These sartorial escape routes were revealed at the kick off when storied Couture house Schiaparelli opened the week’s shows. For spring, Design Director Bertrand Guyon followed in the surrealist-chic footsteps of imaginative founder Elsa Schiaparelli, playing upon the label’s inventive past while injecting a dose of modern glamour. This resulted in an African-influenced collection spotted with ethereal, feminine elements. Bug embroidered blouses, embellished Safari jackets, and feather, raffia and iridescent plastic detailing held their own among flowing, romantic gowns crafting a wardrobe destined for a Renaissance-era Lady on a voyage to the jungle.
Design for the season started with a vintage Lesage embroidery swatch from Schiaparelli’s Pagan Collection of 1938. The textile, pulled from a dress owned by Elsa, was decorated in Swarovski mother-of-pearl flowers, inspiring a silk-crepe wedding dress sprinkled with irises – one of Elsa’s favorite flowers.
Honoring the house’s innovative history, Guyon collaborated with an independent female textile designer to create an exclusive knitwear made of nylon yarn intertwined with Swarovski multi-faceted crystal beads. By merging 3D embroidery with almost invisible knitwear, the transparent material added unexpected volume and contemporary texture, allowing the enchanting ruffled dress it constructed to defy gravity.
The world tour continued with a trip to 1980s London at Alexandre Vauthier, now celebrating over a decade of collaborations with Swarovski. Surrounded by a stimulating nightclub scene complete with caging and neon lights, models walked a winding runway clad in striking jewel tones, zebra patterns and reams of tulle. The New Romantic-inspired collection, embellished with more than 350,000 Swarovski crystals, acted as a pop culture time capsule, showcasing the excess era’s most adventurous aesthetics. Ruching? Check. Strong shoulders? Check. Voluminous silhouettes paired with larger-than-life headgear? Check, check. To close out the show, it-girl Bella Hadid wore a dramatic gown accessorized with crystallized eyewear and footwear, perfectly embodying Vauthier’s “aristo-punk” woman.
Also, a believer in fun and fabulous fashion, Dutch couturier Ronald Van der Kemp took escapism to a new literal level for spring 2018 by teaming up with Syrian and African refugees. Utilizing the embroidery skills of these brave men and women allowed Van der Kemp to bring his upbeat, quirky, and playful concepts to life while staying true to his commitments as an ethical designer. To aid in his endeavors, Swarovski contributed over 5,000 upcycled Swarovski crystals for delicate hand-embellishments seen on two looks and several statement jewelry pieces and bags.
The collection comes after Van der Kemp’s retrospective of female Vietnam War protestors in the 1970s. Wishing to call upon the strength these women displayed, the conscious luxury designer created a myriad of ensembles intended to empower rebellious women of all styles and personalities. Tuxedo shirts and oversized cowboy hats walked among ‘40s cocktail shoulders and sultry ‘70s silhouettes in a rousing show petitioning females everywhere to take charge.