Church inspires at Paris couture
The noble lines of a Japanese architect's church were the inspiration behind the pure, restrained look sent out by Christophe Josse on day one of the Paris haute couture shows on Monday.
The French designer chose the library of a historic Paris high-school as the setting for his autumn-winter show, his models stepping out on to an antique terracotta floor with bookcases running around the walls.
Hair pulled up in tiny turbans or trapped under back headbands, they wore body-skimming dresses of black or ivory, cut demurely on the knee and dazzling for their understated use of rare materials, and glossy textures against mat.
An apron of black beaver fur adorned the front of a dress of black satin and neoprene, with a deep V neck and a touch of gold at the waist.
A bolero-like top was fashioned from fine black crocodile, above a skirt of satin leather and wool crepe, while for evening, a bare-backed black gown flowed into a wide skirt embroidered with tiny plates of lacquered black organza.
"I wanted something simple, pure, contrasted with the idea of opulence that is linked to haute couture, to create contemporary silhouettes," the designer told AFP before the show.
The spirit of the collection, he said, was borrowed from the "limpid and strong serenity" of an architect-designed church in Ibaraki, near Osaka in Japan.
Catering to a core client base of no more than 200 women worldwide, haute couture is a protected appellation in France, awarded based on strict criteria like the amount of work carried out by hand and in-house.
Two dozen houses including Chanel, Dior, Gaultier and Givenchy are sending out their one-off creations over three days of exclusive haute couture shows until Wednesday.