Bouchra Jarrar Fall-Winter 2013-2014 Couture Fashion Show

Hot off the runway, black and cream dominate Bouchra Jarrar’s latest collection. Adding some shimmer and shine in soft but structured silhouettes - discover a new edge to femininity.

Review by Sarah Mower, via:

If you sit back and actually think about the Frenchness of Parisian haute couture these days, something strange might hit you: At the top, it's hardly very French at all. There's Raf Simons at Christian Dior: Belgian. Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel: German. Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy: Italian. Giambattista Valli: Italian. Even the guest members invited onto the schedule are foreign to France: Giorgio Armani, from Milan; Valentino, from Rome. Odd, very odd. It means that it falls to a young, female independent talent like Bouchra Jarrar to uphold the spirit of modern Frenchness to the world. She's a Parisienne, through and through. And so far, she's been ignored by the French establishment. Why someone hasn’t yet stepped in and co-opted her, nurtured her, raised her up to a great position in the Paris schedule is a mystery.

Because the collection she showed today proved yet again how good, and how very French, her point of view is. She continued to expand on her favorite theme of masculine tailoring and feminine dresses. "That's the way I began, but I pushed it to more of an extreme," she said. "I made the masculine-feminine-tailoring pantsuits for day more exaggerated, because that's my idea of modern couture." She worked into a more elaborated idea of the oversize biker jacket and skinny pants, with sleeveless biker jackets made of hand-woven silks, and the trousers tapered to the ankle and slung about with belts and chains. It was what went underneath that gave the sense of drama, and elevated the look from streetwear: draped, crossover jersey pieces, caught at the neck with flashes of crescent-shaped metallic jewelry produced by the long-established couture specialists Goossens.

The vests, which came heavily encrusted with iridescent bubble beads or constructed as conceptual feathered body pieces, involved more specialist expertise from Lesage, the celebrated Parisian couture suppliers. Jarrar isn't one to get diverted from her clear-eyed course by anything too done-up, though. What she presented was a more sophisticated progression of her understanding of how the chicest compatriots of her generation dresses—like the young professionals you see around the Paris shows. Essentially, French girls have never touched the brightly printed short sheath dresses that appeal to Americans and the British. If they do wear dresses, they prefer something modern, exceptionally well-cut, and unclinging—like Bouchra Jarrar's fluid asymmetric collages of satin and silk crepe.

In all, it was a triumph of modern Frenchness—an upmarket, luxe counterpoint to what Jarrar's sister countrywoman Isabel Marant is doing in ready-to-wear. The difference, of course, is that Marant has reached the point where she can sell her essence of Parisian hip around the world. Bouchra Jarrar hasn't yet, though she's advancing step by step, and more convincingly as the seasons go on.

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