COUTURE WEEK OVERVIEW : FALL 3013

Couture Week’s are my absolute favourites. The glamour, the imagination, the pomp and the delight. For me, it’s so far removed from reality it’s an art form of escapism, a means of being free for the few minutes of feasting my eyes on the extravagance of each piece. From Old Hollywood glamour, glitz and sophistication at Elie Saab, the over-the-top leopard and fur-ness at Jean Paul Gaultier to understated-overstated shapes and fabrics at Ulyana Sergeenko, Fall 2013 Couture was certainly a sight to be seen.

VIKTOR & ROLF

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Nothing says allure like the colour back. Black with minimal hair, makeup and flat shoes is alluring at it’s best. The Viktor & Rolf show provided such allure. With the draped silks, modest shapes and contrasting furs, paired with flat sandals, the show was a contradiction of terms. A couture show with opulence in fabrics and styles with a twist of minimalist pairings. 

ULYANA SERGEENKO

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As ever, Sergeenko takes references from her Russian heritage for her Fall couture collection. Showing a juxtaposition of stockings-and-suspenders with a high necked Victorian collar alongside virginal white fur with orange leather demi-gloves.The show was a beautiful medley of constricted values of rules with rebellion peaking through.

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER

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Opulence, glamour and other-worldly are all words that can always be used to describe a Gaultier couture show. Fall 2013 did not sway from this way of thinking. Feathers, fur, sequins, tailoring, leopard, headwear, veils, glitz, leather, lace, jewels, chains, velvet, silk, chiffon are all elements of this show, along with, as you can imagine, many many more. There was a tone of burlesque to the show, many circle elements in the garments; figure hugging and curve creating shapes that emphasise the female form, keeping much to Gaultier’s signature style.

ELIE SAAB

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The Elie Saab show was Elie Saab Elie Saab Elie Saab. His dresses have become iconic and easily recognisable for their classic shapes, OTT glitz, sophisticated elegance and movie-star quality. There is never a collection of his that wouldn’t make you feel a million billion dollars if you were one of the lucky few to be able to even try one of his gowns on. The Fall 2013 collection was no different. With his muted tones of taupe, nude and mauve paired with his classic aubergines, ruby and emerald; the collection was as glamorous as ever, a collection to be lusted, desired and pored over forever… Or at least until the next collection.

CHRISTIAN DIOR

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There is always excitement that surrounds a Dior show, especially since Raf Simons took over as creative director. The Fall couture collection did not disappoint the many anxiously anticipating spectators in the audience. ‘Freedom’ was the starting point for the creation of this collection by Simons and it was certainly apparent in the lack of restriction in the garments, with still possessing a form fitting silhouette and immaculate lines. The freedom comes mainly from the fabrics used in the collection. From muted sequins to jewel toned taffeta and silks; full length fringing and hints of Houndstooth, the show was sprinkled with surprises.

ALEXIS MABILLE

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Alexis Mabille’s influence for his Fall 2013 couture show came from the brush strokes from eighteenth century painter Giovanni Boldini. You can definitely see in this collection Mabille’s creative marriage of bring old and new styles together, tying them with the definitive idea of the brush strokes and art pieces. Beautifully crafted silks, chiffons and brocade frame the show with the idea of mixture heavily present.

ZUHAIR MURAD

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Being a favourite for red carpet goers, Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2013 collection is one in which can be imagined being worn by the world’s most famous and glamorous faces. With an edgy twist, this collection brought us the tying of classic glamour with sex appeal and understated controversy. Opulence is what Murad does best and this collection did not fail to bring us the pomp and glitz that consumers crave when observing a Zuhair Murad show. I love the idea of the gowns being modestly covering the body, with hints of flesh peaking through wide set lace, sparsely placed sequins or chiffon. 

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NOTHING LIKE A GOOD OL’ PINTEREST BROWSE TO MAKE A GAL FEEL BETTER.

