July 16th, 2024

The Paris Couture Week runways see a moody midnight showing and an airy vintage display

By Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press on June 26, 2024.

Models wear creations for the Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2024-2025 collection presented Wednesday, June 26, 2024 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) – Elie Saab again transported his VIP guests at Paris’ Musee des Arts Decoratifs into a realm of magic and splendor, a world of bridal queens and midnight shadows. And French couturier Julie de Libran took her signature style further with a light and airy display.

Here are some highlights of Wednesday’s fall-winter 2024 couture collection.

Elie Saab gleams for men and women

The Lebanese designer’s fall collection came with dramatic flair, strikingly at midnight, enveloping the audience in a welcome dark mood. Models in black leather opera gloves and graphic bands of black satin set the tone.

Men’s couture capes, part of Saab’s theme since fall 2022, were embroidered with sequins and gleaming threads, resembling silver foliage kissed by morning dew. Saab’s opulent men’s couture line continues to add a new dimension to his brand, catering to a market segment that craves visibility.

In the predominantly women’s display, organza whooshes swirled upward from the waist in a feat of artistry. As the collection progressed, the color palette softened. Tried-and-tested floor-length silhouettes dazzled in gemstone hues.

A standout piece was a shoulderless gown in powder red, where sequins on the bodice morphed into a sea of feathers cascading down the mermaid-like skirt. The transformation of textures underscored Saab’s craftsmanship.

While Saab’s designs may not always break the mold in innovation or surprise, the commitment to his signature style ensures that his creations remain timeless. His starry clientele appreciates the red carpet-ready classicism.

Ellie Goulding and others applauded from the front row, a testament to Saab’s enduring appeal.

de Libran’s nostalgic charm

French couturier Julie de Libran is renowned for intimate shows. She often enlists close friends as models and muses, evoking a nostalgic charm reminiscent of traditional couture presentations.

On Wednesday, de Libran took her signature style further with a light and airy display.

Models held numbered cards, a nod to the way collections were once presented. The vintage touch was complemented by details like a pink feather trim on a limp-waisted gown, which exuded a 1930s flair. The gown’s vivid red injected a contemporary twist.

De Libran’s affinity for vintage-inspired fabrics shone through in a Bordeaux column dress and a coat with large proportions, adorned with gleaming lamé velvet flowers. The pieces exemplified her commitment to high-quality craftsmanship and upcycling. Using exquisite fabrics from Lyonnaise mills, her creations often cannot be replicated, highlighting their artisanal nature.

As a rare independent designer on the couture calendar, de Libran continues to captivate with her blend of nostalgic elegance and modern sophistication.

The art of the invitation

In the Paris luxury industry, the art of the chic invite is vital. Fashion houses vie to create the most inventive and flamboyant show invitations, often delivered by gas-guzzling couriers to each guest’s personal or professional address, with little regard for the environment.

The miniature masterpieces sometimes hint at the forthcoming collection, while at other times they are simply whimsical.

Chanel’s latest invitation, a pair of opera glasses, hinted at the show’s theme inside Paris’ opera house. Staying true to its classic roots, Dior sent out beautifully penned cards by an age-old calligrapher, evoking the maison’s timeless elegance. Schiaparelli’s giant gold key invitation reflected the surrealist legacy of founder Elsa Schiaparelli, promising an avant-garde showcase.

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