While our mind grapples with absurdity and division seen in the current global political climate, On Aura Tout Vu transcended us to the utopian realm through their Spring Summer 2017 Haute Couture collection titled “Otohime” – A story of the ever so optimistic Queen of the Ryugu Kingdom, and wife of King Neptune. A lady committed to the harmonious coexistence of humans and aquatic life.
The narrative displayed on the runway almost symbolic of a Japanese coast line, were strung together by strong lines embodying a feminine charm, ornate mother of pearl embellishment, and iridescent fabrics sourced from the Region of Tango in Japan. Plunging neck lines to elevated collars, aquatic peplums adorned with scales to pleats galore, all the elements of aquatic grandeur were there.
Models steeped down much like sirens. The collection unfolded stealthily, beginning with strong geometrical lines and gradually to a more soft and flounced quality. The whole scene was orchestrated against the backdrop of a comical clam. Perched on top was a male model who would periodically flex his muscles in poses much similar to Grecian gods or simply endearingly stare into oblivion.
The Bulgarian duo, Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov are known for their audacious plunges into the narration of the mythical worlds. Somehow they have managed to steer clear of the dilemma faced by modern day designers; striking the right balance between creativity and commerciality. Despite bold moves (eg. Bird nest dress: Spring 2011) seen from the two in the past, with this collection they’ve managed to strike that balance.
The show was opened with a garment that made a strong statement. Exaggerated collar, large lapels and strong shoulders. Although all the elements of a well tailored garment were there, there was inevitably that question of whether the incorporation of the large chunks of mother-of-pearl, was a bit too austere.
A waist coat embellished with the tasteful arrangement of mother of pearl, brought our attention to detail and craftsmanship. A more somber lapel and a sleeveless peplum jacket with details of abalone shell, symbolic of scales of a fish start to ooze into the collection
A white accordion skirt and a multilayered lapelled blouse were held together by a leather waist belt and pronounced hips made the ensemble a potent mix.
A demure white mermaid gown decorated by an deep princess cut bodice was close to divinity. The purity and sensuality captured through the garment was a real treat.
The models makeup was a glistening sheen of mother-of-pearl pigment and was coupled with a sleek middle parted hair while a few strands meshed and framed the face. The shoes rightfully stuck to the aquatic theme and thumped down the runway to the whimsical montage of Japanese tunes mutilated with french and english.
Livia and Yassen’s interpretation of Otohime’s encounter with the Pearl Queens initiated by Goddess of the sea Aphrodite was a true first for Parisians. We are eagerly waiting to see what will be the theme next season.
by Pancham Hariharan
Photo courtesy of On Aura Tout Vu