Paris Modes’ Marie-Christiane Marek: ‘Haute couture still inspires wonder’

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Relaxnews: What were the inspirations behind the haute couture collections presented this week?
Marie-Christiane Marek: The decor sets the tone, and there were various inspirations, each more original than the next. We were privy to a dilapidated theater across from a picture of Dubai for Chanel, photos of models on a backdrop of flowered walls for Dior, a black decor and a flamenco dancer to emphasize how Vélasquez inspired Stéphane Rolland, a red runway for the Elie Saab dresses fit for queens, and even a pristine white setting as the stage for Giambattista Valli’s “porcelain” dresses.

R: What are the trends in makeup?
M-C M: The Julien Fournié collection had magnificent makeup, by Nicolas Degennes from Givenchy, including a tiny golden stick placed at the edge of the upper lashes. The makeup was just as lovely in Jean-Paul Gaultier’s show, with crystal tear accents. Overall, eyes were dark, shadowed in black, and hair was pulled back, straightened or in buns, centering attention on the face.

R: The three most eccentric pieces seen on the runways?
M-C M: The most original: Yiqing Yin, the young Franco-Chinese designer, presented an exquisite dress with branches of coral rising around the bust and enveloping the neck and the head.

The most fairytale-esque: the splendid wedding dress from Lebanese couturier Elie Saab, shown with three bridesmaids carrying the train, as in a royal wedding.

The most surprising: the dress designed by Jean Paul Gaultier for Nabilla [French reality TV star], highlighting her ample curves.

R: Which of the fashion shows left the greatest impression?
M-C M: The first haute couture collection from Schiaparelli, which marked the return of Christian Lacroix to fashion design. He brilliantly reinterpreted the highlights of this legendary couture artist’s style, and particularly her famous pockets, pantsuits and signature colors. The archives of the famous embroiderer Lesage were brought to life through the beadwork and stitching done for the grande dame, whose creative choices were so original: lobster, butterflies, Another collection that stood out for me was that of Armani Privé, which was absolutely refined, shimmering and fragile. Giorgio Armani chose a palette of nude and powdered skin tones covered in crystal beadwork.

R. Which runway show had the most chic accessories?
M-C M: There are few accessories in haute couture collections, as evening gowns do not lend themselves well to being “accessorized.” It is standard, but one could point to the wide belts in polished leather, tweed, or beadwork in the Chanel collection, which are simply placed on the hips or woven into the evening gowns as an integral part of the garment.

R: Did any shoes on the runway really stand out?
M-C M: The stocking shoe created by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. As the name suggests, this is actually a flat shoe held in place by garters. The trends in shoes for the Fall-Winter 2013-2014 season: ankle boots, with high or not-so-high heels, but always very feminine.

R: Prints are very popular at the moment. Will this still be the case next season?
M-C M: I did not see many prints. But certain masculine fabrics are here to stay, such as the herringbone patterns from Valentino, an abundance of Chanel’s signature tweeds, and wool knits from Dior. But the leader of prints in haute couture this season is Jean Paul Gaultier, with his panther patterns, which he applies to crystal-embroidered perfecto jackets, but also to feather coats and to dresses. He even went so far as to print feline fur patterns on hair, stockings and pumps.

R: What are your overall impressions on this new season?
M-C M: I would like to say that haute couture is doing very well indeed, and that the clients and collectors, such as my friend Mouna Ayoub, were well represented. This is an important indicator for these presentations, which ensure the livelihood of so many talents and passionate teams. But in addition, the offering is fabulous: it’s the most sophisticated fashion laboratory on the planet…. Haute couture still inspires wonder. It is still surprising and enriching. It is less of a trendsetter than prêt-à-porter. Nonetheless, through these collections, one can interpret that the future of fashion is heading in the directions shown by the more modern collections, such as that of Dior by Raf Simons.


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