PARIS -- As Paris' four-day Couture Week began Monday, images of traditional embroideries were seen on the runways of Dior.
Olesia Trofymenko from Ukraine was the inspiration for Maria Grazia Chiuri, who returned to the atelier's needle and thread this season. The result was an embroidery-rich collection that riffed on Eastern European styles. This house stated was also a message to cultural dialogue and support, one that could envision a better tomorrow.
Haute couture is an age-old Parisian tradition that produces extravagantly-priced, made-to measure garments for the richest women in the world.
These are some highlights from the 2022 fall-winter collections.
In a perfumed annex to the Left Bank Rodin Museum, guests celebrities such as Naomi Watts, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weber were welcomed with a more relaxed atmosphere.
Dior's famed atelier renounced its sequined glamour to place craftmanship front and center this fall with a display of organic gowns in earthy hues -- and the occasional subtle shimmer.
This show was energetic, but it had great detail. Chiuri channeled Trofymenko’s "tree of Life," the theme in Trofymenko’s art by wearing long, loose, folksy gowns or stiff, cropped ethnic jackets embroidered with silks, cotton threads, and yarn.
The patchwork of braids in bronze Gupure on full-skirts looked almost poetic, almost like morning dew on the leaves.
The 68-piece collection was well executed, but there wasn't much new. Chiuri seemed to revert at times to the Renaissance styles that characterized her tenure at Valentino between 2008 and 2016, such as tight round necks with long regal gowns and loose bishop sleeves.
There were still some standout looks like the black gown with white lace bib and cinched waist that looked almost like a rebellious nun who had had enough of the convent.
SCHIAPARELLI'S HIDE and REVEAL
The face was shrouded in wide-brimmed hats that shrouded it from the sun's dappled light. Torsos looked through, while midriff sections were cut to reveal a ribbed underneathgarment that resembled human flesh.
American designer Daniel Roseberry, the house's American architect, explored sensuality and covering up in a thoughtful display that drifted toward the end.
Dark, archetypal couture was featured in the collection. Voluminous satin skirts swept out in all directions, giving the collection the gravity-free feel that you would find in a Renaissance painting.
There were many quirks, however, in deference to Elsa Schiaparelli, the eccentric founder of the Italian house. She was born between the World Wars.
Two huge earrings made from bunches gold grapes cascaded down to the model's nipples. Two whimsical, molded fabric breasts were found in the middle of a quilted-zigzag crop top.
According to company legend, Elsa Schiaparelli was ranked number one in a 1948 American survey. They couldn't pronounce her name, the "Sch" being hard as in school.
Roseberry is well on her way to making the house famous again.
To mark the Museum's new retrospective, the Schiaparelli couture show took place in the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. It was a celebration of the late great couturier, who created the shocking pink color and was a patron to Surrealist artists.
The museum will be displaying "Shocking!" starting July 6. The Surreal Worlds Of Elsa Schiaparelli" features 577 works, including 212 garments, as well as paintings, sculptures and jewelry. It also includes posters, ceramics and paintings signed by her collaborators, such Man Ray, Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, and other artists.
The exhibit also shows her legacy on fashion, including her influence on Azzedine Aalaia, Christian Lacroix and John Galliano.
IRIS VAN HERPEN TURNS 15.
The collection of the Dutch wunderkind was futuristic and spectacular. It featured winged shoes, silver tendrils, and gravity-defying abstract silhouettes. One viewer even compared it to the Marvel Universe, although it was more couture.
The event was described as "first-of its-kind mixed reality runway experience" and guests were asked to bring their smartphones to capture the amazing detail of the garments.
One bone-white creation was given an extra dimension by being captured on video. Its cape-like tendrils moved slowly in all directions, much like a sci-fi creature. The house claimed that this collection merged the virtual and the real. It worked.
The show was dreamlike. The decor featured hanging gold blossoms, bizarre white human sculptures and mesmerizing music. It was also reflected in fashion. The model's body was covered in a sheer white, structured fabric that created large, tubular ripples. It was almost as if all the graphics of a computer game, cosmic and organic were merged together.
The award-winning couturier was also proud to present the milestone show "Meta Morphism", which marked the 15th anniversary her fashion house.
Giambattista Valli was known for his big shoulder flourishes that sometimes dropped to the bust, or transformed into bows. At the chic Pavillon Vendome Monday night, he put on a frosty display that blasted from white bridal gowns to a climax full of eye-popping sheer tulle.
This season, the typically feminine Italian designer was playful with shoulder details -- including leg of mutton sleeves and shoulders covered in tea green feathers.
The strongest aspect of the 58 gown-collection was color -- one lime green thick-feathered jacket almost swept the floor. It was amazing -- it was part Grace Kelly, part pimp.