Maison Margiela 2016-2017 fall/winter Haute Couture (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP)
Haute couture week 2016 took a turn for the theatrical on Wednesday, with Maison Margiela, Franck Sorbier and Elie Saab opening the day's presentations in a rush of showmanship.
Margiela, with John Galliano at the helm, served up a stage-worthy collection that blended the house's signature eccentricity with references to historical characters and futuristic possibilities. To this end, oversized jackets were worn upside down on the torso, Napoleonic hats were teamed with festival-style thigh-length Wellington boots, and metallic silver mini dresses trailed capes behind them. There were exaggerated fisherman's jackets in bright yellow, frilly, tiered mini dresses in playful chiffon and English tweed skirts, jazzed up with a mishmash of accessories that included everything from delicate chokers and extended woollen mittens to barnacle headdresses and leather clog-style shoes.
French designer Franck Sorbier appeared to reference Russian dolls with his presentation, which saw both adult and child models walk the runway to demonstrate the power of couture. While the women were dressed in sober yet elaborate black costumes teamed with netted pillbox hats, the little ones were gleefully dressed head to toe in a palette of scarlets, whites, yellows and pinks. Looking like miniature royalty from a bygone era, they sported puffed sleeves, waistcoats and ruffled capes, all teamed with the aforementioned boxy caps.
The mini-me concept was also picked up by Elie Saab, whose frothy couture creations were sent down the runway in pairs, with one version for the grown-ups and another for the kids. Gauzy off-the-shoulder gowns were embroidered with feathers and jewels, with the recurring bird motif underlying the flight of fancy reference point. The color palette was a fairytale-like combination of innocent nude shades and dark midnight blues, with gold accents running throughout -- though the dress embroidered with a city skyline ensured us that this was a very modern fable.