Paris Haute Couture Week AW 17/18

Grey dominates Zuhair Murad and Valentino shows as Paris haute couture fashion week comes to a close

Gentle colour palettes and muted tones featured throughout the closing collections in Paris

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 2:47pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 2:47pm

Shows of the latest haute couture collections have come to a close in Paris. So what pointers for the autumn season should we take away from them, apart from warrior women, lots of filmy, metallic fabrics, swishy pleated skirts, oh and Fifty More Shades of Grey?

Grey was the trend at Dior, Chanel and also Zuhair Murad, who is turning out to be the go-to designer for graceful, sparkly party looks.

The Lebanese designer’s show featured a series of delicate grey-coloured gowns with crystal and silver embroideries, sheath dresses with plunging backlines, and voluminous princess overskirts.

A jumpsuit in dove-grey silk velvet with a lace top under a sleeveless robe edged with ostrich feather around the neck was a particularly lovely look. The gentle colour palette ranged from soft powder pinks to cool grey-green tones, with some dresses trimmed with ostrich feathers and tulle frills while others were painted with thistles and embroidered with sequin foliage in art nouveau style. Sculpted metal wreaths of foliage anchored the dresses at the waist.

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In the modern world, time is a precious commodity, and true haute couture craftsmanship takes a lot of time – a fact that often gets forgotten. So occasional flourishes in Valentino’s programme were a helpful reminder that creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s designs are labours of love. This is particularly apparent in his latest collection for the house, where a series of coats and chasubles featuring bold intarsias (inlays of fabric) on patterned mohair and cashmere are claimed to have taken anywhere from between 920 and 1,300 hours to make. That is devotion.

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Piccioli is now designing on his own at Valentino since Maria Grazia Chiuri moved to Dior, and his voice is now starting to emerge. There was more daywear: tailoring that was loose and layered with pops of bright colour to lift the solemnity of the more muted tones. Living in Rome and based close to the Vatican, Piccioli wanted to express haute couture as a sacred notion of craft, so he turned to the ecclesiastical paintings of the Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbaran to be inspired by their billowing vestments and martyrs’ cloaks.

Handbags created in collaboration with artist Harumi Klossowska de Rola, meanwhile, featured sculpted animal’s heads that were macabre representations of the seven deadly sins.

Nevertheless it was the intarsias and exquisite patchwork appliqué dresses of fresh cotton lace with chiffon and velvet that were Piccioli’s most captivating pieces, along with the simplicity of a billowing Valentino red taffeta gown that closed the show – and Paris fashion week.