This past week at Cipriani, Dertbag, Shay Kawaii, H33M and Chicago Playground showcased their FW'18 collections during Style Fashion Week New York. While Style Fashion Week has been known for supporting established, emerging and international designers since their beginnings in 2011—this season, during New York Fashion Week, they partnered with Papertrail Magazine in an effort to support the increasingly popular streetwear culture. These young brands and designers, often the inspiration behind luxury giants, rarely make their way to the New York Fashion Week runway—operating under tight margins without corporate budgets to produce major runway shows. Style Fashion Week helps to share the cost of these major productions—providing designers the platform to display their work on the same level as their luxury competitors. Style Fashion Week recognizes that these designers are a vital piece of the fashion community and will continue to work to support them. (Photos by Mark Gunter)
Fury, fervor, effervescence! For his first couture fashion show in Paris, Rani Zakhem celebrates life and joy in incandescent metaphors. Fire is the essential element of this sumptuous yet relaxed collection, dedicated to a volcanic woman.
As devouring as ethereal, the sacred element comes in pyrotechnic explosions and cascades of gold, drawn by embroideries of arachnoid crystals of lava on the black of a sheath whose draped top splits into a deep "V” neckline. Some creations seem to be sculpted in the light, like the pearl-beige silk dress, where red, orange and gold gems glow with a myriad of sequins that bring precious reflections back to the surface. Here the image of the volcano is spun to the neck, columned and entirely gilded, a recurring element of the collection and keystone of an architecture that favors ease, movement and, one would be tempted to add, the dancing flames that seem to devour the fabric barely touch the floor.
Reminiscent of a party in Vienna where the designer returned bedazzled, Klimt's Kiss, itself cast in a gold powder dust of stars, infuses into the collection a resolutely modernist visual vocabulary, translated into sequins of geometric forms. Geometry that also brings us into the disco spirit of the 1970s with many references to Halston, especially in a loose, single- shouldered fluid dress with a golden Mao collar, in a fanned out degradé rainbow, gold to red through yellow and bright orange. Gold, again, subtle and powdery, sculpts a feuille d'or chiffon dress, knotted in a wrap around bustier dropping into a deep backline, a tribute to Mireille Darc, elegantly quoting Guy Laroche.
Clearly, the theme of fire, sometimes extinguished leaving precious streaks of diamonds on silky nights; sometimes fluid, sizzling cascades of molten metal on a short dress with dripping panels, and sometimes gently iridescent with warm colors, is only a pretext chosen by Rani Zakhem to salute the masters who nourished his vocation.
A scarfed collared, vertiginously split yellow chiffon, plissé soleil dress with mouton sleeves, is a joyful smile addressed to Jean-Louis Scherrer. Another, short black silk satin, real Moujik tunic adorned at the bottom with pleated yellow faille and embellished with a large bow of the same fabric is a nod to Yves Saint Laurent. A third, composed of a densely embroidered golden top with narrow three-quarter sleeves, and a long black pleated skirt is a reverence to Balmain. The heart skips a beat when the liquid gold drape of a silk jersey habillé evening sheath appears, ending with a large bow of black silk satin on the shoulder, a tribute of the designer to Madame Grès.
A black silk satin kaftan, embroidered on the edges with gold sequins and flame patterns at the bottom, recalls Rani Zakhem's native orient and plays on the bond between his multiple cultures.
A delicate apotheosis of this fashion show, shaped in flowing lava and blazing fires, is the wedding dress, long and tight with its delicate whitish lace and precious simplicity , emphasizes the minimalist bias of a collection with budding emotions.