On 6-11 July 2014, Paris was taken over by the world’s elite couturiers in a display of unique, handmade dresses. The Autumn/Winter 2014 season bought with it a flurry of surprises, including a pregnant bride at Chanel, and Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst closed the show for Jean Paul Gaultier.
Karl Lagerfeld’s catwalk for Chanel was a minimalist runway. He presented a Baroque/Elizabethan inspired collection with a modern twist. Dresses curved around the body and worked in embellishment, tweed, silk and neoprene (a synthetic rubber). The finale was a ‘pregnant’ model, wearing a carpet inspired cloak around her shoulders.
Nature, architecture and delicacy describe one of Valentino‘s most sumptuous displays this season. The collection was inspired by a garden and Pre-Raphaelite painters, with special attention paid to the past. Tapestries were used to create long column-dresses. The silhouette is elongated and the waistline is marked with a tied leather belt to create the female silhouette or natural draping.
Flowers were the focus of Christian Dior‘s show, chosen by new creative director, Raf Simmons. The designs recalled Dior from the 1950s, and recreated what was called the New Look of cinched waists and full skirts that resembled inverted flowers. There was further homage to Dior’s love of flowers, as can be seen in the embroideries and prints that embellished the contemporary and more traditional looks.
No huge surprises from Lebanese designer Elie Saab, who sticks like glue to his high-waists and long fairytale gowns. This shouldn’t distract from their fine quality, perfect cut and each painstakingly sewn on bead. For one of the grander gowns, it takes twelve embroiderers two months to create. Lace and tulle were used in ivory, pink and light blue, and a few looks were also created with printed fabrics.