Jul 11, 2014
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Feathery extravaganza wraps up Paris fashion

Jul 11, 2014

PARIS - Paris fashion wrapped up on Thursday with a feathery spectacular by young Belgian couturier Serkan Cura, notable for the number of black, mixed race and Asian models on the catwalk.

Less than a year after models Naomi Campbell and Iman launched a blistering attack on the fashion industry for its lack of diversity, Cura said he took a deliberate decision to use all "different kinds of girls" for his collection.

Of the 17 models in Cura's show, nine were black or mixed race, three were Asian and five were white, including one redhead.

"It was very important to me to have a mix," Cura told AFP backstage after the show.

Serkan Cura Haute Couture a/w 2014-15 | Foto: Pixelformula

Last September, Campbell, Iman and model-turned-activist Bethann Hardison sent a letter to fashion governing bodies around the world condemning fashion houses for their continued failure to use "models of colour".

The result, they said, was "racism", even if it was unintentional.

"Eyes are on an industry that season after season watches fashion houses consistently use one or no models of colour," they added.

Cura, who is of Turkish origin, said that contrary to claims made by some fashion designers he had found no difficulty in casting the non-white models he wanted for the show.

"You can find a lot... (just) like that!" he said.

For autumn/winter 2014-2015, Cura sent out a string of dramatic looks using goose, heron, ostrich and marabou feathers teamed with heavy Egyptian-inspired jewellery.

One outfit alone was loaded with 15 kilos (33 pounds) of feathers.

"With feathers you can do everything when you have the imagination," he added pointing to a slinky, green and blue trouser suit that looked as if it was made from something metallic.

Elsewhere on Thursday, Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo took inspiration from Italian interior photographer Massimo Listri.

The Australian duo went for voluminous, floor-sweeping gowns in silk and duchess satin and shorter dresses with a 1950s feel.

Ralph and Russo, who like to stress the wearability of their haute couture, singled out Listri's "sense of perspective and devotion to detail" as a key influence on the collection.

Striking forays included multi-layered ruffles spiralled around column dresses and skirts that appeared to float.

In another offering, a metallic silver fishtail gown sparkled with fine pearl and crystal embellishments.

- 'Part woman, part flower' -

Haute couture newcomer Dice Kayek, meanwhile, was modern and poetic in the Turkish-French designer's debut "Winter Garden" couture collection.

Models were "part woman, part flower" in a collection designed to look like a garden coming alive.

Pleated organza created the illusion of transparency while mirror effects, pearls and sparkling hand blown glass created the impression of droplets of rain.

Some 30 collections of haute couture fashion for autumn/winter 2014-2015 have been shown in Paris this week.

Celebrities who lent their star power to the occasion included Sean Penn and girlfriend Charlize Theron, Emma Watson, Marion Cotillard, Kim Kardashian, Olivia Palermo and Kendall Jenner.

Haute couture is worn by an exclusive elite of the world's richest women due to a level of craftmanship that can see a single garment costing tens of thousands of dollars.

It exists only in Paris where it is a legally protected appellation, subject to strict criteria such as the amount of work carried out by hand, the limited number of pieces and the size of a house's workforce.

Paris fashion now takes a break before returning with nine days of ready-to-wear collections for spring/summer 2015 at the end of September.

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