Haute couture fashion week drew to a last Thursday January 23, 2014, with the final show, presented by Ralph & Russo. As the last after-parties wrap up, the time has come to take stock of the top trends of the Spring Summer 2014 season in haute couture, which is widely considered to be the ultimate fashion laboratory.

Fluttering into spring

Left: Moth inspiration at Yiqing Yin © AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOT
Right: Butterflies at Jean Paul Gaultier ©AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA

Designers must have passed the word around ahead of fashion week: butterflies are all the rage for the Spring Summer 2014 season. The delicate insects were seen in models’ hair at Alexis Mabille, in a butterfly dress at Stéphane Rolland, or in a long, asymmetrical grey gown with moth-like wings at Yiqing Yin. But by far the most extensive homage to butterflies came from Jean Paul Gaultier, who presented entire outfits dedicated to the Lepidoptera order. Among the most unforgettable highlights of the show was the arrival of Dita Von Teese in an exquisite black and blue butterfly dress.

Prima ballerinas

Left: Ballet inspiration at Julien Fournie ©AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOT
Right: Ballerina style at Viktor&Rolf ©AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK

The world of classical dance inspired couturiers this season, resulting in graceful, delicate ensembles or leotard-like outfits that seemed to come from a ballerina’s wardrobe. The graceful and delicate trend was at the heart of Julien Fournié’s collection, entitled “Premier Frisson” (“First Thrill”), which included exquisitely tailored garments in soft shades (silver, lilac, grey). Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf also drew inspiration from the dance studio, but with different results. The collection consisted mainly of short, opaque dresses resembling leotards, with minimalistic tailoring and trompe-l’oeil prints suggesting tattoos or ribbons.

Greco-Roman goddesses

Left: Goddess style at Versace ©AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA
Right: Greco-Roman draping at Alexis Mabille ©AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA

Two haute couture houses presented collections inspired by feminine divinities. At Atelier Versace, modern goddesses walked the runway, draped in refined and sensual dresses. At Alexis Mabille, meanwhile, the models presented sculptural outfits in celestial and immaculate white, including draped dresses and togas.

The return of tennis

Sporty inspiration at Chanel ©AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK

Couture and sport go hand in hand, as we learned this season thanks to Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel and Raf Simons for Dior, who both combined couture ensembles with sporty sneakers, while always respecting colour coordination, of course. While Karl Lagerfeld presented embroidered sneakers, along with kneepads and elbow pads for an additional sporty touch, Raf Simons presented a few pairs of couture tennis shoes. – AFP RELAXNEWS