Couture: the front row view

Rebecca Lowthorpe’s verdict on a/w 2013

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We sent our fashion features director Rebecca Lowthorpe to sit front row at this week’s Paris Couture shows – and the dispatches we received in return were unmissable.

See our highlights below, click on the links to read the reviews in full, and escape into the ultimate fashion fairytale.

Till next season.

'Then came the models, parading in the flesh and appearing simultaneously on the screens in their ‘looks’ – the effect was that of a surreal Dior dreamscape. Scratch that. It was like sitting inside a Dior advertising campaign...'

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Chanel

‘And then came the eveningwear and the sort of craftsmanship for which Chanel – Lagerfeld might say only Chanel – is best known. One dress, which exploded with black tulle down the back, appeared to have been made of tiny optical squares of fabric that burst open as the model walked…’

‘For once, we weren’t looking at clothes that screamed ‘I’m rich!’ Instead, they whispered it…’

Giambattista Valli

‘Inspired by the world’s finest porcelain – Capodimonte, Wedgewood, Sevres and Meissen – Valli sent out pieces of such extreme sweetness, femininity and youthfulness, it was a further reminder that only his clients might do them justice…’

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‘Before a front row that included Catherine Deneuve, Milla Jovovich and Naomie Harris, Armani put on his most daring display of couture to date. It was as light as air and as delicate as a spider’s web. And almost all of it in nude…’

‘You get the feeling, watching a Gaultier show, that the designer gets as much of a buzz casting his girls and dreaming up who they will ‘play’ as he does from creating the actual clothes. As ever, this was no mere show, but unapologetic theatre…’

‘The first outfit was a cream t-shirt with rolled sleeves, a pair of blue trousers, cuffed at the hem – both in glossy Latex. On the model’s feet, a pair of tan clumpy-soled boots with crystals jutting out of the heel, like spurs. Oh, and a face mask, that obscured her entire head – part armed robber, part jewellery piece, since it was encrusted with gems…’

‘All the Schiaparelli signatures are there including voluminous Gaucho pants, capes, drapes, giant pockets and, yes, the iconic lobster -' Schiap' was first to use the lobster in her surrealist designs…’

‘Unapologetically theatrical, Sergeenko’s creations depicted ‘Russian gothic’. Not that Russia ever had a gothic period, she explained, ‘we just invented it’…’

Pixie Geldof introduces the new season in August ELLE

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