Perhaps it was fitting that the first live couture fashion show of the post-pandemic age (are we there yet?) kicked off at Alaia where Pieter Mulier made his debut earlier this week, four years after the passing of the house’s storied founder in 2017.
The Belgian designer, who for the longest time was best known for being Raf Simons‘ No. 2 at Jil Sander and Calvin Klein, laid a new groundwork and revitalisation of the codes that Alaia – who famously called himself a batisseur or ‘builder of clothes’ and considered as fashion’s last true couturier – introduced into women’s fashion vocabulary during his 40-year reign.
Pieter Mulier sent out a 43-strong look collection for his debut show at Alaia – which was staged on the street on which Azzedine Alaia opened his first store.
Consider the slinky dresses and tube dresses with their seams outlining the curves of the bosom and hips which alluded to Alaia’s ‘King of Cling’ status. Or how about the hooded tailoring (a vestige of the 1984 archives) and the perforated corset belts that paid homage to the founder’s Tunisian roots? Alaia’s signature grommet hardware? These were swapped with metal bobbles for something cheeky fun.
With the world reopening and a positive embrace of body-con dressing today, Mulier’s debut is primed for a new generation of women who want to confidently show off their sexiness with taste.
Speaking of sex, another relative newcomer to the couture circuit put his own spin on the design codes of a storied house. Olivier Theyskens, who got the job at Azzaro last year, channelled founder Loris Azzaro’s sleek high glamour for a collection he described to WWD as “nocturnal”.
Olivier Theyskens’ Azzaro outing was an ode to nocturnal glamour.
The largely black collection featured plenty of slip dresses, evening dresses with deep slits, and high hemlines and a healthy dose of embellishments such as beaded chains and crystal sequins.
Over at Schiaparelli, creative director Daniel Roseberry continued his beautiful love letter to Elsa while toying with his predilection for human anatomy (cue the black column dress embellished with a necklace of human lungs drenched in gold).
The hats at Schiaparelli came courtesy of famed milliner Stephen Jones.
Titled ‘Matador’, the sculptural silhouettes referenced plenty of archival designs like a dress with curved sleeves embroidered with silk roses which is an ode to a Jean Jean Cocteau x Schiaparelli original from 1937.
The couture schedule wraps up on July 8 with a show by American label Pyer Moss. That show has already made history as its creative director Kerby Jean-Raymond is the first black American designer to be invited by the Chambre Syndicale to present in Paris.
Watch this space for more updates. In the meantime, scroll on for a look at some of the best couture looks from the shows thus far.