Paris Fashion Week: Armani spins harlequin patterns into ballgowns for haute couture lineup in Paris

PARIS — Giorgio Armani took to the haute couture catwalk in Paris last week with evening wear spun from a traditional, diamond-patterned harlequin motif in pale pastels.

Models moved steadily down a glossy runway carrying the motif, their clothing echoing the colors underfoot — pale pink, green, and purple. (See the show here: Privé – Haute Couture Fashion Show SS23 CHANEL).

They emerged, one at a time, circling the towering statues like ringmasters, in bouncy, cheerleader miniskirts, floral jumpsuits and shimmery tweed jackets.

The opening look set the tone — an ivory, double breasted coat, buttoned snuggly across the chest before flaring out, the feathery fringe of a miniskirt poking out below.

On her head, the model wore a black top hat, its brim gently sloped, while flat sling-back shoes accentuated her long, bare legs.

Ms. Viard pared down the superfluous often associated with haute couture, offering mostly trim silhouettes, with just enough flounce, when it came to fuller skirts, or restricting the color palette when it came embellished looks, like a full-length ivory coat covered in ruffled pleats.

An elephant-shaped structure rolled in for the finale, and out stepped the bride, in an airy, ivory tulle bustier dress that fell below the knee, paired with gold boots that rose above her ankles.

During her bow, Ms. Viard drew artist Xavier Veilhan, who designed the set, out from the risers while the audience cheered.

IMANE AYISSI ADDS AFRICAN TOUCHImane Ayissi wove African textiles into his haute couture collection shown in Paris on Thursday, mixing raffia-lined garments in bright colors with dresses coated in sequins or airy silk fringes. (Watch the show here: Imane Ayissi Couture Collection SS 23 “ Agnieup” – YouTube).

“This is a window to show techniques of African artisans,” said Mr. Ayissi.

Models walked down a runway in an ornate mansion near the Arc de Triomphe, parading sculptural dresses and sequin-coated tops that were trimmed with raffia.

A fitted minidress in splashes of orange, red and green featured a traditional tie-dye technique, with a sprinkling of orange Swarovski crystal embellishments added for sparkle.

“We’ve gone through some very difficult times, with the COVID-19 pandemic that was hard for everyone; it’s time to try to rebound,” said Mr. Ayissi, gesturing towards a hot pink dress.

The Cameroon-born designer, who is based in Paris, is currently featured in the Victoria & Albert Museum exhibit Africa Fashion in London.

MAISON RABIH KAYROUZ RETURNSMaison Rabih Kayrouz took to the runway last week for the first time in three years, showing an elevated collection that toyed with the boundaries of ready-to-wear and haute couture fashion.

For his namesake label, the Lebanese designer sent models ambling through a maze of rooms in a Paris mansion, heels resonating on the wooden floor, in chic evening dresses and tailored suits.

There was just a sprinkling of sparkles, with embroidered embellishments, high around the waist and the neck of a sleeveless dress. But most looks came in single colors such as ivory or black, as well as a bright marigold yellow.

Mr. Kayrouz, who is known for a clean, understated elegance in his styles — often seen on the red carpet — said he imagined a woman after a full day, brimming with confidence.

“For me, haute couture is not one style, not one situation — it’s know-how,” he told reporters after the show.

Mr. Kayrouz also said that since the pandemic he has been interested in the role of clothing as protection, which he offered in his capes, jackets, and dresses which served to cover the body.

Jackets were wrapped snugly across the waist, forming folds, while trousers carried a crisp crease down the middle, slightly flared at the bottom.

For the finale, models walked in pairs, carrying glasses of champagne, offering them to members of the audience as the rooms erupted in applause.

The Paris haute couture shows, which include some of the most prestigious names in fashion like Giorgio Armani Prive, Jean Paul Gaultier and LVMH-owned LVMH.PA Christian Dior, ran through last Thursday. — Reuters