Next-level wearable art at Viktor & Rolf. Donatella Versace's Pre-Raphaelite nymphs. Karl Lagerfeld's somewhat controversial fur fest at Fendi. This year, it seems like all the designers found inspiration for their Paris Couture collections in art through the ages. Here are five of my favourites.
1. Viktor & Rolf
Models paraded down the catwalk looking like they'd been propelled through paintings, with each canvas becoming increasingly detailed as the show went on. Soft and subtle hues of blue and white became detailed works by Dutch masters that highlighted the tailoring and drapery skill that Viktor & Rolf are so famous for. Once walked, the pieces were removed by the duo in a subtle nod to performance art and were hung on the wall of the Palais de Tokyo gallery where the show was held. From cape to canvas, petticoat to portrait, fashion literally turned to art and (vice versa) in this creative couture performance.
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2. Maison Margiela by John Galliano
Galliano's turn at Margiela seems to be following a pattern of artistic influences. Last season it was Basquiat, and for Fall Couture '15 Maison Margiela revisited the iconic blue tone championed by Yves Klein back in the '50s and '60s. Perhaps the iconic colour was Galliano's way of mirroring Klein's focus and determination in his 'quest to reach the far side of the infinite'. The show was flecked with the historic hue, including personalised applications for each model by the uber-talented Pat McGrath.
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Largerfeld presented his landmark Fendi couture show against the backdrop of 'Piazza d'Italia' by Giorgio de Chirico, founder of the scuola metafisica art movement and the master of chiaroscuro, perspective and imagination (and also one of the most famous painters of the 20th century). With personal reservations on fur aside, the show embraced all aspects of the Chirico philosophy - craftsmanship, history, contrasts, and above all, imagination.
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4. Atelier Versace
With a set heavily influenced by Romanticism (and a touch of Art Nouveau), it seemed fitting for Donatella Versace to embrace her more tender side for this collection - a massive departure from the look of past seasons. Fluid fabrics and tiny flowers were reminiscent of a '70s version of John William Waterhouse's 'Ophelia'. Diaphanous dresses floated down the runway, materialising Waterhouse's amorous masterpieces.
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Raf Simons' presented a modern religious experience under sheets of what seemed to resemble beautifully reimagined stained glass windows. Taking the oldest elements of religious iconography, Simons' reworking of elements from the House of Worship saw a modern day twist on divine dressing.
His main influence was the Garden of Earthly Delights, a triptych from the 1500s by artist Hieronymus Bosch. Aspects of both Paradise and Purgatory were found in this oil painting and this collection, along with the oversized fruit that was scattered along the runway. The binary oppositions of modernity and history and femininity and masculinity were used as foundations for this collection as Simons breathed new life into ancient narratives.
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