The Myth of Haute Couture

January 15, 2021 / Antje Idsellis Arthur

The Dior Haute Couture line for Autumn-Winter 2020/2021 ventures into the world of fantasy where the creatures of legends become fashion models.

The Dior Haute Couture line of Autumn-Winter 2020/2021 incorporates all of the motifs that conjoin fashion and fantasy. It is a magnificent coalition of gowns, mythical creatures, different textures, story, light makeup, and grace. Dior decided to focus on the visions of artists and bring to life the beauty within nature and the mythical world. Through these troubling times, Dior transcended into a magical world embodied by the creatures of mythology to tell the history of couture. This Haute Couture line is a true masterpiece with the story of various creatures being allured from the forest as they are presented with gowns that emphasize the beauty within their nature. Snails, muses, nymphs, fairies, mermaids, and all creatures alike come out of their hideouts to choose a single gown from this line in the depths of the greenery of the forest. It is as though these gowns were from their world. Belonging to them as a second skin that radiated with delicate brilliancy and careful silhouettes. The type of beauty that is able to morph humans into beings of the forest and partake in a journey within a world that is hidden from our eyes but is embedded deep within the eyes of our own imagination.

There is light within the decadent places that are bound by night and its darkness. A breath of inspiration becomes tangible through fashion where the visualization of a dream once distant and beyond the grasp of vivacity, transcends into the light. Couture becomes the home for the creatures that are from myths and fairytales. While our minds undertake the perilous journey where fantasy, myth, and magic become the opposite of what they are meant to be: reality. The wondrous visions of what a fairy, a crow, or a nymph wears feeds into the creativity that morphs those beings into high fashion. Fashion breaks the boundary that separates the mythic from the realistic. And designers are the artists that translate those broken boundaries into what we see on runways. These runways make us travel to other worlds and allow us to peer into the unknown. We become witnesses of the different motifs woven into the couture lines: dark vs. light, mythical creatures, iridescent starry night skies, forest settings, and the eeriness of the mysterious. The distinct colors and silhouettes take us on the journey to new worlds. And, for some brief hours, or even seconds, we see the impossible become possible within a new reality.

It is no secret that designers play with the contrasting effects of darkness and light. However the colors manipulated within Dior become a celebration of sensuality and innocence. Giving power to a snail. Giving life to a statue. Embracing the sexuality of a nymph. The colors are able to bring fantasy to the mundane through the creation of the mythical creatures used within haute couture lines, runways, and editorials. The creatures that were once out of reach within our imaginations transform before us into beings made to wear beautiful and delicate fashion pieces. The motif of dark vs. light goes beyond the idea of color and becomes a formal agreement between the realistic and the mystic.

Beads, sequins, and the luminescence of glitter sewed onto the surface of black fabric become representations of the night skies. The small, glimmering details against solid dark backgrounds bring darkness a touch of hope. And their texture represents the stars embedded into the night sky. Night now becomes a cloak, a gown, a blouse, or even the shoes of a nymph within this couture line, envisioning the goddesses within mythology.

Much like the night, the forest ground brims with secrets, mysteries, and the eeriness of the mythic. It is the source of magic that lives within the natural world. It is the perfect setting for fashion lines composed of both the elemental and mystical aspects of mundane reality.  The forest evolves into a playground illuminated by the fabric of the dresses that caress its grassy floors. It can be inviting and alluring, or seductive and dangerous, and most fashion lines are just that: intriguing and alarming.■

This article was written as a part of Spark Writing’s first annual summer workshop series, Words With Friends: A Spark Writer’s Summer!

Graphic By: Juleanna Culilap
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