Elie Saab and Viktor & Rolf: Golden Dawn in Thailand; Surrealist ball in Europe
Two influential couture houses concentrated on ball room clothes this season. Though where Elie Saab focused on a royal wedding soirée in Thailand, Viktor & Rolf sent their cast to a contemporary surrealist ball.
Elie Saab: Golden Dawn in Thailand
Elie Saab always did love a verdant look, and this season his inspiration was truly tropical, Thailand and its stylish royal family. Entitled Golden Dawn, this spring summer collection 2022 had all the grandeur, glitz and glamor one associates with Saab, along with a classy incorporation of Thai motifs into many looks.
Probably no couturier today creates with such escapism as Saab, sending phantasmagorical compositions onto his runway inside the light-filled Carreau du Temple, a wrought-iron 19th century market in east Paris.
Legendary dragons raced around the body-hugging gowns while delicate wings sprung gently from shoulders.
Saab’s key magical techniques included glistening braided embroideries and beaded rays shooting across skin-colored gowns. Nearly every looked shimmered with rhinestones and crystals, woven into the metallic tresses of lightweight capes. For dramatic entrances, Elie dreamed up giant coats, finished with fabric flowers and crystal tropical embroidery.
The Lebanese couturier added several princely guys to the mix, attired in sandy hued redingotes and tails, their collars and shawls finished with more delicate tropical embroidery. Gallant grooms for the multiple model princesses in this show.
The collection subtly referencing an opulent royal ceremony and progression, staged “in an imperial land where the sun remains forever above the horizon,” Saab explained in a pre-show preview.
“Thailand is a kingdom that has always fascinated me, its exoticism, nature, myths and beauty,” enthused Elie.
Like all couture houses, Elie Saab is discreet about its clientele, however the Queen Consort of Thailand, Suthida Tidjai, is known to be a huge fan and client of the maison.
It all felt ideal for a ball at a royal wedding, though certainly not an uptight one given Saab’s focus on corsetry and bodices, where so many of his gowns were centered. Even more the sense of a heroine, as Elie made the bodices asymmetrical and plunged necklines theatrically.
Made in grand dame silk crêpe with bold peplum waves of ivory and pearl and finished with mermaid tails and scalloped overskirts there was plenty of bravura cutting.
Though the finest moment was a bird of paradise crinoline made in mint green feathers, finished with tropical fabric feathers. Couture technique par excellence.
“It’s an indulgent escape from the ordinary, into an ever-present dawn of momentous festivity,” explained Saab. How true Elie, how true.
Viktor & Rolf: Surrealist debs
Add Paris Viktor & Rolf’s spring summer 2023 collection to a tight list of truly great collections that have graced the Salon Opera ballroom inside the Intercontinental Hotel in Paris.
Vivienne Westwood, Gianfranco Ferré for Dior and Balmain, to name a few have staged stellar shows under the famed cupola and giant chandelier of this storied Grand Empire ballroom.
An ideal setting too for this conceptual prom queen meets surrealist deb, where dresses shot out at 90 degree angles, or started at the shoulder and then went up, not down.
All of the cast wearing flared full skirts and acres of tulle in a score of sweetly disturbing dresses.
The key silhouette – wasp waist gowns made of crystals and bows up top before flaring below the waist with an explosion of tulle.
Their other cool trick was taking the dresses and corsets literally off the body and letting models almost carry them, or accompany the gown as if it were a date. The cast dressed in flesh-toned corsets, adding to the sense of saucy drama.
The duo received huge applause and scores of wild whistles as they took their bow, joining a pantheon of great designers with this great show.
“It’s a comment on our times,” said Viktor Horsting. “It’s about the absurdity of the 21st century,” added Rolf Snoeren.
Bringing down the current on the latest surrealist collection in this week’s Paris couture, which ends on Thursday night.
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