As a bard of Hollywood glamour, Rani Zakhem sketched the first dress of this couture collection as homage to Marlene Dietrich. It all started with a stretch illusion dress, embroidered with crystals and pearls. By drawing this silhouette, the designer found himself painting ranges around the luminescence of a solar storm palette with all shades of gold, orange and champagne to flaming red, ending in a starry twilight on a black satin sky with flickering diamond constellations. For what would be glamour if not the art of transforming women into beings of light? In a tribute to Lola-Lola, the mythical character of “The Blue Angel” movie, the designer’s Haute Couture Autumn Winter 2015- 2016 collection tips its hat off to the famous costume makers of the great American cinema and Paramount, Gilbert Adrian, Jean Louis, Orry Kelly.
This show is a contemporary interpretation of the history of the early 20th century fashion, which Rani Zakhem narrates through caryatid pleats, sheaths of gold lace adorned with crystals, silver lurex imitating a waterfall, the legacy of Art Deco with a nod to Erté, cabarets of the Roaring Twenties, freedom, celebrations and the longing for luxury and beauty during the Second World War despite its taste of ashes.
One would think fondly about it on watching this collection in shades of solar colors that go darkening until the moon rise, figures molded in a nude stretch splashed with crystals, golden lace accented with glittery runoff patterns, dresses with long invisible sleeves dotted with a seeding of shimmering embroidery.
Here and there, lace patterns and re-cut applications of Solstiss lace stitched with jewels, sequin cascades, light silk capes, draped chiffons, celebrate an inspiration materialized by an accurate sense of volume and state of the art hand craft.
A modern Marlene Dietrich looms behind these necklines both violently sensual and strangely modest, in those short dresses with transparent muslin waves that run to the floor, in these flares of red lace and gold or black and gold on beige background, or the silver nebulae that draws a moon crescent flowing over the bust. This luxurious wardrobe of lace, veils and crystals is built like a dream-catcher, a trap for the light.
Delicately eroticized, sublimated into a fantasy, the Rani Zakhem woman appears this season as an unreal creature, wildly desirable and cruelly elusive. Its passing by would tempt the crackling flashes, but the cameras would only capture a halo, a reminiscence, a blonde cloud, some smoke flowing from a cigarette holder.