concentrating on the construction, as well as building on themes from previous seasons to create a cohesive vision. Presented against a background of ice blue, the collection and his sentiments feel refreshing. An example: a cloud puff of a cream-colored cape created first in silk, but also reinterpreted in recycled polyester. Lighter, and cheaper, it translates to the ready-to-wear while keeping an element of continuity throughout the collection.
Photos: © Mathieu Maury Photos: Courtesy of Maison Rabih Kayrouz
Basking in the golden sun, The Tree of Life is a manifestation of nature’s abundance. It’s an attempt to celebrate its opulence and beauty. This collection renders our gratitude for nature’s wisdom. Under the glorious setting sun, how every leaf transmutes to gold, with glimmering drops of dew — a pinnacle of life. True to the values of Haute Couture, pieces feature fabrics that are handwoven in remote locations in India, embroidered with hand for over 10,000 human hours and sewn to perfection for clothing that is featherweight despite its convoluted surfaces. A contemporary application using multitude of traditional surface embellishment techniques from the Indian subcontinent, this collection is a manifestation of artistic memory.
Photos: Courtesy of Rahul Mishra
Virginia Viard has been toning down the large-scale stage designs, allowing her unbridled chic to shine in its own right: a tantalizing tweed, peppered with sequin gowns and diamond-adorned necks, the quintessential Chanel couture twin set was updated in spectacular fashion. Skirt hems were elongated and paired with black leather boots, lending an effortless allure; trousers were ballooned at the ankle or calf imbuing an equestrian elegance; and dress coats were reimagined in tactile textures.
Photos: Courtesy of Chanel
The new Swedish luxury womenswear brand ArdAzAei presented its first couture runway show, Midnight in the Persian Garden, in the Salle des Textiles of Paris ‘Musée des Arts et Métiers. A poetic ode to the transcendent beauty of nature, the collection honors the incredibly complex systems of engineering required to create such sublime spaces through couture’s intricate techniques of smocking, pleating, embroidery, and appliqué.
Photos: Courtesy of ArdAzAei
Julie De Libran
“I’ve always been fascinated by an image Peter Lindbergh shot of Amber Valletta as an angel flying over the gritty streets of New York City,” De Libran explained. The designer personally put the finishing touches to some of her outfits, describing the act of sewing as “therapy”. Lamé is something of a signature for her brand. It was used for outfits that included a slit tunic with fluttering kimono sleeves, a black caftan with jeweled clasps at the neck, and a blouse and skirt set worn with a brocade jacket, for a day-to-evening look.
Photos: Courtesy of Julie De Libran
The Love TransMission collection was inspired by the perennial movement that generates and regenerates life. By shifting the point of view on balance, Aelis finds the key to interpret the collection faithful to the principles of respect and protection of the environment and of the creative and harmonious gesture of art couture. For this season, Italian designer Sofia Crocian was also inspired by her childhood mini dolls found intact inside the travel beauty case.
Photos: Courtesy of Aelis
“Do you think I’m a diva? Then okay, I’m a diva!” enthused Alexis Mabille, reprising Aretha Franklin’s quote as the headline of his couture collection. Diva Dita Von Teese graced the front row, applauding Mabille’s creations. There was plenty to flatter his Hollywood heroine. Silhouettes and volumes were as individual as the characters Mabille wanted to portray, running the gamut from the tight fitting to the prodigious, from tailored to flou, from lingerie to sport.
Photos: Courtesy of Alexis Mabille
Maria Grazia Chiuri called upon the Ukrainian artist Olesia Trofymenko for a collection that drew on folk costumes to form connections across borders. “She gave the reference to the tree of life, a symbol I like a lot. It represents the circle of life,” explained Chiuri. Trofymenko’s tree of life motifs entered into the collection by way of intricate embroideries realized by the Chanakya School of Craft in India. They were presented in symbiosis with folkloric clothes turned into dramatic volumes. For Chiuri, it was an illustration of unity through diversity, and the connections we all share in a time when that’s easy to forget.
Photos: Courtesy of Dior
Charles De Vilmorin
The “Alenic” theme of Vilmorin’s collection is showcased through his hand-painted garments, quirky makeup, and extra-long, pointed nails in all colors imaginable. The collection of 15 silhouettes sets to tell a story of a planet in which colors are lost in an explosion. Vilmorin explored new forms of silhouettes using observations of creatures and their deformed movement as central influences to the designs. With every color possible to appear, the hand-painted garments feature beautiful-yet-quirky illustrations to compliment the apocalyptic theme.
Photos: Courtesy of Charles De Vilmorin
The Cordoba designer made her debut in the official calendar of Paris Haute Couture Week with a collection inspired on her land and her culture Andalucía, a proposal faithful to her flamenco and avant-garde style. The designer has once again invited her friend and well-known actress Rossy de Palma and the artists Israel Fernandez and Diego del Morao to musicalize the fashion show. The garments are made mainly of wool, natural silk, organza and tulle, including different artisan elaborations in the applications of embroidery, rhinestones and crystals. Crinolines provide the garments with volume, another of Juana’s unmistakable hallmarks.
Photos: Courtesy ofJuana Martín
Giorgio Armani Privé
Pétillant — an escape into dreams and creativity. The way it was in the 1920s. The aesthetics of that decade reverberate in the figure of a strong-willed, independent and brilliant woman: pétillant, just like Tamara de Lempicka. References to the Eastern world abound on surfaces and in details, while the optical motifs on day suits are broken up by splashes of bright color that ignite the palette of whites, blacks and blues with hints of intense blues and pinks. The light refracted by the embroidery takes over in a persistent magical movement that sends a message of pure feminine energy.
