Chanel’s Couture shines at Paris Opera despite designer’s exit

Mabille’s toast to glamour

Bubbles are never far away from the effervescent couturier Alexis Mabille. Guests sipped champagne, with champagne-filled ice buckets even on the runway in a celebration of luxurious excess.

Unfurling, undressing, and plays on corsetry were on the drinks menu this season, starting with an opening number featuring a gleaming bustier that resembled an opening flower. The intimacy and ritual of getting dressed is a theme that pervades Mabille’s work.

Varied looks sometimes surprised guests, such as a Bob Mackie-style feathered headdress that out-Cher-ed Cher. The extravagant piece had an almost equestrian flourish and was a real feat of couture execution, showcasing Mabille’s flair for Hollywood-inspired glamour.

A golden bullet creation, and a gleaming metallic power cape with an armor-like bustier, gave the collection a lot of attitude, if not always coherence. Mabille’s collections often embrace a wide array of silhouettes and themes, sometimes leading to a lack of unified narrative. However, the diversity is also part of his charm.

De Vilmorin’s witchy wonderland

Charles de Vilmorin, the 27-year-old wunderkind of the Parisian couture scene, has once again proven his mettle with a spellbinding show that merged experimental silhouettes, dark musings, and eye-catching color palettes. Known for his vibrant use of color, de Vilmorin’s palette often evokes the sumptuousness of Christian Lacroix’s 1980s work, making him one of the most buzzed-about couturiers in Paris today.

On Tuesday, the audience was transported to a gothic dreamscape where Anna Cleveland emerged as a bewitching figure, trapped in a black straight-jacket gown that screamed both asylum and Tim Burton. De Vilmorin, known for grappling with the pressures of creation and the lofty expectations of the fashion world, channeled these tensions into his collection.

Another ‘straight-jacket’ gown appeared adorned with massive black and red plumes, like a satanic phoenix rising from the ashes. The storytelling that followed was nothing short of a sartorial saga. A gigantic rat scurried down the runway, followed by a model donning an oversized witch’s hat with a fringe of hair.

Adding to the darkly whimsical narrative was a nobleman figure, clad in a crisply wrinkled white bow shirt tied with whimsical flair. This juxtaposition of elegance and dishevelment was pure De Vilmorin. The show’s crescendo was a color-blocked blue and red chiffon Renaissance gown, a nod to historical opulence with a contemporary twist.

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