PARIS — More ready-to-wear houses are crashing the couture party here, and it appears that they feel the need to justify their invasion by offering at least a soupçon of fashion art.
Take Capucci, for example, an Italian house that is attempting to dust off its image by calling on cool underground designers, including Bernhard Willhelm and Tara Subkoff, to captain various segments of its collection. It hosted a party-cum-art installation on Tuesday evening to introduce its new eveningwear capsule collection by Spain’s Sybilla. The designer emphasized geometry with artsy Sixties-style red or black cocktail dresses done up with rectangular appliqués, or a dress built like a box with space-goddess shoulders.
“It’s geometric, but it’s soft geometry,” Sybilla explained. “I wanted it to be very fluid and very light.” The effort helped boost the Capucci name, but Sybilla will only do one additional collection for the house.
“We will change the eveningwear designer every year,” said the firm’s chief executive, Franco Maria Bruccoleri. “We think that the fashion formula needs to be thought about in a different way.”
Thinking about fashion differently is just what the husband-and-wife team of Olivier and Michelle Chatenet — known as E2 — has been doing for years. Instead of making couture per se, they rework vintage pieces to give them a hip, modern twist. This season, they’re attempting to generate more media attention by staging their first runway show, and they drew in some star power from a loyal client, Linda Evangelista. The funky-yet-homespun clothes, such as a pleated skirt decorated with Mercedes-logo appliqués or a silk dress with “Fashion Circus” emblazoned on the back, were on the money.
Meanwhile, at Jean-Louis Scherrer, couturier Stephane Roland toned down his wild romps of past seasons and concentrated on the client. That meant a hint of Yves Saint Laurent — after all, the house has hired several of the retired couturier’s former petites mains. To the trill of opera, Roland started with high-waisted pantsuits with strong, square-shouldered jackets. A kimono blazer was paired with check trousers, while a box-shouldered jacket topped a delicate embroidered tunic dress.Evening brought Roland’s embroidered black pagoda dress and a red gown made of wrapped samurai belts. Some of his better pieces were the simplest, as in a pleated white chiffon dress worn with an embroidered pinafore. Overall, Scherrer seems to be moving in the right direction.
Franck Sorbier, for his part, took the silk route, fashioning the material into richly embroidered reversible jackets in tones of orange, purple and red, paired with flowing trousers, or into statuesque bustier dresses with peplums. The designer, who showed at the Opera Comique theater, decorated the stage with Turkish carpets. Incense wafted about as musicians plucked exotic tunes. And Sorbier added a new dimension to his repertoire with the shimmering silver lace kimono dress that closed the show.
Korean couturier Ji Haye turned in one of her surest collections in recent seasons, taking a cue from Paris’ haute tradition and tempering them with references to her native land. She focused on daywear, from a chic little tweed suit with pink satin trim to more dramatic shapes, such as an ivory trench coat with a hint of Claude Montana. When she went back to her roots, she twisted chiffon for grand evening gowns that wrapped asymmetrically around the body.
Meanwhile, another couturier from the Far East, Hanae Mori, also juxtaposed East and West in her confident collection. For day, her conservative but sharp pantsuits came in satin or silk crepe and were paired with tweed coats, while for evening, brocade jackets and airy chiffon dresses in butterfly and flower prints added the right touch of exotica.
Alberta Ferretti's "Rainbow Week" sweaters are back. The designer closed her #MFW show with a few day-of-the-week sweaters, which first debuted on the catwalk last January as part of the pre-fall 2017 collection. #wwdfashion (📷: @delphineachard)