The event: Fashion house On Aura Tout Vu -- which roughly translates as “Now We’ve Seen Everything” -- showed a fall collection inspired by water at the Palais Royal in Paris Monday.
The scene: Under an overhang of trees, backed by an impressionistic mural of an icicle-topped seascape, models paraded along in fashions adorned with crystals, bits of broken glass (polished, of course) and water that had been encapsulated in slivers of plastic and stitched between rows of beads. At the runway’s end, they posed beside a trio of sea creatures, all covered in black from head to fishtail, while glittering from swirls of clear beads and sequins.
Designers Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov, whose previous collections have included outfits made from genuine beetle wings, are nothing if not imaginative.
“We wanted to bring attention to water,” said Stoianova of this year’s theme. “Water is precious and we want to send a message of respect and understanding.”
"Water is so important to the survival of humanity that we need to speak about it,” Samouilov added.
In the crowd: Before the show began we caught up with Didier Grumbach, the soon-to-depart president of France’s powerful fashion association, the Federation Francaise de la Couture, du Pret-a-Porter des Couturiers et des Createurs de Mode.
“After 16 years, you must move on and do something else,” Grumbach said, noting that he has been planning for his succession for nearly four years.
He said that the association now includes designers from more than 25 countries, all admitted by virtue of their talent and ability to move fashion forward. “We don’t accept brands, which are commercial,” he said. “In Paris, we want controversy. A collection which doesn’t frighten you a little is not good.”
As an example, he pointed to Jean Paul Gaultier, whose first fashions did not sell at all. “His fashion at the time was considered unwearable. He didn’t sell one piece, and it was the same with Thierry Mugler and the same for Chanel. Back in the beginning what [Coco Chanel] brought was totally new -- it was shocking,” he said. “It’s the same for any designer of talent. Fashion must be new. Different. Something which changes fashion.”