Christian Lagerwaard at Paris Fashion Week SS15

Paris Couture Week – Femininity and the Male Couturier

In an environment that evoked purity and grandeur, with its white setting and high ceilings, Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika sought to create a mysterious effect with his SS15 collection of captivating and sensual dresses.  While mystery was thin on the ground at the Ecole des Beaux Arts Salle Melpomene in the 6th arrondissement, the show certainly quenched a thirst for couture. Striking in it’s over the top femininity, the unveiling resonated for this very reason, as from the flourishing garden of Georges Hobeika, femininity, grace and delicacy exuded.

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Considering the Princess of Monaco a muse, dreamy pastels of aqua, blush, mocha and yellow commanded Hobeika’s beguiling work, which played with texture and length to showcase true grandeur and fairy-tale splendour.

In a collection displaying impressive femininity and serenity, models were reminiscent of ballerinas with signature air and grace, while a multitude of contrasting elements fused together tightly on the catwalk, testament to Hobeika’s skill as a couturier.

Traditionally feminine silhouettes were central, but not without the feel of a young girl playing dress up in her mother’s wardrobe. The use of pastels and appliqué butterflies, though generic, enforced the fanciful theme and complimented sleek ponytails and ribbons that offered a gentle air of innocence.

Alice Jacquemin (2)
Image courtesy Alice JACQUEMIN

This juxtaposition of young and old was paramount to Hobeika’s collection, enforcing all elements of femininity.

But surely this aura could only be captured by a woman? A female harking back to days of past when the insatiable desire to feel grown up and ready to grace society, enter the world and make herself known came from those few stolen hours playing in her mother’s wardrobe.

Seemingly not, as Hobeika sent models down the runway in what can only be described as one of the finest collections we saw in Paris: completely and utterly authentic Couture that made guests feel like spectators at a cotillion ball – another paramount occasion for young ladies, the importance of which must surely be lost on the male.

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However, no, we had to remind ourselves that we were at the Georges Hobeika show – and Hobeika is very much a male.

Much of the collection featured pieces cinched at the waist and ornamented with whimsical bows, while butterflies cocooned against lavish gowns, and capes danced around.

With light key inspiration for the season, luxurious crepe and silk chiffons were adorned with shining pearls, sequins and crystals which extended the sensuality of a neckline.

Delicate hand-embroidered flowers and vibrant leaves surrounded the bust, juxtaposing playful innocence with female passion.

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In this collection of refinement and romance, Hobeika’s experience working at Chanel – a pioneer of female design – can be seen in large round buttons and Peter Pan collars.

With silhouette, Hobeika didn’t over-exert himself, but still delivered gowns prettier, softer and more delicate than the last.

Embroidered tops over pleated, flounced skirts, large ball gowns, accordion pleats, nipped in waists, and the occasional sweetheart neckline were all unveiled and jewels adorned in an infinity pattern acted perhaps as a symbol to never-ending purity.

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Prominent waistbands peeked out under cropped tops over A-line skirts and fitted sleeveless gowns ejected fishtails trains. Slashes to the nape juxtapose the apparent air of wholesome innocence with a reminder that the Hobeika designs for sensual women.

Once again, Hobeika’s work was unashamedly feminine, incorporating glamour and capturing a woman’s sensuality. This is in stark contrast to the man himself – athletic in build, salt-and-pepper hair, bearded. Such is the beauty of his gowns and the effeminate makeup of their being, Hobikea, as a womanswear designer, is on another level to his contemporaries, including Elie Saab and Jean Paul Gaultier, whom both play on sexuality.

Instead Hobeika manages to capture the daintiness and true emotion of womanhood in ways rarely see amongst male couturiers.

Credit: Alice Jacquemin
Image courtesy Alice JACQUEMIN

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