Lola Saab is Paris editor of Lucire.
The spring–summer 2014 haute couture shows highlighted a certain sophistication returning to Parisian design, says Lola Saab
The spring–summer 2014 haute couture fashion week in Paris provided those lovers and admirers of luxury the best, and signalled a return to design classicism, and even an appreciation of perfection. Europe, France in particular, is not only known for the arts, but also respected for its class and grace, generation after generation. There seemed to be a greater emphasis on the longevity of certain houses, with a number of brands celebrating their long-lived allure in the industry.
High-end jewellery collections certainly welcomed onlookers into a shimmering universe at la Place Vendôme, also universally known as the centre of influential luxury. We take an exclusive private tour around this season’s Parisian paradise, from fabulous jewels and gowns to a delicate yet thoroughly thought out skin cream.
Damiani, a family-owned jewellery brand, welcomed invitees into its petite boutique filled with spectacular pieces that are a delight to the eyes. This season, they proudly celebrate their 90th anniversary as they revive older collections from different decades into more modern pieces. The birthday collection focused on the middle of the century more, taking elements from the 1930s through to the 1960s.
Damiani blossomed in the heart of Valenza in Italy in 1924, thanks to its founder, jeweller Enrico Damiani. As a master goldsmith, he kept close to his roots of offering fine jewellery pieces, ensuring that when his business grew, he would not compromise on quality. Even when the business embarked on expansion in the 1960s, its R&D and innovation ensured that the Damiani name would not be cheapened. Today, the house provides wearers with masterpieces that they can flaunt, with refined materials.
A jewellery house that dates back more than 150 years, Boucheron presented invited guests with a number of familiar pieces that had extra embellishments. We have seen Boucheron present its animal collection, with a wide range of creatures ready to pounce. This season, Boucheron provides a more classic overview; its famous Quatre ring has many more designs, with various colours that should attract a wider group. There are also princess-, baguette, and round-cut diamonds. Of course, rings were not the only pieces that caught the eye: elegant trio cuffs glimmered with sparkling diamonds.
Bulgari, the high-end Italian jewellery brand, pays homage to the four seasons. One hundred and thirty years later, the jewellery house continues to stun guests with colourful, innovative designs to match a woman’s personality. From the cold of the winter to the heat of the summer, each chosen stone symbolizes Mother Nature’s beauty on earth. Summer’s sun illuminates the neckline in yellow gold with mandarin garnets and amethysts; such a piece was launched in July 2013 for the Diva collection. A few months later, it was followed by three additional original creations to complete the four seasons. The details of the leaves and flowers build a realistic vision of the beauty of each season. While spring and autumn are represented by colourfully enriched pieces, winter is personified in a clear white aspect with detailed diamonds to represent the cold’s bitter chill.
Mellerio dits Meller
As we mention high-end luxury jewellery brands, one particular name comes to mind, Mellerio dits Meller. It was founded in 1613 and lives on 14 generations later as the oldest family-owned French jewellery house. Mellerio dits Meller is located on the famous rue de la Paix in Paris, with other boutiques in Luxembourg and Japan. It is an exclusive brand that continually reintroduces historical features for new clients, as well as recurring collectors, to enjoy and admire. Small features create mesmerizing effects that take the onlooker on an unforgettable journey through time. Although Mellerio did not present a new collection at the boutique, it presented a room dedicated wholly to historical pieces derived from past centuries. Elaborate details came to life in a small landscape.
Steps away from the Place de la Concorde at Éspace Pierre Cardin, Hieraix introduced her new season’s collection, entitled Emergence, in an intimate, simple setting. Intricate details on delicate materials, found within each piece, enhance a three-dimensional effect. The designer focused her designs on the elegance of the wearer’s curves, composing pieces of high quality with daring, bold features. With short dresses or elegant, long pantsuits, each ensemble expresses seductive femininity, with sheer confidence and complete poise. The collection was flawless and sophisticated—once again in line with the spring couture classicism.
Giorgio Armani Privé
Maison Martin Margiela
Ralph & Russo
For weeks, we had waited for Ralph & Russo to present their collection in Paris. They brought the 1940s and 1950s to life on the Parisian runway, paying tribute to the overly feminine actresses that dominated the big screen with each alluringly attractive ensemble. Bold hues of blue and red demonstrated so gracefully a woman’s refinement. To include an extra flare of chic, the models donned gloves with certain outfits.
Both Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo provided a grand finalé to haute couture fashion week, making us impatiently wait for what they might show next season. Bravo to Ralph & Russo!
Baccarat, known for its crystal work, was founded in 1764 and took its name from the city in France, located in the northeast. This year marks Baccarat’s 250th anniversary. During haute couture fashion week, the Baccarat Museum, which includes a restaurant, the Cristal Room, invited guests to raise a glass to more than two centuries of splendour. Delicate chandeliers, remarkable table pieces and elegant jewels were on display, with the environment reflecting as much modernism as it did the past, with the crystals reflecting light from structured rooms to elegant effect, glistening from all corners.
Moving from jewels to fragile gowns, couture season also revealed a high-end cosmetics’ line that provides women with the chance to feel good with naturally radiating skin. Menard, whose motto revolves around the idea of ‘seeking true beauty,’ was established in 1959 in Japan. The select brand, with its scientifically proven products, attempts to understand the skin at a genetic level, including stem-cell research and uncovering the beauty that lies in the first layer of the outer skin. Along with skin care products, Menard is known for its make-up, cosmetics and perfumes. Shortly after the end of the busy haute couture fashion week, invited guests were welcomed to Menard’s Parisian boutique located steps away from la Place Vendôme, to discover its newly enhanced product, Colax Eye. The cream is induced with various plant extracts to regenerate the vitality around the muscles of the eyes. The silky soft texture is meant to work within the pores to awaken the inner cells. •
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