Paris was certainly owed some stardust after the past month's tragedies and the pinnacle of the fashion calendar delivered with bells (and even bell bottoms) on for spring/summer 2015. David Bowie's flares kicked off the week at Atelier Versace, and were shortly joined by his Moonage Daydream soundtrack and 1970s psychedelia at Dior (watch the show unfold here). That sparkle was then sprinkled from Schiaparelli to Chanel, where it was dutifully watered in by Karl Lagerfeld's couture gardeners. Fairytale moments are never in short supply at these shows (Valentino presented an ode to amore), but there was also a relaxed ease stitched into the season. Forget the uptight couture coiffure, many of the presentations were finished with a haute ponytail, no doubt acknowledging the art form's growing youth market. Overall, there was a message of quiet luxury that bloomed from elaborate florals (at Viktor & Rolf especially), rather than an overt monetary value - perhaps connected to slowing world economics and Russia's especially. That said, Naomi Campbell still jetted in to lend a little 'super' support on the runways of Jean Paul Gaultier and couture calendar crasher La Perla. Let the spectacle begin...
Dior: Helmed by Raf Simons, a Dior show is always going to be a transcendental experience. This season's kaleidoscopic scaffolded set alone provided a mirrored space for reflection that was entirely suitable for losing oneself in time, space and thought, even before the emergence of look one.
Photography: Andreea Macri
Dior: This season was dedicated to an era of experimentation, which Simons toyed with liberally, moving well outside couture’s classical codes. Simons' plastic coats and vinyl, thigh-high boots brought a Sixties sci-fi element to the collection that was extended to the model’s swinging ponytails - cut and rejoined with a retro loop - and pleated cupcake-case dresses, which were finished with silk ribbons.
Dior: The psychedelic knitted jumpsuits were another giant leap, while the sides of his cocktail dresses where cut away and secured in the middle with the same organic loops.Photography: Andreea Macri
Dior: The effect was as groovy as it was grand, as Simons pushed his atelier to the brink with material experimentation that ranged from his photo-printed plastic sheaths to paillette-encrusted guipure laces. ‘I wanted that feeling of sensory overload both in the collection and in the venue for the show,’ Simons explained. ‘Something encrusted and bejewelled alongside the shock of bright colour and sensuality in clothing with an architectural structure and interior that has a similarly disorienting feeling; somewhere you cannot quite place where you are, or which period of time you are in.’Photography: Andreea Macri
Chanel: Working strictly with a palette of mint, this season Chanel set maestro Etienne Russo of Villa Eugenie also brought his green thumbs to work, erecting a colonial-style glasshouse within Paris' Grand Palais that was planted with all sorts of vegetational species crafted solely from paper. So far so nice we thought…Photography: Olivier Saillant
Chanel: Then the show began and the foliage literally burst into bloom before our eyes in a feat of paper engineering. 'They're flowers that don't exist, it's a vision of an earthy paradise,' Karl Lagerfeld said of the exotic oasis.Photography: Andreea Macri
Chanel: This may be the haute couture, where each house showcases the weight of their métier de arts' technical prowess, but when it came to Lagerfeld's spring silhouette it was dominated by relaxed, low-slung skirts, rounded jacket shoulders, fringed edging detailing and Peter Pan collars that felt a little castaway Swiss Family Robinson
Chanel: Not to say that there wasn't plenty of sparkle in bloom as beaded pistils exploded from floral petals.Photography: Andreea Macri
Chanel: And just as Lagerfeld declared, 'The waist is the new cleavage', he also updated the traditional wedding party with his couture bride escorted by 'gardener' bridesmaids, sporting exotic stems and palm fronds, while tending to her embroidered organza train of flowers.