So I haven’t been feeling well for the past week (having MAJOR girly issues… Say no more) and whenever I’m feeling down and low or ill and in need of a pick-me-up I always turn to Pinterest. Well in all honesty I turn to Pinterest whenever I’m feeling anything, but illness in particular is a good excuse for some down-time and therefore a good ol’ all night Pinterest sesh. So here is my (extra long) Pinterest post for you, all of which are photos that help add a spring to my step and a smile to my face. Enjoy! Follow me on Pinterest HERE.

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COUTURE WEEK: CHRISTIAN DIOR SPRING 2013

When the house of Dior first announced its hiring of Raf Simons to take over, the fashion world held its breath. With Simons being known for his androgynous clean lines at Jil Sander, it was a wonder how he would fit into the Christian Dior mould… A few collections have now been showcased under Simons with unanimous applause from fashionistas the world over and, in my opinion, this collection for Spring couture 2013 really presents Simons in a Dior-shaped light. I had my own reservations in the beginning about Raf Simons for Dior, mainly because of what a big character John Galliano had been at the label and I just didn’t know whether Simons’ design aesthetic was strong enough to behold that of Galliano’s. I was wrong, so wrong. I am just IN LOVE with the cut of each and every single piece in this collection, especially the tulip shaped dresses and the asymmetrical lines throughout. The colour palette being set as muted, but not dreary, bold but not overpowing, the mix was just right. Elegance personified.

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HOW DOES THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE COLOUR BLACK CHANGE, DEPENDING ON THE STYLE AND ERA IN WHICH IT’S USED?

 

 

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INTRODUCTION
The colour black is often referred to the colour of the unknown. So therefore it is difficult to define the simple significance of the colour black. Starting with how black makes us feel physically and emotionally, it can be said that mostly, we connote the colour black with either a depressive state of mind, or death. Although these connotations would certainly be apparent, in our general thoughts, we may sometimes forget the other connotations that the colour black derives. As well as the implications of sadness, blackalso exudes a mysterious and secretive quality that cannot be defined in the same way by any other colour. This links to the theme of seduction, which I will later explore. The colour black also gives a rebellious quality, often in the hands of teenagers, on the cusp of adulthood. In contrast to this, black is also a colour of tradition, linking to religious symbolism and specific mourning traditions. Again in contrast, black can also be seen as a particularly glamorous colour, as a classic complement to the idea of money, elegance and power.

BLACK AS SEDUCTION          
Black often has the connotation of being mysterious and perhaps sexual. The classic black Christian Louboutin shoe represents this. With his trademark red sole, Louboutin provides an intriguing basis for which the consumer will be captivated. The contrast of the red–on-black production is that the red acts as an instant dominant power in the sea of black. This is a physical metaphor for the heightened sense in a sado-masochistic sexual act.  Added to this sense of intrigue is the ideal heal height for the shoe in black as seduction. The idea of
“pain as pleasure” denotes from the suggestion on dominance in a sexual relationship. Taking authority is also something that the colour black represents, particularly to suggest power. There are many links to the idea of “pain as pleasure” within the fashion industry. Often, trends which could be linked to a more sexual-side of fashion such as corsetry, killer heels, PVC and leather are all featured on the main catwalk shows, therefore bringing the idea of sexual clothing to the high streets.

 BLACK AS GLAMOUR
Coco Chanel famously created the first stylish “LBD” or Little Black Dress in the 1920’s which, at the time, was her most notable contribution to the fashion world. The colour black depicts the height of elegance and sophistication, with the links to black-tie events, which is typically a power and money-based event in which the men will wear a black tuxedo with bow-tie and women will adorn themselves in their finery, including diamonds and ball gowns. Black worn in this way suggests that the wearer is of a high status and therefore has the sufficient power and wealth to warrant the ability to wear the colour black. Hollywood icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn help make the LBD famous during their time in the ever-evolving spotlight. Hepburn’s infamous Givenchy LBD has become perhaps more iconic and recognisable than her film-work. The phrase “… is the new black” is a commonly used phrase to show the popularity of something, this proves how the colour black will never fade out of style and will always be used in one way or another, in the fashion industry to provide a basis for new and evolving designs. Black can be used as a method of providing a slim line effect to one’s body shape, adding to the sophistication that wearing the colour allows. It could be psychologically seen that someone that wears the colour black gives off a sense of success and confidence within their demeanour. This is something that provides those in authority with their authoritive power in the way they dress.

