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Paris haute couture week showcased some of the best and brightest up-and-coming designers pumping fresh blood into the exclusive world of haute couture. From the light and playful, to the dark and macabre, Whitewall has selected the following designers for their fresh and innovative perspectives.
Chinese-born Yiqing Yin has long been fascinated with the idea of growth, decomposition, and the passage of time. Her shadowy spring/summer 2013 collection is a seemingly somber reflection on the fragile state of mortality. Drawing inspiration from constructivist sculptor Naum Gabo, Yin’s grim-faced models peered ghoulishly from behind strings of cobwebby hair and seemed towering, yet somehow immaterial, much like Gabo’s large sculptures. The muted, dusty palettes and burnt velvet’s utilized in the collection were befitting for a tragic heroine in a gothic romance, yet the names of Yin’s pieces were pulled straight from various mythologies.
Fresh, wearable, and vibrant, Christine Phung brought a contemporary aesthetic to “ancestral technique.” Her spring/summer 2013 collection “Light Diffraction” tells the story of a girl who falls into a red diamond mine. Pulsating with color, the collection explores not only a journey into the depths of a “red diamond mine,” but the sky, and natural elements surrounding it. Phung also created a print that was inspired by the diffusion of light and its movement from white, to all colors on the spectrum. Highlights included a pleated skirt with gradient colors and a re-imagined, thoroughly modernized patchwork jacket.
“To love is to transform her into the heroine of the heart, to drape her in the most exquisite delicacy,” read the opening notes on Alexis Mabille’s haute couture collection. Sweet girlish ruffles, oversized bows, floral embroidery, and crystal embellishments were piled high atop pale silk, taffeta, and pleated organza, creating movement that gave the collection a uniform sense of fluidity. Thoughtful attention to the importance of creating a womanly silhouette was seen in the addition of belts to more voluminous looks that may have otherwise drowned the models.
MAISON RABIH KAYROUZ
Maison Rabih Kayrouz’s “Summertime” collection’s sharp, architectural construction is lightened with punches of bold saffron and subdued navy. And even the concept of the cotton lounge pant is given a couture treatment in Rabih Kayrouz’s hands. As is demonstrated in a particular pair of high-waist, wide leg, drawstring pants, whose generous mass of fabric flows in structured ruffles over its belted waist. An elongated, sleeveless menswear inspired jacket is at home paired with a graceful chiffon skirt whose knee-length front transitions into an airy, ground skimming back.
Having collaborated with Louis Vuitton and worked for iconic ateliers Maison Martin Margiela and Balenciaga, Steffie Christaens’ spring/summer 2013 couture collection reflects her wealth of experience. The collection is inspired by the end of the world—what would a woman wear in her last days? In Christaens’ estimation, you’ll need a little optimism to go with all the doom and gloom. The rather neat split between a light pastel palette and her slightly more gloomy use of black denotes the designer’s determination to convey the cyclical nature of life within the collection. The fabrics were inspired by the dissolution and decomposition of garments in water.
Croatin-born designer Damir Doma spent much of his childhood in his mother’s atelier before going on to study fashion in Munich and Berlin. When he finally relocated to Paris it was to help found the Paper Rain group. In 2010, Doma showed his first women’s ready-to-wear collection, garnering much approval from the fashion industry. His spring/summer 2013 collection seems to have a distinctly eastern inspiration without compromising Doma’s exploration of the human body. Severe architectural cuts are somehow always paired with a softening element and a thread of androgyny ties it all together.
Gaspard Yurkievich‘s first women’s ready-to-wear line was launched a mere year after he won first prize in women’s fashion at the prestigious Festival d’Hyères in 1997. Since then, Yurkievich has continued to make sophisticated ready-to-wear with an undertone of extravagance. His spring/summer 2013 collection is remarkably wearable in the ease in which a wearer can transition from day to evening in most of the pieces. From his controlled use of draping, to splashes of embellishment along necklines and pockets, Yurkievich’s vision of luxury forgoes over the top hedonist touches in favor simplicity and wearability.