Photos: Courtesy of Giorgio Armani
Rami Al Ali
Feminine designs are met with traditional ‘60s-inspired aesthetics, flawlessly symbolizing the strong and vibrant characteristics of the true style icons of the era. Silhouettes effortlessly waver between midi and floor-length gowns to sleek cocktail dresses, evoking the perfect optical display. Signature cuts are met with new season techniques, building upon the fashion house’s opulent history and design codes. Luxurious fabrics including taffeta, satin, and double-faced silks are incorporated with delicate silk muslin and tulles, striking the perfect structural balance for each individual gown.
Photos: Courtesy of Rami Al Ali
The French couturier Franck Sorbier found inspiration in the world of Saltimbanques and street performers from another age, to bring to life couture creations with embroideries omnipresent in applied guipures, cut-out black lace, recomposed and applied on a red background or in the archives of Maison Worth. Nature generously flourishes on a “Tree of Life” coat, a refuge for exotic birds and other shimmering insects. The “Atelier Sorbier” line plays the classic vintage card. The tailored jacket, which was the foundation of the brand from 1991 to 2000, is an updated return to basics that will dress both new generations and timeless aficionados.
Photos: ©Amaury Voslion Courtesy of Franck Sorbier
Among the powerful lines and masses of urban structures, the clean lines and subtle strength of the Josse’s collection mingle and take shape in a sure combination. Pure lines are underpinned by the expertise of extraordinary craftspeople (embroiderers, accessory artists, glass-blowers and belt-makers) and exquisite materials like satin leather, faille, taffeta, gazar, inlaid antique lace and faille highlighted with crystals. Everything is a mutual response, with play on contrasts between matt and shiny materials in an elegant, restrained, precise range of meticulously chosen colors.
Photos: © Cécile Bortoletti Courtesy of Christophe Josse
“Miyené” means both “appearance” and “to be seen” in the Ewondo language of Cameroon. A word that sums up fashion but also reflects the importance of appearance in the perception of one’s personality by others. “In this collection I explore various “typical” appearances and I was inspired by the role of hairstyles in traditional African societies, means of expressing prestige, today largely devalued and negatively perceived.” — explained Ayissi. This collection includes a collaboration with the Cameroonian artist Boris Nzebo, whose work follows the same lines.
Photos: Courtesy of Imane Ayissi
Told through the grammar of haute couture, Cinema Inferno explores representations of the patriarchal abuse of power — parental, legal, educational, religious, medical — in fabric and cutting techniques developed in the Artisanal atelier. Power-cut staples from the men’s wardrobe evoke the memory of Geneva Bands, classic haute couture silhouettes are imbued with the language of surgical scrubs, and sorbet-colored prom expressions appear slashed and spliced. Sandstorming, a new Maison Margiela motif that intricately creates the impression of a sandstorm in a garment or accessory, features in fully engineered fabric weaves, in needle-punching, flocking, or beading.
Photos: Courtesy of Maison Margiela
Glimmers, stars in alignment, symbols, a virtuous serpent. Couture is a conspirator of the cosmos and its lucky stars. At times all that’s needed is a gown to attract love, fortune and fame. All the legends assert this as truth, and reality at Zuhair Murad stands as testament to that mythos. For his fall-winter 2023 collection, Zuhair Murad has drawn on all the mystical arts, from Tarot and astrology to horoscopes and palmistry, to dispel the concerns of an unsettled age through the allure of their symbols. The collection narrates ten chapters, ten successive tales woven with feathers, sumptuous fabrics, embroidery in cosmic shapes, and celestial creatures that herald good tidings.
Photos: Courtesy of Zuhair Murad
Stéphane Rolland took to the stage to pay homage to the late French singer Barbara. The couturier held his fashion display at the Théâtre du Châtelet, the iconic chanteuse’s favorite haunt, especially between 1993 and 1997, and the last venue where she performed before passing away 25 years ago. The long bombers dress in padded white duchess satin had a flowing train and cape-like top seconding as a hood. That came paired with a sheer top embroidered with crystals in a “tattoo” motif. A long, strapless red “bathing-suit dress” of jersey and chiffon was embellished with red gazar ballooning and flowing over one arm. The straight wool-crêpe sweater dress, down to the floor, had an open back and “Masai” embroidery in white stitching.
Photos: Courtesy of Stéphane Rolland
Alexandre Vauthier haute couture collection brings both strong suits and seductive dresses. It merges the Art Deco codes with ’30s style, and ’80s edge and sensibility. Vauthier developed the silhouettes in thicker textiles such as silk and velvet, while silver sequins or bright splashes of blue peeked out to counteract any lingering sweetness. The color palette includes silver, black, blue, and beige hues.
Photos: Courtesy of Alexandre Vauthier
This debut official collection by Co-Creative Directors Georges and Jad Hobeika marks the opening of a new chapter for the storied Maison. Come bold or stay home. The collection pens a love letter to planet Earth and humanity. Lovingly executed by the Mains Précieuses seamstresses in the House’s Beirut Atelier, with each piece a painstakingly elaborate tribute to the rare gifts of Mother Nature, couture savoir-faire blends with unbridled creativity to capture the wonders of the natural world, from waterfalls to waves to the blazing sun.
Photos: Courtesy of Georges Hobeika
* This story by Tanja Beljanski and Marko Galovic first appeared in the October 2022 issue of L'Officiel Arabia.