Travelling without Moving at Armani Privé

“The idea of this show originated from a memory. In 1990 I used an ikat blanket I found in a flea market to tailor three jackets for the spring summer collection”, explained Giorgio Armani before the Privé show. “What I liked about this particular technique was the blurred effect of the motifs, the fact that the decorations were never well defined and I conveyed this concept by concealing the prints, filtering them through different layers.” The word ikat literally means tie and in Malaysia, this is also used to describe the dyeing process through the binding and weaving the fabric. But despite the exotic inspiration, the silhouette wasn't ethnic-looking apart from a few rare light references in the sleeves and overcoat that matched with the full look. Daywear was brightly adorned yet simple with a sequence of short jackets paired with colourful pants both in one colour, printed and embroidered. Evening was more complex and included lightweight crinolines which gave volume to the skirts, embroidered tulle and long strings of beads were maximised in blue and green dresses. “This is a collection for going out, for a special occasions and evenings,” said Armani. “Haute Couture is not easy, and this season I wanted to play more with the night looks to make them incredibly special.” In fact the designer felt free to let the creativity go and, starting from Ikat, he surprised with a galore of decorations and streams of crystals that enlighten the silhouettes from China blue to emerald green with touches of black and flashes of fuchsia and red. Armani lead the audience in another virtual journey, starting from a flea market 30 years ago and turning it in a destination in its parallel universe.

Chanel’s new tenure by Virginie Viard is taking its shape, simplifying the language that was established over decades by its former iconic Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld. This season the inspiration was the infancy of mademoiselle Coco which spent 4 years of her childhood together with her two sisters in the Cistercian monastery in Aubazine, so the setting was a very austere cloister with a vegetable garden and surrounded by hanged blankets. The sober setting perfectly contextualized the collection that was inspired by the simple clothes of the orphan girls hosted in the abbey. The first part was all about tailleurs and dresses in tweed which were reminiscent of children’s uniforms with white collars resembling Flemish lace and the tied pumps (for sure a must-have item). The tweed was also the theme of the Haute Joaillerie the Maison presented in the same day, it’s the first time that their signature fabric becomes the inspiration and Chanel’s workshop developed an articulation to make gold move as their signature cloth. The rigour of the clothes evolved into delicate and sophisticated looks keeping the childish mood with the schoolgirl-style rolled socks and mid-heeled pump that seemed uniform moccasins. For the evening part of the collection, the embroideries become precious flowers or motifs that recalled the windows of the abbey. The simplicity of the whole show stated how Viard is trying to prove that her language is different and how she is trying to find the right way to express it best. The grandiose shows of the Karl Lagerfeld era are just a beautiful memory and now the new Chanel is different. It's not easy to find the balance, but the heritage is big and inspiring, so she just needs to dare to explore her own way.

The Givenchy Haute Couture for the next spring-summer is a trip among the most dreamy castles and villas: Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, Virginia Woolf’s Monk House in East Essex and Hubert de Givenchy’s Clos Fiorentina in the South of France and their marvellous gardens. “I have been lucky to have the privilege to visit the Sissinghurst castle in the closing hours and it was an immersive sensorial experience for the smells and the colours. This made me to imagine this collection as it was an endless source of  inspiration. I wanted to turn into garments nature, the shapes and the colours that made my senses to exult,” explained Clare Waight Keller, Creative Director at Givenchy. The first two looks were pure white tailored suits, then a blooming of exaggerating sculptured dresses started with the palette of springy fields and flowerbeds. Peach pink, violet, purple, china blue, yellow, pale pink and, of course, white and black in wonderful laces. It was a parade of flower dresses and flowers on dresses. “I went back to the 50s archive and I reworked the shapes of those years,” she said, and actually those outlines were perfect for this story. History tells the rest, it’s literature about the special relationship between Vita and Virginia and this feeling was strongly perceived during the show as every single look was conceived for someone else to conquer. The collection was undoubtedly eye-catching and but it looked a bit repetitive in the silhouette even if the flora shapes diversified every single look.

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