Haute couture designers are of two (or more) minds

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Indy Lifestyle Online

If you were looking for only one trend this haute couture season, it was duality, with designers being torn between femininity and masculinity, the past and the future, and between addressing the lurking economic danger and denying it.

Karl Lagerfeld called his collection of silver and pastel outfits for Chanel "neon baroque," Roisin Murphy called Alexandre Vauthier's jewel-laden dresses "radical chic," and Jan Taminiau simply named his romantic and simultaneously futuristic range Duality: seems as if haute couture designers couldn't decide how to tackle the perils everyone was talking about in Paris.

"Couture isn't an industry any more," the Daily Beast cites Didier Grumbach, the head of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, which organizes the fashion week. "It's a savoir-faire and a service. If you think of it in terms of an industry it's totally decadent."

And he added: "It's considered advertising. For France, couture is a symbol of the luxury industry. For that reason it's very important."

Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad told Relaxnews that he believed that haute couture didn't have to react to trends but that designers should think more about how to monetize on their creations, for example with one-of-a-kind wedding dresses.

What happens otherwise was only too obvious this haute couture week as it was the first time in decades that French maître Christian Lacroix wasn't showing. Apparently, designers went for the multiple-inspiration approach to increase their chances among their clientele.

A few dominant themes could be observed, however. These included historical references (from Napoleon to WWI and the Balkan wars), martial arts and warfare (harnesses, armor, mail shirts, metallic corsets), ready-to-wear influences, especially the rock'n'roll and 1980s chic (sequins, studs, spikes, big shoulders), emphasized hips worn to corsets for exaggerated female shapes, jewels, feathers, and fringing.