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Show Time: Paris Haute Couture

Highlights from the Spring/Summer 2017 Haute Couture shows in Paris last week.

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Text by Silvano Mendes

Paris hosted the Spring/Summer 2017 Haute Couture shows from January 22 to 26 last week, and as usual, the press was impressed by the range of designers experimenting within France’s unique couture laboratory. Unlike ready-to-wear, where the industrial constraints often hinder creativity, here craftsmanship is placed centre stage. And, even if some designers sometimes forget this dimension with collections that resemble ready-to-wear, most of them are certainly keen to emphasise their artisanship. Traditional crafts are valued, adapted and often updated.

But Haute Couture is also known for its investment in performance, which is one way of making journalists and clients continue to dream. This season at Dior, for example, even though designer Maria Grazia Chiuri’s debut seemed to divide opinions, the show managed to impress through its magical staging in a faux garden labyrinth, through which the Italian designer explored the codes of the storied fashion house celebrating its 70th anniversary this February.

Looking at new designers, Yuima Nakazato from Japan impressed through a performance-style presentation at the Maison de Métallos cultural center in the hip 11th arrondissement. A graduate of the fashion department at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, he has been showing his futuristic collections in Paris since 2016. This season, the elements (earth, wind and fire) were the starting point for a performance in which models of all shapes and sizes resembled aliens. Faces and bodies transformed by growths were displayed in a luminous structure that set the tone and rhythm for the otherworldly event.

Finally, it was impossible not to be affected by the upbeat party atmosphere of the On Aura Tout Vu show. Having incorporated drones into their show a couple of seasons back, this time Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov experimented with some surprising theatricality. On the runway were masks, ornate embroidery, and pieces made from specially made-to-measure Japanese fabrics, all of which translated the designers’ own off-beat take on the couture tradition.

Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017. Photo: Dior Couture.
Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017. Photo: Dior Couture.
Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017. Photo: Dior Couture.
Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017. Photo: Dior Couture.
Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017. Photo: Dior Couture.
Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017. Photo: Dior Couture.
Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017. Photo: Adrien Dirand
Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017. Photo: Adrien Dirand
Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017. Photo: Tierney Geardon for Dior
Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017. Photo: Tierney Geardon for Dior
Yuima Nakazato Fall/Winter 2017
Yuima Nakazato Fall/Winter 2017
Yuima Nakazato Fall/Winter 2017
Yuima Nakazato Fall/Winter 2017
Yuima Nakazato Fall/Winter 2017
Yuima Nakazato Fall/Winter 2017
Yuima Nakazato Fall/Winter 2017
Yuima Nakazato Fall/Winter 2017
Yuima Nakazato Fall/Winter 2017
Yuima Nakazato Fall/Winter 2017
On Aura Tout Vu Spring/Summer 2017 by Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov. Photo: Olesya Okuneva and Federico Guendel
On Aura Tout Vu Spring/Summer 2017 by Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov. Photo: Olesya Okuneva and Federico Guendel
On Aura Tout Vu Spring/Summer 2017 by Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov. Photo: Olesya Okuneva and Federico Guendel
On Aura Tout Vu Spring/Summer 2017 by Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov. Photo: Olesya Okuneva and Federico Guendel
On Aura Tout Vu Spring/Summer 2017 by Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov. Photo: Olesya Okuneva and Federico Guendel
On Aura Tout Vu Spring/Summer 2017 by Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov. Photo: Olesya Okuneva and Federico Guendel
On Aura Tout Vu Spring/Summer 2017 by Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov. Photo: Olesya Okuneva and Federico Guendel
On Aura Tout Vu Spring/Summer 2017 by Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov. Photo: Olesya Okuneva and Federico Guendel
On Aura Tout Vu Spring/Summer 2017 by Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov. Photo: Silvano Mendes
On Aura Tout Vu Spring/Summer 2017 by Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov. Photo: Silvano Mendes

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