BLACK AS HISTORY
Historically, culturally and socially, it has been of an age-old tradition that close family members of the deceased would only wear the colour black during the period of mourning. In some areas of South America and Africa, widows would wear black for the rest of their lives as a self-sacrifice in a submission to their late husband and God. In these areas of the world, it would be a form of self-inflicted pain, an almost self-harm as these are the hottest parts of the world, the women feel they have to suffer for their loss, it is a submission until the end. Close family members to those deceased will wear black for a prolonged period of time (1 year) out of respect for the widow or widower, however women in the Victorian era would be in mourning dress for 2 and a half years, (In contrast to this, men in the Victorian era that had lost their wives only wore mourning dress for a period of 3 months after.) Traditionally, especially in the Victorian era, Mourning dress would consist of extremely conservative, plain clothes that covered up almost every part of the body, except the face and hands (However, a widow would use a veil to cover her face when leaving the house). The colour black represents a feeling of darkness, both physical and mental, a sense of doubt and uncertainty, it can be used as a cover of fear, loneliness and insecurities to the outside world. Women’s mourning dress were often corseted to allow for an even harsher shape to the body, and to add to an even more “torturous” time for their period in mourning.

However, although in history, the colour black may be seen as a link to death, there are also other connotations with the colour black that are perhaps not so negative. In those times, it was usually only the very wealthy and aristocracy that wore black during mourning. However, many other people started to wear black so as to imitate those that were wealthy. Because mourning dress was expensive to produce and own, it therefore became a fashion statement, and more of a tool for presenting your inevitable high social status. In Elizabethan times, people who could wear black was dictated by English law called Sumptuary Laws. This was because good black fabric that didn’t have the tendency to fade was extremely expensive to produce. Because of this, one that wore the colour black usually was of a high class, which reflected where they were in the social hierarchy. King Philip II of Spain (1527-1598) is often shown in paintings wearing expensive black clothing.
In another way however, black used to represent plainness and humility when used in con junction with cheaply made fabrics that were uncomfortable to wear such as coarse, rough, undyed dark wool that would be used for those in monasteries, this again links in with the theme of black in religion symbolising submission to God.

CONCLUSION
The colour black in fashion and tradition can take on many symbolic meanings. Tradition says that black is the colour of mourning and death. However today, black has a much broader and less meaningful purpose. Nowadays, it is more common for people to wear black as more of a fashion statement than as a means to symbolise something. However, there are a few exceptions such as for religious purpose that still carry the traditions such as priests wearing black in submission to God. However, in contrast, black in fashion can mean taking authority rather than as an act of submission. Stemming from the old tradition of black meaning power and authority, it has filtered its way down into today’s society with the common thought that one is taken more seriously, perhaps in a job, when wearing black. With its sense of mystery, black can be used, in conjunction with fabrics such as lace and satin, as a toll for seduction in the way in which a perhaps different persona could be created when wearing black. This may also be linked to why black is also seen as a glamorous colour also. As traditions are broken, the idea of a more provocative look is one that has become more and more popular. Perhaps Old Hollywood actresses making the trend of wearing black on the red carpet helped them to create a persona, which then filtered into the mainstream of wearing black. With the many varied ways in which black can be used and worn, it is no wonder why the colour possesses such intrigue. Many personal messages can be sent and statements can be made from wearing the colour black and it seems as if the colour is timeless, no matter what the current symbolism is. It is down to personal decision and preference what the colour black symbolises as it can represent different things to different people at different times of the day, year of in their lives. It is true to say that black is the colour of the unknown, it is open to personal representation in terms of the significance.