Fashion goes far beyond simple clothes and accessories. HAute Couture, a concept created in the XVIII century by queen Marie Antonniete’s modiste, exposes personal beliefs and social issues, shown through clothes made in an artisanal process. Technique mastery, excellent materials and unique finishes make art pieces that few people get to wear. This special describes the four most impactful Haute Couture collections for this Spring-Summer 2021 season.
IRIS VAN HARPEN
One of fashion’s most renowned names is Iris Van Harpen, Dutch designer that marries technology and handcraft techniques to create her lines. This SS2021 collection, Roots of Rebirth, is inspired by the book Entangled Life, by Merlin Sheldrake, which speaks of how fungi sustain life on Earth. The confection uses organic elements like pleats to emulate fungal structures and lacing to homage micelum, the fungi’s roots. The organic inspiration drips into the accessories as well, for which Van Harpen collaborated with artist Casey Curran, a master woodworker. Together they designed the two kinetic crowns that top the collection.
For this spring, the Dutch mastermind teamed up with Parley to create the Oceans Ocean Plastic fabric, made from salvaged and recycled marine waste. The collections 21 looks are made from this material in a variety of tones, including copper red, beige, silver, black and purple, as well as gradients that craft optical illusions by merging skin and fabric together unto unique and flamboyant designs.
A legendary Haute Couture brand, Schiaparelli makes an explosive comeback after several years of inactivity. The emblematic French Maison is now managed by Daniel Roseberry, who worked as the House’s creative director for two years. He takes the surrealism developed by Elsa Schiaparelli, who designed for people looking to not just dress up, byt drea, be different, and not just stare but stand out from the crowd via their ensembles. Roseberry, with the deep knowledge he acquired while working with Thom Browne, breathes new life into this philosophy with his latest Haute Couture collection for this SS2021.
This line is inspired by the hyperrealist mannequins that Elsa Schiaparelli kept in her workroom, which now guard Roseberry’s office. In three looks one can appreciate corsets simulating the musculature in said mannequins, standing out in black, brown and fuchsia tones. Some of the most marvellous pieces include a golden bustier which makes the model breast-feed a solid gold baby, and a fully pink dress which hangs from the model’s earrings, a unique and dreamy piece. The collection as a whole is an ode to surrealism seen through Daniel Roseberry’s eyes.
Pierpaolo Piccioli, creative director of the Roman brand, has chosen fluidity and inclusion as guiding concepts. This collection incorporates a menswear line for the first time, a trend seen in other renowned brands. Piccioli says: “The narrative of the collection is the collection itself. No stories. Nothing figurative.(…) But couture is for people. I don’t care about gendered (fashion). It’s an inspiration which is fluid, no-boundaries: a trench coat is for men and women.”
With 73 looks, the Italian collection is one of the bigger ones this season. Straight, clean cuts, without decoration and pretension in pieces like overcoats, skirts, dresses, blouses, and many other “basic” clothes come together with a varied colour palette that goes from cold to warm tones with accents in fuchsia and neon green. Pierpaolo Piccioli offers savoir faire and haute couture to the male public, elevating common articles to perfection: a trench coat made from beige camelia flowers stands out among the uncommon cuts, and embroidered crystals in the male line.
Following the demise of head designer Karl Lagarfeld, who was in charge of the women and haute couture lines, great speculation ensued: who was to follow him as creative director for the Italian brand? Surprise was expected when Kim Jones was named for the job, given his trajectory in Louis Vuitton and Dior, and how he has managed to evolve male fashion through the years. Now, Jones delves into a new market with femenine fashion. Fendi will be Jones’ debut in haute Couture, with all the exigencies this implies. This first collection consists of 19 looks, all inspired by author Virginia Woolf’s work Orlando, which speaks of androgyny, and is a fit for Fendy, given the work was published in 1928, while the brand was founded in 1925.
Black, white and green hues prevail along with metallic colours like copper and silver, presented in a variety of long dresses. High tailoring techniques are involved in each piece, complemented with long tails and capes that stand out in every ensemble. Some highlights: a translucent dress made from embroidered pearls and an oversized coat with interlacing flower patterns.