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These couturiers who dream of empowering women

November 15 2017

Even if haute couture is the playground of a few hundred customers, the images of the fashion shows are the business of everyone and are seen around the world. Through their collections, fashion designers can pass messages, calling for a new era governed by women. - Isabelle Cerboneschi


Chanel gave, as they say, freedom to women, you gave them power. You had understood that the power was held by men and that by putting their clothes on the shoulders of women you gave them the power. That's what you did: the tuxedo, the Saharienne, the pantsuit, the coat, the trench coat testify, wrote Pierre Bergé in his Letters to Yves.

When Yves Saint Laurent dreamed of transferring power to women through their clothing, the era was different, the air of time lighter, despite feminist struggles yet to lead. "Even though it feels like a very free time today, people are censored a lot, "says Bertrand Guyon, the artistic director of Schiaparelli.

Last July, during haute couture week, the city of Paris dreamed of being the place of all utopias, inviting us to believe in the possibility of a new world, where power would be in the hands of women. Because since Yves Saint Laurent brought the tuxedo into their locker room, they have lost the word in many countries.

Several designers have called a new era of their vows through allegories, legends or direct quotes. Elie Saab has paraded indefinite queens, wearing their beauty as armor, Bertrand Guyon, was inspired by the muses and artists of the 30 years, as for the heroines convened by Maria Grazia Chiruri, Dior, they had all the adventurers who had swept away the prejudices of their time to live a life they had cut to their measure: infinite, if possible, the measure.

* Letters to Yves, Pierre Bergé, Gallimard, 2010.

DIOR (click to read)

Behind the autumn-winter couture collection Dior, are hiding the figures of powerful women who wove their destiny in the early twentieth century. Maria Grazia Chiuri was inspired by independent female figures, whether explorers, writers, or aviators: Isabelle Eberhardt or Amelia Earhart.

Many gray, color of the house, and world maps embroidered on capes, as an invitation to travel. Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior chose to build on the past in order to reinvent a possible future. A time to come that could be deciphered in tarot cards embroidered on a coat, thus alluding to his attraction to mysticism that resonates with the attraction of Christian Dior for symbols, lucky charms and future revealed.

The silhouettes of the collection are inspired by some archival clothing created by Christian Dior when he was still at the head of his own house, but worn by girls today. A parade like a mirror stretched at the exhibition Christian Dior Couturier du Rêve which opened its doors the same evening at the Museum of Decorative Arts.

A collection that pleased, many: the order books are full. To believe that Maria Grazia Chiuri has told a story that today's haute couture clients wanted to hear ...

AZZEDINE ALAÏA (click to read)

Naomi Campbell opened and closed the haute couture fashion show.Azzedine Alaïa. She came in a sheepskin coat cut like a garden and came out in a long goddess dress in black velvet and silver embroidery.

Between these two passages, the master proposed new proportions, unpublished colors, the alliance of red and black, some dresses had Slavic accent. And always those dresses that transform those who wear them into an invincible creature, like this one, worn under a short jacket, with the waist as tightened by hands loved, and ending with folds formed of printed strips panther intertwined black tulle .

We assume everything when we wear clothesAzzedine Alaïawho we are and who we dream of becoming. Women are queens in his kingdom.

ELIE SAAB (click to read)

Elie Saab has the art of transporting us to worlds bordering the unreal, where women are princesses of blood, of rank, or become the time of one or more nights.

This season, the message he chose to convey through his couture collection went well beyond appearances. Through his parade, the designer has chosen to tell a utopia he has anchored in ancestral times evoking the imagery of Game of Throne. But as is the case for all good storytellers, his story was about our time.

Faced with a world led by powerful men, he began to dream of a kingdom where power would have passed into the hands of women, queens wearing capes and velvet dresses, silks embroidered with threads. gold and muslins revealing the skin, fragile armor. Clothes that are worth speech of peace.

SCHIAPARELLI (click to read)

As Bertrand Guyon explained just after the parade, the latest couture collection he designed for Schiaparelli is "a kind of manifesto for women". He was inspired by very free personalities who lived in the entourage of Elsa Schiaparelli: Leonora Carrington, painter, writer and sculptor, who was the companion of Max Ernst, the extravagant heiress Nancy Cunard, the photographer Lee Miller, the writer Anais Nin, ... "Hyper-talented women, sometimes even much more talented than the companions with whom they lived."

"I wanted to express this strength, this freedom, with a collection today, for a woman who lives in 2017, who is proud to show her body, to wear bold clothes, with which she can affirm his sensuality, his femininity, without censorship. Because even if one has the impression to live a very free time, people censure a lot ", confided Bertrand Guyon.

