Imperial Russia – or rather, a dream-like depiction – is at the heart of Zuhair Murad Haute Couture Fall Winter 2018-19 collection “Un soir à Saint-Petersbourg”.
The grand balls held by tsars in Saint Petersburg give way to a sense of aristocratic opulence. From the Great Ball that once that marked the opening of a season to the decadent wardrobe of Elisabeth of Russia, famous for her 15 000 gowns, to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, the historical savoir-faire redefines contemporary elegance.
A bustier dress with an ivory white trail in is adorned by organic motifs or coats-of-arms, and illuminated by washed out gold beading. Another model with long sleeves, plunging neckline is embellished with tone-on-tone dusty blue guipure.
Brocade is paired with Venetian velour and embroided with glimmering stones outlining arabesques – reminiscent of Fabergé eggs. A bronze velour cape envelops the shoulders; soft tulle softens strict cuts.
This femininity is layered with the period’s military wear. In a country where every professional stratum was codified via nationally approved uniforms, this nod to regulation adds a rigorous, masculine touch to the collection. Boyar-inspired jackets are punctuated royal eagles motifs, badges and corded detailing.
This hybridity is also expressed in a cropped A-line beaded dress in oxblood sequins with a military collar and sleeves; a dress coat in kaki satin duchess elevated with golden silk thread and paired with matching shorts, or a jumpsuit in celadon blue with chiffon sleeves and a floor sweeping cape.
The bridging of the masculine and feminine, of ornamentation and functionality, two usually opposed worlds, reflects today’s modern woman.