PARIS — Couture’s ranks may be thinning, but a handful of smaller, independent designers continue to ply their trade in the midst of the city’s haute giants.
Client couture is their focus, meaning they strive to make real clothes for real clients.
Dominique Sirop is an example, and this season he offered the columnar dresses that are his specialty in a bustier variation. He juxtaposed satin and chiffon in twisted folds for ballroom confections in yellow, pink or chartreuse. Ruffles spilled down the front of a brown silk bustier dress, while a colorful hand-painted number came with a mound of gathered chiffon perched on the shoulder. For day, Sirop’s slinky skirts, paired with stiff tailored jackets, pointed to his leanings for an older, no-nonsense style of couture.
Franck Sorbier also tries to put the client first. This season, he decorated his stage at the Lido like a rain forest. Vegetal and tropical references abounded in his quirky work, with a “flower” taffeta gown blooming with petals at the bust, and tops of cascading organza “petals.” His sculpted bustier evening gowns came in explosions of bright colors. Sorbier was best when he kept it simple, as with curvaceous evening gowns in lace.
While couture delights in precision of form, Adeline Andre went in a different direction with a multitude of fluid, loose-fitting dresses and suits in somber colors. Small incisions on the sides of jackets and dresses accentuated waists, while ribbons cinched balloon hems of dresses. Andre kept evening spare and simple in yellow chiffon or pleated beige silk.
Meanwhile, Italian Maurizio Galante returned to the Paris couture scene after taking a break last July. He presented a graceful and feminine collection awash with intricate craftsmanship. Among the highlights were a series of white jackets with delicate floral embroidery in a multitude of colors, lavish patchwork lace dresses and others plumed with white feathers. Galante topped off the collection with a futuristic dress decorated with three-dimensional mirrors.