No censorship at Schiaparelli therefore, where we summon free spirits of the 30 years, but not only: the tulle gloves worn by the models were irretrievably reminiscent of those worn Valentina, the sculptural Drag Queen heroine of the RuPaul's Drag Race.

This desire for freedom in all its forms, Bertrand Guyon expresses it with transparencies, superimposed nets forming particular frames, muslins, tulle, organza, light materials. A few grams of beauty.

VALENTINO (click to read)

The Valentino haute couture collection designed by Pierpaolo Piccioli hesitates between the profane and the sacred. Seeing this dawn carmine color, this deep black velvet dress, these precious brocades, we think of paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán, the portrait of St. Casilda in particular, and some Pre-Raphaelite portraits by John Collier.

Through this collection the fashion designer brings out this curious paradox: ecclesiastical clothing and haute couture have much more in common than one might think, starting with the precious materials and embroidery. In both cases, it is a question of appearance. A blood-colored cape closed the parade in majesty.

PRIVATE ARMANI (click to read)

Giorgio Armani has not been used to black collections, always preferring color as the key word. And yet ... His last collection Armani Privé, he dedicated it to Franca Sozzani, who was the all-powerful editor-in-chief of Vogue Italy, who died in December 2016. This explains the veil of black tulle worn by the models as in mourning for a vision and these soft hues of mauve, interrupted by flashes of bright colors, in his image.

JULIEN SUPPLIED (click to read)

Since receiving the haute couture label last December, everything has changed for Julien Fournié. Some women who waited to take the step and carry her claw, saw in this recognition the sign that they waited and the orders poured.

"I went to meet my clients for the first time: they were waiting for this label before seeing if I was part of the seraglio or not. Since then, they have no reason to restrain themselves. In six months I flew 27 to dress up Queens Queens, princesses or powerful Chinese businesswomen. "

It is to them that he dedicates his last haute couture collection. He unveiled it at the Oratory of the Louvre, a place that goes well with these silhouettes made for women who run states or financial empires, these dresses that help them to look up, clothes that set limits to those who have none or little.

"No jokes in this collection. I do not need to reveal their bodies. That's not what they come looking for at home. What they are looking for are dresses that accompany their decisions, that magnify them, that help them to stand up, to be proud of who they are, to move forward, before, always ". Then he adds, "It's women who will change the world."

GEORGES HOBEIKA (click to read)

"This collection speaks of El Andalous, Andalusia. It is inspired by the stone walls of the Alhambra, "says the designer after the parade. The first looks evoke the colors on the outside of the building, a certain light, transparency, a little pinkish beige, and then as we enter virtually into the palace come the hues more sustained, the blue night or the Red.

"The collection is inspired by architecture, but the message looming behind it is union, love and beauty," he says. When we create fashion, it is not to transmit a message of hatred. We can gather by the garment. Sewing in 2017 is for a woman who is not afraid, who can express what she wants: we have to focus on that, so that the women speak, have more freedom, and that goes for all countries."

ALEXANDRE VAUTHIER (click to read)

Energy. This is the first word that came to mind just after the parade of Alexandre Vauthier. With its 31 looks highly electric, the magenta light that suddenly fell on the room at the same time as the music, the atmosphere was at night, torrid if possible. The girls, Bella Hadid in the lead, beautiful to fall, all legs, all skin outside, mirrored in the mirrors, played with the public, as if they were out in a nightclub that should be invented, reminiscence Studio 54 a bit sweetened.

Glam and drapes, mini-evening dresses, embroidered leather, lamé dresses like molten metal, according to Alexandre Vauthier's couture collection, winter will be hot.

ULYANA SERGEENKO (click to read)

Ulyana Sergeenko no longer responds to interviews after her parades, however, she tells stories during. His latest collection tells the story of a bad girl, an emulator of Bonnie Parker who wears her gun in brooch and surely hides not very orthodox things in her doctor bag.

The silhouettes evoke those American women of the 40 years ready to fight with life. I like these dresses that have a vintage side but at the same time very modern, very fresh, says top model Natalia Vodianova after the show. I love this spirit, these fabulous women, who seem to have made no effort to be beautiful and who know how to beautify themselves. Even if we choose to dress in a minimalist way, we all want to feel like these extraordinary creatures who take three hours to prepare, who wear red lipstick and a dress of a killer, sensual women in full possession of their power. And Ulyana knows how to do that, she knows how to dream women and inspire them.