Jul 5, 2023
After Daniel Roseberry kicked off Paris Haute Couture Week on Monday morning, July 3, French designer Julie de Libran presented an intimate show in her own home, located on the Parisian Boulevard Raspail. While her living rooms, gardens, and even her kitchen are accustomed to hosting her couture presentations, this occasion was even more special as it marked her personal return to the runway format.
In front of a select group of guests, including journalists, close friends of the designer, and loyal followers of her eponymous brand, the creator presented an intimate show that aimed to captivate enthusiasts of her timeless style infused with the chic ‘je ne sais quoi’ of Paris. Her unique style was realised through a disco-inspired tailoring collection, featuring versatile yet elegant daytime looks and festive shimmering accents for evening wear and special occasions.
With an accomplished background working for renowned fashion houses such as Gianfranco Ferré, Gianni Versace, Prada, and Louis Vuitton, the designer, born in Aix-en-Provence, not only demonstrates a deep understanding of her target audience but also masters the delicate balance of relaxed sophistication. Through this concept, she successfully transformed her sequin-focused designs, including long skirts, fringed and sheer dresses, and a long white coat with four front pockets, into natural and effortless ensembles.
Moreover, Julie de Libran infused her couture collection with touches of shimmer, adorning the lapels of a corsair-style tailored vest, black pleated waist Bermuda shorts that paired effortlessly with a white, rolled-up, masculine-style shirt, and jackets in black and silver tones that illuminated silhouettes of romantic lace. Dark suit blazers layered over party looks, a couple of flowing long dresses in black and fuchsia, and a strapless satin jumpsuit also stood out in a collection where gloves, both short and long, elevated the sophistication of the silhouettes, reminiscent of the iconic style of actress Rita Hayworth in ‘Gilda’.
Iris Van Herpen’s aquatic creatures
Despite boasting an utterly recognizable and unique style, the Danish designer achieves the remarkable feat of reinventing herself and presenting never-before-seen silhouettes that remain true to her artistic identity in each of her collections. While in the previous winter season, the creative chose the classic presentation format, accompanied by a video showcasing her dresses in an underwater setting, this time Iris Van Herpen decided to continue with the marine theme, but embarked on an ethereal runway show held in the expansive inner gardens of the Hôtel d’Avaray on Rue Grenelle. Her show was attended by celebrities such as singer Camila Cabello,
‘Game of Thrones’ actress Maisie Williams, and drag queen, Miss Fame.
Titled ‘Architectonics’, the collection drew inspiration from “the future of floating cities and the concept of bionic design,” imagining human beings inhabiting both the land and the depths of the sea. With the oceanic landscape as a backdrop, Iris Van Herpen conceived a dreamlike and submerged reality, exploring the concept of ‘floating cities’ as self-sustaining ecosystems, influenced by the works of architects such as Vincent Callebaut, Bjarke Ingels, and Jacques Rougerie.
Blending the realms of couture and architecture, Iris Van Herpen unveiled an exquisite response to the “physiological, behavioral, and structural adaptations of biological organisms,” creating a new realm of fluid fashion through the art of draping, laser-cut fabrics, and graduated layers of silicone applications. Polygonal patterns gracefully flowed with the models’ movements, transforming them into mermaids, floating jellyfish, or fantastical warriors, adorned with silver, bronze, and gold accents.
Flowing tails, gracefully draped capes, and sleeves gently swaying as if underwater, undulating and labyrinthine silhouettes, and vibrant glass rod embellishments reminiscent of warrior arrows or the whimsical allure of playful feathers were among the standout elements in a collection dominated by hues of mint, turquoise, and iridescent shell tones. Special mention must be made of the futuristic ‘Bionic’ boots, which were digitally modelled and 3D printed.
“The collection dares to imagine the next frontier of humanity: a world with aquatic urbanism that harmonizes with marine ecosystems,” explained the Dutch designer about the show, emphasizing that “global concern is growing as 90% of the world’s major cities are vulnerable to rising sea levels, putting more than 410 million people at risk.”
The woodland nymphs of Georges Hobeika
In a bustling Palais de Chaillot, the Lebanese fashion house Georges Hobeika showcased the charms of its latest haute couture collection, titled ‘Un Rêve’ (‘A Dream’). An ethereal fantasy that aimed to “exalt self-confidence and femininity,” the couture brand opted for a vibrant and luminous runway filled with floral and botanical details.
Remaining true to their signature embroideries, the creative duo presented a series of long dresses adorned with shimmering accents, gemstones, and refined embellishments shaped like water droplets or tiny hearts. The recognisable mosaic-effect embroideries that the brand is known for were also prominently featured. Silk, organza, chiffon, and even layers and powder pink dresses with intricate ostrich feather trims dominated the collection. It also included a range of men’s tailoring looks in soft gray and pastel tones, featuring long coats with botanical embroidery.
Hobeika’s luxurious wardrobe showcased notable cold-weather pieces that stood out on the runway, such as a short quilted coat embellished with pink sequins or a billowing bolero jacket in shades of green, evoking the imagery of shrubs or moss formations.
Furthermore, natural references were also present, such as in an asymmetrical lilac dress with intricate textures that created a scale-like effect, and in the ubiquitous flower-crowned mask headpieces worn by the models. One of the key motifs of the show was the dragonfly, reinterpreted in metallic embroidery on the backs or pockets of jackets, oversized earrings, and unique high-heeled shoes. The bride, on the other hand, was portrayed in a more understated manner compared to in other shows by the brand, highlighting the delicate and ethereal craftsmanship of embroidered petals.
“This collection has been envisioned to celebrate hope and optimism,” explained the creative directors of the brand, Georges and his son Jad Hobeika, who took their first steps in the industry in 1995. “We have favored sweet colors and fluid silhouettes that evoke joy, sweetness, and freedom,” they added.
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