Fashion designers Bill Gaytten and Bouchra Jarrar were the game changers at last week’s Paris Spring-Summer couture shows. They were rewriting the rules—expensive made-to-measure should not be limited to a few minutes on the red carpet, but instead service the everyday needs of modern women at the top of the corporate or lifestyle pyramid.
Gaytten, John Galliano’s assistant at Dior for 16 years, discovered the proverbial fountain of youth by going back to Christian Dior’s mid-century archives. Spare and bare (only four dominant colors of black, white, red and Dior gray), it was a tour de force collection of restraint, a chic and youthful return to French style. It was a balance of mostly dresses from the Old World blending with the New Cool.
Jarrar, who trained for 10 years with Balenciaga, presented tailored couture that was ready-to-wear: smart suits festooned with snoods, a doughnut of leather and fur to frame the face and give warmth. There were lots for daywear in wool and tweed, and for evening, printed georgette. This female designer knows the needs and speed of a woman of means at the top of the corporate world.
Here are the best looks from Dior, Chanel, Giambattista Valli, and Bouchra Jarrar, whose collections are fresh and modern. From the silhouette to the fabrics to the colors, it’s haute couture that is of the moment: valid, important and ready to wear.