Aelis, Juana Martín and Imane Ayissi's contemporary craftsmanship
The last day of Paris Haute Couture Week saw exquisite collections from several international brands. While Italy's Sofia Crociani opted for flowing minimalist designs and carefully crafted techniques, Andalusia's Juana Martín stayed true to her exuberant Flamenco style, and Cameroon's Imane Ayissi made use of bright colours and raffia.
Aelis' 'supernova' collection
At Aelis, Italian designer Sofia Crociani presented a flowing and casual couture collection, infused with vintage elements. Embroidery from the 1920s decorated organic silk dresses, as well as jewellery and crystals from the designer's personal collection.
Combining functional elements with a timeless style, Aelis created handcrafted garments that were practically conceived as "objets d'art". This was the case of a short dress with sparkling fringes made of crystals that, when in motion, were intended to imitate "the movement of the galaxies".
A sensual black bodysuit was seen worn under a black bomber jacket with rolled-up sleeves, embellished with metallic pearls. A long dress in different shades of turquoise paid homage to Fortuny's work using the "plissage" technique. A silk silhouette worn with an embroidered tunic and an evening look in light green tulle that resembled a cloud of steam were just some of the collection's standout pieces.
"For this collection I was inspired by the universe. Specifically, supernovae, stars that break into pieces and become something else: either stardust or the magnetic force that is black holes. I found these two concepts extremely interesting," Crociani explained to FashionNetwork.com, about the theme of her latest collection entitled 'Supernova'.
Founded in 2005, the couture brand is committed to a sustainable philosophy that extends to the materials it uses and the conscious way it produces its collections.
"We are a brand committed to ecology and sustainability, so our approach has to be inevitably linked to nature and the universe," said the Italian creative director.
"Last December there was a supernova and, for me, it was a very exciting moment. It was a reminder of how much we, as human beings, are linked to the cosmos. Each and every one of us is made up of stars. This is something we often forget. If we understand that all the beauty we see on the outside also forms part of our inner self, it will help us to feel better about ourselves and our environment," she continued.
Crociani believes that versatility and comfort should always be a priority in her collections, and that "the women who wear the designs should feel completely at ease".
So, on this occasion, the models decided whether or not to walk the catwalk barefoot - something that undoubtedly prevented more than one tumble on the catwalk.
"Haute couture has to be friendly. I don't see the point of doing things any other way," she concluded at the end of her interview backstage at the show held in a salon near the École Militaire.
Juana Martín pays tribute to her memories of Malaga
Juana Martín is the only Spanish designer and the first gypsy woman to be part of the Paris Haute Couture calendar. The Andalusian fashion designer is proud to carry this responsibility on her shoulders and, by doing so, she is gradually carving out a niche for herself in the Parisian event's busy schedule. The Córdoba-born designer, who made her debut at Madrid's fashion week in 2005, has already participated in fashion shows such as Simof (the international flamenco fashion show in Seville) and Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week before making the leap to the French capital in 2019.
Held at the American Cathedral on Avenue Georges V, the designer's latest fashion show was an ode to her Spanish and Flamenco roots. Martín was inspired by her "summers in Málaga, its blue beaches, its inhabitants and its harmonious land" to create a collection that stayed true to her flamenco style with avant-garde touches.
"The 'Origins' collection was designed for elegant and transgressive women, who dare to take a step towards evolution and personal development," said the Spanish creative director.
Among the show's guests were some of the designer's strong-willed muses such as socialite Naty Abascal, actress Hiba Abouk and influencer Águeda López, accompanied by her husband, singer Luis Fonsi. Likewise, the actress Rossy de Palma, one of the brand's most loyal fans, was also in attendance given that her daughter Luna was one of the models cast for the show.
The show presented a total of 28 looks that mainly adopted a white, black or silver colour palette, with chiffon, silk, satin and crystal details. Whether extremely long or mini, the looks were reminiscent of beachwear or evening wear.
The designs featured side slits that exposed the models' legs and structured shoulders that gave shape to the silhouettes. Likewise, the irregularly printed denim in blue and white, obtained from a traditional Indian technique, was seen in voluptuous ruffled looks and traditional cordovan hats.
In addition, the collection included a careful selection of accessories such as heels by Christian Louboutin, bags by Moroccan designer Nadia Chellaoui and jewellery by her regular collaborator Plata Pura.
Rafia and optimism at Imane Ayissi
The music of the famous French singer of Malian origin, Aya Nakamura welcomed guests to the Imane Ayissi show at the Galerie Bourbon, just a stone's throw away from the Arc de Triomphe. The intimate event celebrated the brand's third year on the Haute Couture calendar, the only brand representing the African continent.
As expected, the show was an optimistic party brimming with bright colours: from the fuchsia of a red carpet-ready taffeta dress to the bright orange of a skirt and loose-fitting pant ensemble, and from bright lime green to the electric blue of long sequined dresses. The co-ed fashion show presented designs for both men and women.
The search for beauty and self-acceptance was the common thread of the collection in which raffia was the main protagonist. The material was seen on exaggeratedly long eyelashes worn by the entire cast of models, and was used as fringes for some of the looks, such as an orange top that doubled as a cape, as well as in embroidered details in the form of small bows on tops, bombers and black dresses.
Among the most iconic pieces of the collection was an asymmetric short dress that created the effect of a draped skirt and train. Its puffed sleeves lifted the silhouette higher on the shoulders, creating a plunging V-neckline. Craftsmanship, on the other hand, played a key role in a couple of colourful embroidered looks reminiscent of patchwork antique blankets.
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