Doll's Eye View: Spring/Summer 17 Paris Couture

Just at a point when I had practically given up on couture, one of the best seasons in a long time rolled in. I'm not really sure what, in these political and economic difficult times, has prompted a change in the style, the taste and the choices of the participating couturiers. Is it a question of escapism...a desire to relive the glory days of couture when fashion was less about making headlines and more about making the woman feel beautiful. In any case, for me, this is a positive sign that Haute Couture may not be dead, after all. In a word, Spring Summer 2017 Haute Couture fashion week was...PRETTY!

Powered Up!
In my early days of attending Haute Couture shows, daywear was just as important as evening frocks. Lifestyles have changed. "Ladies" don't "lunch" anymore. And for most women who have the means to afford these made to order clothes, they'd rather put their money in formal gowns. But still...women in media, CEOs of Fortune 500, companies, and high ranking government officials will buy a suit that matches their stature. And that's why Chanel continues to produce the most popular suits in the world!

Artfully Speaking
Don't get me wrong. There is still a certain degree of creativity in Couture, these days. It's just kept in check with the realization that women want to wear clothes not fashion statements. At one point, Haute Couture was the atelier where ideas were born then later simplified into commercial ready-to-wear. Though the latter has taken over the headlines today, there is hint of playfulness as seen through color and fabric treatments. 
 
Prints Charming
The first thing that comes into view: spring is abloom in the way of floral prints and delicate embroidery applications. Princess silhouettes are fresh and elegant, with swirls of fabric cascaded down from fitted bodices and marked waistlines.
 
Tarte Aux Fruits
For spring, we expect to see delicate colors. What is really tantalizing is summer where the color story is drizzled with sparks of fruity tones like blueberry, tangerine, mango, raspberry and lemon! Again, silhouettes are easy, body skimming styles or light and frothy with miles of tulle.

On Her "A-Game"
A shift in silhouettes is evident. The narrow, body hugging dresses have given way lines that swing far from the body in exaggerated A-line dresses and full skirts. The look is light and romantic, rhythmic, reminiscent of the romantic fashions from the 1950's and 1960s.
Think "poodle skirts" without the poodle and cut in luxury fabrics. Look for circle skirts, petticoats and softly gathered skirts to twirl into the spotlight. Pictured here, I did Anna's dress in two parts: a fitted bodice worn over a full circle skirt. I purposely chose a stiff, thick fabric so the skirt would stand out without need of a petticoat. However, I did not add the trim (of the original skirt) because I felt its wideness was more modern and made enough of a dramatic statement on its own.

Powder Puff
Another flashback from the early 1960's....pastel tones and soft fabrics for a decisively feminine look.
The waist is marked with belts or nipped waistlines. Wrap dresses show a flash of leg. Color are easy on the eyes!
From time to time, we find a look that translates very well into that perfect Barbie dress. The dress is cut from a filmy fabric, smocked to hug the entire torso and ends in a burst of ruffles and gathers. (Note: Adriana's dress is made of nylon from an old nightgown!)
 
Summer Mist
Story here is the color palette. Soft, misty, in tones of mauve, powder blue, smoky taupe...like Easter bonbons with a tinge of grey. It's as if you are looking at pastels through a veil of fog at dawn. Trousers also have a place in formal wear. They fit the body gracefully with ease. Dresses have dramatic details....a cape cascading from the shoulders, cabbage roses floating over a sheer layer of silk, the tail of a jacket trailing to the floor.

Family Jewels
Old fashion glamor is back. Think Hollywood movie starts in the 1930's...gowns complete with trains, fishtails and feathers....sometimes all in the same garment. This is a category where sparkly, shiny fabrics prevail. Think silver lame, sequins, bejeweled embroidery cut in basic sheaths.

The version worn by Waris was made from silver lurex sprinkled with a layer of silver glitter. Since I did not have the time to make a second fishtail (and I wasn't sure I wanted to use feathers), I took a shortcut by using a "long haired" faux fur. For me, this is a red carpet look that deserved, as an accessory, the addition of a faux fur stole.
 
Organically Grown
All the shades of black. In this theme, shapes recall organic, vegetal elements that are put together for a sleek, modern look in formal wear. This is a more edgy look that relies on a mix of textures, unusual shapes and materials.

I was quite intrigued by this dress which appears to be made of thick cord.  You could say..couture for the 21st century. For Anna's dress, I made the fringe myself by cutting cord and stitching onto a strapless bodice and a separate one-piece skirt.
Sadly, I don't have the patience needed to knit or crochet. So, I took a shortcut. Brie's dress is made from stretch lace. The feather "fishtail" was created separately (from loose marabou feathers) then stitched on.  
 
A Moment with Mozart
Basic black with plenty of romance from a bygone era. There is a rhythm to these dresses, A sort of built-in movement that makes the dress almost dance around the ballroom floor on its own.  Black lace, sheers, tulle, velvet...again, silhouettes are lush, swirling about the body in a cloud of sheer fabric. There is a bit of sexiness here...but done in a such way that is shrouded in mystery. We see her legs.....or do we?

For Veronica's dress, I used panne velvet for the bodice of the dress, and a textured sheer fabric over a layer of black tulle for the godet wedges. The bodice fits her torso snuggly while the godets force the dress to stand away from the body almost in star formation. Pretty!!!
 

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