For the Chanel haute couture A/W 14 show, Karl Lagerfeld sought to create 'sans couture' – literally, 'without sewing' - by banishing construction lines to the back of his silhouettes, creating pieces that seemed seamless at first glance. On one hand, 'sans couture' can be viewed as the highest level of the craft: Lagerfeld has been obsessed with the technical challenge of creating seamless dresses of this kind for years, a preoccupation shared by pioneers like Rudi Gernreich, Issey Miyake and even Madeleine Vionnet, the original architect of fashion. But on another hand, 'sans couture' hints at deconstruction; clothes with stitches ripped out, cloth draped, wrapped and bound rather than cut and sewn.
Toying with these ideas are Nick Knight, Amanda Harlech and Alexander Fury who unite on a haute couture shoot, which was streamed live on SHOWstudio. The editorial, which appeared The Independent, focuses on veiling, wrapping and unwrapping the body, using garments drawn from the latest couture collections with intent to make abstract marks on the page, nodding to the movement in ballet and written music. Model Elena Sudakova - a Russian famed for her flexibility and contortion abilities - and dancer Olivia Cowley become notes on a stave in haute fashion from houses such as Giambattista Valli, Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Margiela, Dior, Armani and Versace. Alexander Fury and Amanda Harlech offer scholarly commentary on each haute look in short interview films.