Couturiers wield tremendous creative freedom, allowing them to get away with all sorts of wacky provocations, but theirs is a business like any other.
Modesty appears to be selling especially to high-net worth women — and a now sizable group of men — from East Asia and the United Arab Emirates, where abstaining from revealing too much is deeply rooted in the culture.
And so, bodies remain at the center of the couture story for spring 2023.
But this time, it is the way designers chose to keep them covered with high necks, long sleeves and hoods that proved noteworthy.
Giambattista Valli exalted volume to the extreme, so much so that “a few of his really big dresses, one composed of hundreds of meters of tulle, bordered on unwieldy,” examined WWD’s Miles Socha in his review.
There was hardly any daywear in his collection, though one could imagine a member of a royal family sporting one of Valli’s embroidered cardigan-like jackets paired with silk faille pants as such. Ditto the tent-like dresses at Alexis Mabille and Stephane Rolland.
Backstage at his show, Maison Rabih Kayrouz noted how the coronavirus pandemic triggered a desire in his customer for, “clothes that cover up, that protect.”
This led to sweeping windbreakers and lean topcoats, which as WWD’s Lily Templeton wrote were “deceptively simple looking, impeccably turned out and intriguing in their construction” — quiet luxury for the one-percenters who prefer to fly under the radar.
Modesty is infiltrating bridal as well with celebrities from Paris Hilton to Naomi Biden citing Grace Kelly’s lace gown designed by MGM’s Helen Rose as the inspiration behind their own. This season, Maison Sara Chraibi, Zuhair Murad, Chanel and Valentino got in on the trend with options in white or ivory to which a couture buyer could easily make modifications, ensuring not a hint of skin peeks through.