Bouchra Jarrar was one of the first couture shows I reviewed. It didn't prepare me for the ultra-extravagant and sometimes overwhelming world of standard couture (that itself is an oxymoron), but it did give me a taste of what true technique and style can do. I don't often use the word "style" when regarding runway designs because I believe that style is something personal and cannot accurately be created by brands, but for Bouchra Jarrar, the word just fits. What we have here is simplicity. Another word not often found in runway reviews, especially of the couture type, simply because most, apparently including designers, interpret "luxury" as lavish, which by definition calls for an excess of opulence. Bouchra Jarrar's luxury is of a quieter nature; boasting in nondescript ways, a flash of smooth gold here, the swoosh of fine fabric there.
Many elements of Bouchra Jarrar's shows are repeated, almost to the point where memories of separate collections blend in with each other. For one thing, the show is always in the courtyard of the Lycee Henri IV, a place with a neutral, understated elegance that fits Bouchra Jarrar perfectly. Another consistent component between collections is the harmonious combination of watery, flowing fabrics, usually on the bottom, with a more structured piece on top. That generalization translated into this season through sheer, pleated skirts, luxurious silks, stripes in a silk and tweed variety, exotic leathers, and, with all this, the best part was still the feathers. Feathers are the ultimate show of luxury: elegant, delicate, and in need of a trained hand to achieve full potential. The pastel-colored feathers were artfully sewn with beads and sequins, creating a look more detailed and exquisite than most, if not all, of Jarrar's couturier counterparts.
Couture is the dreamiest of fashion, and this piece was the dreamiest of couture. Bouchra Jarrar has created a collection that sartorially beats every extravagant, social-media-overpowering, star-studded couture show. Surrounded by the frothy, frilly, and fashionably fake, I regard this designer higher than any other of its kind, both despite and because of her meager presence in the mainstream.
Photos via Vogue.com & StyleBubble.co.uk.