Couture is often associated with the glitzy world of high glamour, red carpets, long evening gowns and heavily embroidered dresses. Not for Bouchra Jarrar. The French designer believes in understated chic, serene beauty and actually wearable clothes.
Her show was scheduled immediately after Chanel’s on the Paris Fashion Week calendar. But if the contrast between Karl Lagerfeld’s pop take on couture modernity and Jarrar’s bet on simplicity as an avant-garde statement were in a way antithetical, they also had something in common: the legacy of Coco Chanel, who believed above all that clothes should be up-to-date and wearable. Bouchra Jarrar clearly lives by the same credo.
Far from the heavily decorated (and often mirrored) sets in most of the week’s shows, Jarrar chose to present her collection at a bare Hôtel Particulier not far from the Champs Elysées. The first model made her appearance wearing the designer’s trademark look: a black-and-white tweed and leather perfecto and masculine trousers, only those were made out of black PVC. A welcome touch of kink that proves that, although discreet, Jarrar is not restrained. The following looks included short dresses and mini skirts (all of them bearing her signature diagonal zipper), but also utterly desirable basic pieces such as a fitted leather trench coat, impeccably cut white poplin shirts and a remarkable cozy-looking tweed coat with a lush fox fur collar (a recurring detail in her collections). The season’s surprise, however, were the bias-cut evening gowns, in black and white satin. Some of them included masterful (if toned-down) embroideries, all of them were worn loose and comfortable-looking. Bouchra Jarrar might be giving in to the red carpet aesthetics and the princess dresses, but she’s definitely doing so on her own terms.