Viktor & Rolf: We were back in bloom at Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren's Palais de Tokyo presentation that saw their flower-bomb take a hayride for spring/summer 2015.Photography: Andreea Macri
Viktor & Rolf: But, of course, there was much more depth to the pair's elaborate wheat husk headwear and 2D prints that quickly morphed into 3D. They were in fact inspired by Vincent van Gogh's spirited depiction of the sun-burnt rural countryside.Photography: Andreea Macri
Viktor & Rolf: The show's straw hats certainly made the most of S/S's bucolic adventure, which soon saw them intertwined with the duo's block-printed florals, forming wearable, organic sculptures in themselves.Photography: Andreea Macri
Viktor & Rolf: Three of which will soon be exhibited at Rotterdam's Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, after being snapped up by art collector and Viktor & Rolf collaborator Han Nefkens.Photography: Andreea Macri
Schiaparelli: The house of Schiaparelli may be down a creative director thanks to Marco Zanini's departure after two short seasons, but its design team successfully took direction from founder Elsa Schiaparelli's love of artistic collaboration and live performance for spring.Photography: Mathias Wendzinski for Eyesight
Schiaparelli: Photographer Jean-Paul Goude (recently responsible for that Paper magazine 'Break the Internet' cover shoot), teamed up with lighting aficionado Thierry Dreyfus to create a theatrical, shocking pink set that pulsed to the vocals of Parisian choir Les Chérubins.Photography: Andreea Macri
Schiaparelli: On the runway, the house's design lexicons from pierced hearts to padlocks, bows, stars and trompe l'oeil hands, where applied liberally. Further celebrating couture's craftsmanship, Schiaparelli's petites mains' (seamstresses) pins also became a reoccurring theme - printed onto a silk sheath, just as crystal-headed varities were inserted into the bustle of a jacket.Photography: Andreea Macri
Schiaparelli: The show closed with a metallic, silk velvet lamé coatdress that offered an equally surreal twist on the traditional couture bride.Photography: Andreea Macri
Giambattista Valli: The Italian designer offered a moment of reflection at his spring presentation that was shown beneath an installation of suspended mirrors that replayed the unfolding show from myriad angles.
Giambattista Valli: Fairytale gowns bursting with silk buds, feathers and emboridery will always be on Valli's dance card, but this season he also introduced the flared, cocktail trouser, paired with a rather regal ruffled tulle cape for his modern couture client.Photography: Andreea Macri
Versace: Donatella Versace’s outing was dedicated to showcasing her woman’s curves. She therefore dutifully rounded up hourglass maidens Eva Herzigová and Amber Valletta to show her celeb-stocked audience (the Oscars are coming) just how it’s done. One-shouldered jumpsuits sporting flapping flared legs and sinuous, curvilinear seamed dresses opened the high voltage showcase in shades of red, cobalt blue, black and cream.Photography: Andreea Macri
Versace: The Italian also spoke to Gen X with emoji-embroidered mini dresses that also introduced the show's first signs of embellishment – after all youth sells just as well as sex.Photography: Andreea Macri
Versace: Next up, lace, Swarovski crystals and plenty of skin as Versace accelerated into awards season.Photography: Andreea Macri
Armani Prive: Not only was Mr Armani celebrating the tenth anniversary of his haute couture line this season, he was also kicking off his brand's 40th birthday year. Titled 'Bamboo', this collection was a tale of nature mixed with Armani's natural affiliation with the Orient.Photography: Andreea Macri; SGP
Armani Prive: Central to his silhouette were billowing culottes that elegantly ballooned from his knotted sash belts for both day and night.
