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All the Ways in Which Irving Penn Inspired Azzi & Osta’s Latest Collection

Yesterday, Lebanese-born designer duo George Azzi & Assaad Osta presented their Autumn/Winter 2019 haute couture collection in Paris. Traversing between vintage allure and modern glamour, Azzi & Osta‘s third season showing at Paris Couture Week paid homage to the golden age of 1950s couture.

George Azzi & Assaad Osta. Courtesy

To showcase the link between the histories of haute couture and photography, the designers chose the work of the iconic Vogue photographer, Irving Penn as their inspiration. Penn is renowned for capturing some of the world’s most remarkable photos in which the subject is eternalized and the silhouette is captured as a form of art.

“We are honoring the golden age, where timeless silhouettes were invented and became forever engraved in history. Through the lens of Irving Penn, the very essence of couture as we perceive it is omnipresent, highly orchestrated, yet effortless. These are the aesthetics we value the most and always strive to reimagine,” said Azzi and Osta.

The label’s 24-piece collection boasted their signature sculpted silhouettes featuring concave waistlines made with silk moiré and double satin Duchesse — a sartorial nod to the structured couture fabrics of the 50s. The colors in the palette were plucked from Penn’s still life images, imitating their romanticism in floral hues of rose pink, deep orchid, crimson red, gardenia, pastel lavender, grey lilac, and green lily, with accents of embroidery motifs in “tulip sorbet”.

The highlight of the collection was “The Oyster”, a re-creation of Penn’s famous “Aphrodisiacs” image, crafted from exaggerated layers of tulle and Chantilly lace, adorned with hand-worked with silk Gazar, thread embroidery, and dentelle de Lyon. At the back, the dress featured a detailed faux bow-tie, in the form of the USD100 note as seen in the photograph. A team of six embroiders and four hundred work-hours were put in to create the dress.

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