In the Belle-Époque chateaus of the French Riviera, the centuries collide. With casual elegance, a new generation of heiresses breathe life back into their family heritage. Zuhair Murad’s Spring-Summer 2023 Couture collection captures the freedom of their azure and gold days, filled with laughter, secrets and sensuality. The nights announced in the same note conclude this sweet joy with natural refinement that excludes any excess.
On the streets of the most mythical bay in the world, young women frolic on Vespa’s, bicycles or convertibles, hair disciplined in straw hats or large silk scarves, sometimes tied in a bun, sometimes floating in the wind. They play lively games of badminton or petanque in the shade of lime trees and pines, take spontaneous dips in wild creeks, and enjoy picnics on the pebbles with pastis and pissaladières. Just before dusk, we take the road to the hinterland.
As the evening approaches, the young women prepare to celebrate the sunset in the pastel boudoirs of their family mansion. The chirping of the cicadas has stopped, and as if in a dream, they slowly descend the double staircase of the porch that opens onto the lawn. In the manicured garden, soft music accompanies the fall of night as bursts of laughter and hushed conversations fill the air. Cocktails are served, and a rosy light highlights the details of long dresses that one would think were borrowed from the whimsical youth of some relative, a remnant of the nightlife of a bygone era.
The embroidery patterns in the collection are inspired by architectural details from the Belle Époque. Silk whispers in caddy, tulle, chiffon, taffeta, satin, jersey or chiffon. The palette, often shaded, marries the fires of the setting sun on the sea. Soft pink, bright pink, flame orange, pale green, Caribbean blue, fading yellow, where drapery and precious embroidery dominate. Jewels handed down through generations, priceless stones, and Hollywood brooches come out of the coffers, underlining the suppleness of a sheath, the modeling of a bust.
The spirit of the Roaring Twenties is back, among fringes, gathered waists, integrated veils, head ornaments or streams of crystals, evoking the gaiety of an era that followed the unimaginable tension of the First World War. The same 1920s that influenced fashion in the 1970s are back in Zuhair Murad’s 2023 Spring Summer Couture Collection, combined with small touches featuring bell or batwing sleeves and fluid, pajama-like trouser sets with precious macramé embroidery. Above all, the collection reflects a longing to resume life as it was before the Covid-19 pandemic and other crises while keeping only the essentials.