Friday, February 6, 2015

Doll's Eye View: Paris Couture-Spring/Summer 2015

Each time I mention to someone that I am preparing a Paris Couture report, images of voluptuous, 1950's gowns floating down the aisles of a super exclusive salon, quickly comes to mind. Frankly, after having seen so many incredible couture shows executed by the icons themselves (Mr. Givenchy, Mr. St. Laurent, Mme Gres, for example) in the 1980's and 90's, I too, expect something extraordinary. Otherwise, why should it exist when ready-to-wear can do the trick? I want to see a story behind the collection, ingenious cuts, outrageously intricate embroidery, rarified fabrics. I want to look at the model and fantasize about the lifestyle of the woman who can afford such a dress. In short, I want these clothes to make me dream.


Over for the past few seasons, I have felt that the Paris Couture catwalk has missed its mark. With a few exceptions, there are not many jaw dropping creations (which probably explains why I haven't been wowed over recent red carpet dresses). Either everything looks too much like ready-to-wear or we've seen it all before. Is it due to a lack of ideas? Perhaps what I am seeing is the new look of couture, scaled down to appeal to hasty lifestyles and simpler tastes of fashionistas more interested in world affairs and electronic gadgets than tedious, made-to-order clothing.


Today, there are very few customers for these made-to-order garments. It's hard to know the exact numbers because they are part of the secrecy surrounding this milieu. What we do know is that designers like Armani and Versace often produced gowns they hope will later show up on Oscar-bound celebrities. There are really no trends to emerge from couture fashion week, so dear friends, I'd like to tell this story largely in pictures.

Bamboo Garden...If anyone knows how to win over the heart of a couture purist (like myself), it's Giorgio Armani. For spring, he lost himself in a bamboo forest, only to emerge with narrow, linear looks, bamboo prints and transparent fabrics with structure coming from welt stitching and pin tucks. Silhouettes are fairly simple so translating them for the doll should be easy. The fabric I used for the dolly version of the middle look, was sheer curtain material on which I traced a bamboo print, then painted it on with a small brush and black paint.


The new Chanel Suit....has a bare midriff and a longer hemline. This is a very young look (which is why I chose Kimora, my S.I.S. Barbie to wear the mini-version. The jacket has raglan sleeves. I gave a quilted look to the pockets by topstitching them to add more interest since the wool fabric I used wasn't the traditional, Chanel boucle. The fingerless gloves were made from nylon stockings cut into small tubes.The other looks, however, do work for a more mature woman and a more sophisticated doll.

Body Beautiful... Here is a classic case illustrating the future direction of couture. Sleek and simple, the Versace dresses, shows off interesting cuts within an uncomplicated silhouette. For the mini-version of the white jumpsuit, I constructed my jumpsuit as usual, (flaring the bellbottoms out 45 degrees) at the knees, then fitted it to the doll. Afterwards, I cut away the shoulder, then used trim to recreate the pattern over the breast. Usually these cut-outs require the use of "invisible mesh" to hold everything together (as with the ice skaters' costumes), but the trim, stitched together where they intercept, held its own shape.
 

Bijoux de Famille..Here the main attraction of these classic gowns is twofold: the use of vibrant, jewel tone colors and "garden party" prints with oversized flower prints.

Night time whispers...Black lace mixed with feathers, sheer or fishnet embellished with beads or embroidery, we love these short, little dresses. A version of the black crochet dress could be made using an antique doily, dyed black, with a bit of lace sewn to the bottom.

Ship Shape-- the girls loved the exaggerated A-line silhouettes and tea-length skirts. Notice the use of dip-dye on Stephan Rolland's skirt, resembling an upside down tulip.

La Vie En Chateau...We love Elie Saab, a Lebanese designer who, for my tastes, understands couture better than most on the Paris scene. I like the look of a fitted, lace bodice and an A-line or gathered skirt with lots of sheer fabric

Happily Ever After...Another Lebanese couturier who really gets it right. Though the silhouettes are simple, there is much going on with embroidery, beading and the like.


Follow us on Twitter: @FashDollStylist
We're also on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/FashDollStylist


12 comments:

  1. Ho waw ! You have a good idea. Thank you share.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci et bienvenue a mon blog, Shasarignis! Come back any time!

      Delete
  2. Thanks for keeping us update. You are my idol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you KMQ. Stay tuned, there's lots more coming up!

      Delete
  3. Wow, I love your suits, perfect for the dolls! xxx Linda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome and thank you. Yes, the Chanel suits are a great fit for the dolls. As soon as I can find the right fabric, I'll do a special post on Chanel suits. Big hugs.

      Delete
  4. Hi April, I'm stunned! Your outfits are fabulous. You always do some pretty amazing job, but these are unbeliavable, at first glance one can't tell the phomontage from your creations! Pls the tutorial for the jumpsuit, or some tips, the girls here are killing me to have one!
    Kisses Billa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Billa. Since Couture fashion week is so short, I decided to take my time putting up that post In doing so, I started with the pattern, then (in typical Haute Couture tradition), fitted the garment to the doll, making alterations for the look I wanted. It was a joy to make these and I was very happy with the results. The only thing I would have done differently was with the jumpsuit. I wish I had a rayon jersey on hand. The pants would have fallen the same as in the original photo and it would have been easier to fit as opposed to the woven fabric I used. Big hugs, April.

      Delete
  5. You make this fascinating -- I would never be able to focus my eyes on Fashion Week, but when you talk about it, it's memorable and interesting.

    The white jumpsuit is fabulous. You have me actually wondering if I can make a bamboo skirt without undue swearing, since they don't look very structured.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Smaller Places. As a young journalist covering the Paris fashion scene, fashion week was always my favorite time of the year. But, there were 100+ shows crammed inside of a week and even for a fashion junky like myself, it was tough to make it through the end! The bamboo skirt is super simple. Because I had a time constraint, exceptionally, I used my In the Buff "1-piece leather skirt" pattern I posted on 2/10/13. It's one rectangle with darts, normally used for leather. Be sure to add seam allowance and make sure the opening is down the back! For the print, Google bamboo print images. Trace off the screen onto tracing paper. Put the paper behind the fabric, then trace the pattern onto a lightweight fabric and paint with a small brush. Super easy!!!!

      Delete
  6. So love the large tulle Chanel hat! - a real wonder. The first outfit in white "strappy" with outrageously flared pants is a marvel - how ever did you.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The hat was really simple. I used a wide brimmed straw hat as a "form" and pinned a pouf of tulle on top. I've since removed the straw hat and replaced it with a small cap which serves to anchor the pouf. The trick to doing a mini version of any outfit is to keep the photo in view while you work. I started with the basic 1-piece jumpsuit pattern, flaring the legs at the knees by 45 degrees on either side. After basting together the jumpsuit, I adjusted it to the doll so that it really fit. Then I cut away one shoulder and added the trim around the breast and body. Where each strap intercepts, I hand stitched together. Again, it's really important to keep the photo near by as you work.

      Delete

We love hearing from you. Your comment will be published shortly.