This season, Julie de Libran was thinking about what comes next. Not for her namesake brand but for the couture craft itself. Now that she has been invited to be the godmother of the Paris branch of the Istituto Marangoni fashion, she feels more than ever the urgency of ensuring precious techniques are preserved for future generations.
“It’s easy to imagine that [designs] just happen, but there’s an enormous amount of work that goes into them, and it’s important to celebrate that. My duty is also to pass on the knowledge of each step, including the know-how of the ‘petites mains’ we are fortunate to be surrounded with, to new generations,” said the designer, herself a Marangoni Milan alumna.
Cue an airy black dress embroidered with jet beads and edged in delicate lace. Originally a 19th-century petticoat, de Libran found it among her grandmother’s stash of fabrics and reworked it with the help of specialist couture atelier Paloma. Worn with a voluminous floral lace skirt slipped underneath, it struck a balance between statement-making outfit for now and museum-worthy heirloom. That is, if de Libran can bear to let it go at all, she admitted.
Beyond that, de Libran is hitting her stride with the approachable charm of this wardrobe of party skirts, shirtdresses and smart daywear options. She continued to build on the idea of reuse by refining bestselling shapes and using existing materials — de Libran was among the first to be invited to the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-backed deadstock textile platform Nona Source — but also by revamping her own unsold stock and ensuring that pieces could be worn multiple ways.
In this vein, she offered new spins on her popular Goldie dress and the Elizabeth coatdress, which returned here with peridot-studded buttons; a gold cloqué minidress that looked as good on its own as slipped into a skirt as a top, and shift dresses from a previous season, jazzed up with embroidered edges that had been developed as part of a masterclass she gave to her Maragoni protégés. All those were options that anyone would be fortunate to find in the closet — theirs or an inherited one.