Photography: Andreea Macri; SGP
Armani Prive: Bamboo leaf and stem prints brought serenity to his shawl collared suiting, and were also reimaged as fibrous cocktail capes, while his bead encrusted laser-back tanks that sparkled like moonlight on water, were paired back with bark-effect plisse skirts.Photography: SGP
Dice Kayek: German artist Hans Bellmer (best known for his life-sized pubescent dolls from the mid-1930s), French artist Annette Messager's disarticulated dollies and Louise Bourgeois' fetish models provided a trifecta of distorted playtime and the backstory for designer Ece Ege's spring show that was also shadowed by Surrealist founder and poet Paul Éluard's 1949 The Games of the Doll.Photography: Andreea Macri
Dice Kayek: In addition to the cerebral, Ege was also contemplating the hand-stitched doll as a child's first interaction with artisan craftsmanship for her dollhouse-themed show.Photography: Andreea Macri
Dice Kayek: Echoing the cocooning curves of Cristóbal Balenciaga, clean architectural mini dresses with sloping backs and contrasting internal hues, were cut from gabardine and white leather, before Ege's jewelled Tetris dress broke the surface enrichment ban. Her mini crinoline star was patchworked with three months worth of encrusting, and showcased the weight of this smaller house's artistry.Photography: Andreea Macri
Jean Paul Gaultier: The designer wasted no time in announcing our invitation to his White Wedding as Billy Idol's 1980s anthem thumped over the speakers, while mini floral bouquets lined our seats.Photography: Andreea Macri
Jean Paul Gaultier: The couture shows are often mined by brides-to-be looking for a one-off piece, but this season Gaultier made it clear he was only interested in dressing a rock 'n' roll bride, with plenty of avant-garde, gender bending variations on the traditional ecru gown and black tuxedo.Photography: Andreea Macri
Jean Paul Gaultier: His wedding march, titled '61 Ways to Say Yes' continued with square pointed busts, baseball cap veils, 'something blue' denim gowns and even snakeskin jewelled paillettes - perhaps for mother of Frankenstein's bride?Photography: Andreea Macri
Jean Paul Gaultier: To close the show Naomi Campbell burst onto the runway dressed in nothing more than a plastic-wrapped bunch of flowers. Gaultier may have shut his prêt-à-porter business last September, but he's clearly still having fun.Photography: Andreea Macri
La Perla: The Italian lingerie specialist made the most of couture's deligates list (if you are paying seven figures for a dress you want the best for underneath it) to present its Atelier collection within the intimate salon of Paris' Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild. However, let it be said that this is one intimates giant that is far more interested in showcasing the intricacies of its craftsmanship than skin
La Perla: To wit, the show was a lesson in layering. Hoods added drama and a little edge, while pyjamas were cut from transparent organza, alluding to the suggestion of skin without flaunting it
Roger Vivier: The enigmatic Inès de la 'Fringe', as she's pictured here, invited us into her world to view her new Miss Viv' Personal Choice collection that's seen the brand ambassador customise a limited-edition range of Roger Vivier's famed bag.
Photography: Antonio Camera
Roger Vivier: The result is a voyage through Fressange's globetrotting travels, with each bag acting as a scrapbook of her journeys that traverse Japan's cherry blossom season to the fringed American West and swinging London dressed in paillettes. A selection will land in Roger Vivier stores globally from March
Roger Vivier: Over at the brand's flagship Paris store, designer Bruno Frisoni was only thinking off life after dark for his latest Rendez-Vous romp
Roger Vivier: Titled 'Papillon de Nuit', oversized silk satin bows finished the house's mirror ball stiletto, while art deco architectural lines sculpted bags and pointed pumps
Ulyana Sergeenko: Russian designer and ambassador Ulyana Sergeenko's collections always hail from a narrative that's close to home. And for her sixth season, that's a cultural flashback to the former Caucasian republics of Georgia and Armenia (where her husband also comes from), paired with the poetry of nineteenth century writer Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov, who also served in the army in Caucasus
Ulyana Sergeenko: This last detail inspired the collection's subtle military motifs from cartridge loops decorating the décolletage to braided shoulders. For spring, stained glass window embroideries meet rich velvets, silk tassels, brocade and ostrich feathers, which are all painstakingly united from suppliers all over the world and brought to life at the brand's Moscow atelier that's staffed by 80-strong lieutenants
Ulyana Sergeenko: And like all of Sergeenko's collections, you can always count on a bride and war widow, depicting her nation's hard hits with history
Valentino: Finally, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli closed the shutters on the couture shows, with a celebration of the transmorphic power of love. The angelic collection was born from the pages of Russian-born artist Marc Chagall's biography, and his notion of this all consuming and all healing passion that paves the road to salvation
Valentino: This message of dolce stil novo (Italian for 'sweet new style'), was sewn into the duo's elongated silhouette that was dominated by the empire waist, and classical fabrications that included muslins, gauze and velvet
Valentino: This love story was written in hand-quilled verses that engulfed corseted gowns, which united natural world motif embroideries that furthered their bohemian path to Prairie perfection
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