Fashion meets architecture: the biggest looks from Paris haute couture

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Stephane Rolland

Architectural fashion was the name of the game at the Spring 2016 Haute Couture shows in Paris this week, where bold structures and exaggerated silhouettes dominated the runways.

There were asymmetric hemlines, cut high at the front to reveal sizeable flashes of thigh, before billowing out into floor-skimming trains at the back for an element of high voltage glamour. Stephane Rolland mastered the look with a show-stopping postbox red layered dress that fanned outwards in a choppy, sculpted fashion.

Ralph and Russo played with proportions by adorning its bridal ball gown with flared sleeves that fluted out from the elbow, dropping into diaphanous, jewel-encrusted mini trains of their own, and Guo Pei stunned with a square-cut train that stemmed from a corseted dress with sculpted hips that provided the perfect example of razor sharp form.

Elsewhere on the catwalks, Giambattista Valli sent out tiered gowns featuring triangular layer upon layer of stiff, frothy organza, and Alexis Mabille played with loose, voluminous structures that riffed on breezy nightwear but were in fact fitted to protrude outwards from the body. Full credit, however, must go to the immutable Viktor & Rolf, whose colossal towering Cubist structures composed of distorted 3D facial features and gigantic ruffles went the furthest in pushing the increasingly porous boundaries between art and couture.