“To me, shows are a celebration, so why put one on when no one’s around?” said Alexandre Vauthier. In the run-up to couture, he was still considering a runway format, but decided to forgo this in light of the reduced number of international visitors.
Instead, he presented his entirely black fall haute couture collection in his showroom in the manner of an exhibition, each look hanging on a rack with a caption card referring to its position in the season’s video.
At first glance, the monochrome ensemble had the feel of a palate cleanser. “I don’t want to speculate, but I can feel that change is coming. I wanted to mark this with a sober — but not somber in spirit — new beginning,” he said.
A party vibe still undeniably floated over this collection. All the black was livened up by the diamond-like sparkle of metallic materials and rhinestones, in a combination he described as being “very Paris,” and was flavored with a wide range of global references, from Moulin Rouge showgirls and rodeo to Cyd Charisse and London’s New Romantics music movement — British synth-pop band Visage featured prominently in his soundtrack.
In no particular order: an outré feathered headdress worn with a minidress; a demure high-necked blouse offset by its transparent material and the diamanté bikini worn underneath, paired with wide-legged culottes; a floor-length gown with a wide marabou hem that shimmered with the lightest breeze, and a leather shirtdress embroidered in a bandanna motif, which he meant as a nod to the idea of going out as a reconquest of the world.
Beyond the obvious glamour these rhinestone-studded looks exuded, Vauthier was more than ever focusing on couture’s crafts. Not only does he enjoy the “mutually enriching dialogue [with the specialized ateliers] at a time of ultra-individuality and anti-socialization,” but his interest lies in challenging craft and materials to achieve a result that meets clients’ desires, he explained.
Cue an opulent shaggy fur coat, whose realistic texture turned out to be a combination of faux and feathers, reworked to achieve the look and feel of the real deal. “[Faux fur] is of our time,” he said. “Couture is a moment of absolute dream, so no matter the amount of work or technical research needed, you have to achieve just that.”