Beauty. Valentino Couture AW18

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“With ready-to-wear, your vision of beauty relates to the times you are living in,” Pierpaolo Piccioli stated after his brilliant, magnificent and remarkable haute couture collection for Valentino. Then, he concluded that “couture involves a deeper and more intimate perspective, to go further into your own vision of beauty.”

‘Beauty’ was definitely the keyword behind that line-up of gorgeousness – by that I mean everything, from Guido Palau’s major hair to the closing orange gown worn by Adut Akech (yes, it’s the same piece Beyoncé snatched to one of her On The Run II concerts, week later after the show took place. That’s quick). No wonder why Valentino Garavani, the man of the brand, was so moved and all in tears by the end of the show. Piccioli pulled of the opulent Italian style in a masterful way, like the founder of the maison did back in the past. Floor-sweeping kimono coats; over-sized shirts with equally XXL collars; skirts and jackets covered in bejewelled prints referring to Greek mythology; ruffled coats in signature Valentino red. The list seems to be endless, just like the number of pink feathers used for that ecstatically fantastic dress Kaia Gerber walked the runway in. But Pierpaolo is known for injecting contemporary elements of the wardrobe to the most exquisite collections of his. Some of the dresses were in fact cut like a t-shirt, while sheer silk blouses with embroideries looked unexpectedly casual with Bermuda shorts. Modernity also came to this collection through colours the designer chose. Of course there were all the rich emeralds and fuchsias. But the dirty shade of pastel pink, softness of pistachio and the depth of burgundy rescued the collection from visually being too over-the-top. The collection, the way it is, somewhere between the old glamour and present sense of style, is perfect.

With John Galliano’s Maison Margiela, I think the verdict is quite clear – we’ve got the ultimate winners of this season’s couture. Now, let me die knowing that I won’t put my hands on all that radzimir and taffeta…

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Nomadic Glamour. Maison Margiela Couture AW18

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Collections like this make you believe in fashion again. Maison Margiela‘s Artisanal line (read: haute couture) became an outlet for John Galliano‘s wildest ideas, which seems to let him explore his most dynamic ideas with the unlimited freedom. But when you listen to John speaking about the collection, you suddenly understand it’s not just a mega-artist’s next epic fantasy. There’s a seed of reality in those multi-layered garments packed with utilitarian textiles, protective pillow-y elements and extreme colours. “We’re all nomads today. . . we do move in tribes.” That nomadic glamour, the term he coined after the show, refers to the contemporary state of things. On the daily basis, we absorb so much information through different, constantly booming media. At the end of the day, we want comfort – but is it even possible in today’s world? Rather, we need shelter or an armour – which can be constructed from tulle, felt wool or some spong-y material, just as Galliano predicts. Even though we already exist in the hi-tech world, the vision of iPhones and iPads sticking out of our bodies like some kind of exoskeleton feels rather dystopian on the other note. But then, if the future will bring the humanity to “neo-digital natives”, as the designer says, then at least our wardrobes won’t disappoint with  boldness.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Hubert. Givenchy Couture AW18

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Clare Waight Keller puts Givenchy back into the spotlight – I doubt I’ve got to remind you who dressed Meghan Markle for her wedding day. But Clare’s latest collection – the haute couture one – establishes her even further as the right person behind the label found by the late master of chic and elegance, Hubert de Givenchy. It was a magnificient tribute to the man, who built the image of Audrey Hepburn and was one of the most crucial pillars of 20th century fashion. After his death in February, the brand – and it’s creative director – were sure that the genius has to be embraced to the fullest. “Having met him, and the fact that he passed three months ago, he felt very present in my mind; his legacy felt like something that needed to be celebrated,” she said backstage. “Everybody knows his work with Audrey. But less so the capes, the peekaboos, the architecture, the flou. . . . It was a wonderful trip for me to discover it and reinterpret it my way.

It’s true – there’s so much connected to Givenchy in fact, and Waight Keller refreshed that to the contemporary audience. The iconic LBD (Little Black Dress!) was there, but with a hood (which could have been a modern Breakfast at Tiffany’s look to wear to be honest); this spectacular, caped ivory gown accessorized with a silver metal harness appeared; delightful plissé silk and sophisticated draping were present in nearly every look (Hubert would adore that); meticulous embroideries and feather aplications were as well on the runway, in excess. The collection was rich in references, but Clare didn’t get trapped by them at all. In overall, it was a refined, glorious line-up that makes you reassured of one thing – Hubert De Givenchy’s creations are timeless, and people like Waight Keller are talented enough to make them look desirable and modern.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Chic. Sonia Rykiel Couture AW18

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Julie De Libran, who successfully leads Sonia Rykiel for the last couple of years under her creative direction, decided to enter a new field with the brand – just on time of its 50th anniversary. Opening a haute couture line felt quite unexpected, since the founder of the house never really ventured into such bourgeois echelons of fashion. However, to a surprise of many, the collection represented everything that Rykiel stood in the past, and stands for today: female independence; easiness; joie de vivre. At first, I found this collection as lacking edit. But when I looked at it again, I noticed all of its true grace. From that evening gown with black feather insert and a huge blue ribbon belt that Kristen Owen wore to Małgosia Bela’s fringed knitted vest-dress, those one-of-a-kind pieces looked frivolous and chic. Note that over-sized cardigan made of different yarns (styled with see-through dress) – gorgeous, isn’t it? The only point of the collection that could have been done differently was the closing look, bride look spefically, which was basically a Martin Margiela knock-off from 1991. Even though De Libran had good intentions – to convey the spirit of a liberated wedding look, with denim and feathers – it’s important to give credit where credit’s due.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.