by AMY VERNER

There was no way that Guo Pei could outdo the epic proportions of last season’s Legends theme, which conjured up fantastical queens of this world and beyond. Today, she reined in that ceremonial splendor and concentrated on the legendary aspects of haute couture itself—silhouettes that expressed bygone glamour newly infused with intense levels of metallic luster and embellished shine. “That time, I wanted to express a feeling,” she explained postshow. “This time, it’s a lot simpler; it’s a tribute to the era of haute couture, when life was more beautiful and dresses were more beautiful, as well.” She manifested this nostalgia in a wide array of filmy floor-sweeping gowns, contoured fit-and-flare cocktail numbers, and seductress mermaid styles. Bodices fanned upward for added drama, and gilded embroideries retained a regal air. For all the radiance of her fabrics, there was more still in the Chopard gems; the haute joaillerie collaboration was overseen by Caroline Scheufele, the brand’s copresident and artistic director. Seeing the diamond drop earrings or emerald-studded necklaces perfectly matched with a Guo Pei design suddenly turned each look into an exceedingly expensive proposition. Granted, when factoring in the towering stiletto platform shoes, this would have been a convenient shopping experience for some of her top clients who continue to dress for the runway show as though it were a state dinner.

And what of the red carpet shopping list? Whereas Spring’s egg dress failed to convince, the glistening, multicolored patterned cube-and-stripe dress just might, its motif mix more expressive than ornate. The strapless, streamlined copper gown came as close as one could get to statuesque, while the dimensional lotus (or were they magnolia?) flowers of the final creation felt sufficiently ingenue. The dress in shimmery deep green brocade giving way to velvet was worthy of a portrait, not just a paparazzi photo.

Pei noted that this collection took considerably less time to produce—just 30 days, give or take. And though there were double as many looks as last season, the show’s pace was quicker. Sure, the iridescent veils cascading from violet knickers might have been a questionable addition to the haute couture canon, but the model was moving freely.

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