Amidst bursts of colour and intricate couture, DDW talks to designer Franck Sorbier about his mesmerising spring/summer haute couture collection.
It’s Haute Couture in Paris and we find ourselves at the doorsteps of one of the city’s most extraordinary hotels, temporary home to politicians, celebrities and influential personas alike. It’s cold, as it has been all week, and the streets of Paris are full of tourists wrapped in dark coats – a winter staple of sorts. Its a stark contrast to the fashion that awaits us inside, at Franck Sorbier and his “Pérégrination” – the designer’s Haute Couture Eté 2023 exhibition.
Amidst the ornamental lobby, nestled in a carpeted corridor that leads to the hotel’s café stand a series of colourful garments. They stand our for their couture, intricate sowing techniques that bind a myriad of fabrics together to create explosions of colour in the shape of dresses and jackets. Mr. Sorbier tells me his prime source of inspiration; India’s Holi festival.
Every spring the streets of India gather for two days amidst colourful powder to mark the beginning of a new season. Mr. Sorbier tells me about four particular colours and their symbolisms. Orange for hope, green for harmony, blue for vitality and red for love and fertility. He explains this as we admire one of his pieces, a particularly colourful one at that. Whilst it seems as if fabrics were thrown with a holi-esque quality onto the garment, the reality couldn’t be further from this accidental quality. Each of these extraordinary pieces could take up to 20 days of confection.
The care and though behind it is obvious. Sculptural at times, softer and fluid at others, Mr. Sorbier walks me through his collection, named “Pérégrination”. He tells me about fabrics which resemble tile-work in southern India, or intricate muslin gradients that fade into a deep green shade.
I’m struck with how some of the dresses on show are short, something which is not often visible in Haute Couture collections. “The idea is also to get out of this concept that haute couture is only dresses like that, huge, big evening, etc.. And to come back towards a wearable haute couture… something that is less proud or vain” Sorbier tells me.
He goes on to tell me about how viewing a collection in the form of an exhibition, which is not as common as presenting it in a runway, is somewhat like observing a still life. “It requires imagination” he says, pointing out that bringing these garments out onto the runway would grant them an entirely different movement. Whilst this is often the preferred format of presenting collections during fashion week having the chance to stand at arms length of the artwork grants them an entirely different level of appreciation. I can’t help but think of the details that would be lost to the distance of a runway.
Mr. Sorbier’s patience and attention to detail is fascinating. It becomes obvious as to why this is one of the only 14 people with the title of Grand Couturiers, as well as being declared Maître D’art by the French Ministry of Culture. The creativity and execution impeccably attest to his skill and knowledge, and we’re left hungry to see what Franck Sorbier will get up to next.