Despite being one of the smallest and youngest couture houses showing this week, Bouchra Jarrar can stand with the big boys. Coming only a month after she was awarded the official haute couture appellation, her spring show was a stunner — no pyrotechnics required.

All the fireworks went into the clothes. Elevating the complexity of her creations, the metallic threads and vinyl strips — woven to create sturdy, glistening tweeds — were exclusive to her. Jarrar explained how she melded dark navy with red and purple threads, too, to reflect “the colors of the morning and the color of night.”

Jarrar sees poetry in such backstories — and in human gestures: the way a man flicks the lapels of his jacket forward to ward off cold; or the way a favorite wool coat, worn for years, settles on the shoulders.

You could see traces of those gestures in her precise and futurist tailoring — sleek redingotes with wind-blown lapels, and some of the coolest asymmetric vests imaginable, streaked with diagonal zippers and sometimes edged with dark crystals.

Except for a few minimalist satin gowns, free-flowing from halter necks or tank-top straps, every exit was built on black trousers, mostly lean on the thighs and flaring gently past the knee, or silvery ones that were stovepipe slim.


The surprise came in the dense and varied embellishments, headlined by jutting feathers ringing armholes or paving the shoulders and kimono sleeves of boleros. Every hand-dyed pheasant plume was mounted according to Jarrar’s exacting specifications.

Iridescent, shard-shaped sequins had a similar feathery effect on other boleros, while mesmerizing blue crystals mingled with real ones on the lean leather perfecto jacket that closed the show.

During a preview, a visitor told Jarrar that such looks telegraph a modernity sometimes missing in couture. Her eyes lit up as she replied, “We’re in 2014, not 1910.”

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