Hosted off-schedule at Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, Bahareh Ardakani's Haute Couture collection for ArdAzAei crystallised the brand as a shining star on fashion's most rarified stage
Crystals and their refractory qualities served as the thematic foundation for designer Bahareh Ardakani's Haute Couture designs this season. The kind of light that moves through the colour spectrum, through the shadowy non-colour — black — and beyond. "The Diffraction of Light sits at the heart of my design philosophy, which is informed by my experience studying gemology prior to founding ArdAzAei," says Ardakani. "Through simply passing light through a stone, an entire inner world is opened."
This theme of light was also translated, quite literally, through developing the lightest of fabrics – seams, pleats, embroidery, and folds positioned with mathematic precision all to "emphasise the effects of light diffraction". Take a lightweight fitted silk organza bustier, for example, complemented by a silk crêpe pencil skirt with embroidery inspired by the light-bending curves found in the optics of gemology. Or a voluminous minidress in layers of silk sculpted around the body, featuring shimmering metallic silk chiffon.
Styled by famed French stylist Emmanuelle Alt, the Diffraction of Light collection explores these ideas across 24 looks – culminating with the evening gown 'Polaris'. The gown showcases an intricate pleating technique, developed with the folding artist Joan Sallas and the pleating artisans of Les Ateliers Lognon. Drawing inspiration from ArdAzAei's emblem, Sallas translated its geometry into three-dimensional folds brought to life in the atelier using silk fabrics. Hand-folded moulds are crafted and the delicate silk is placed within them with utmost precision, ensuring every pleat is flawlessly executed. The final creation, crafted from lightweight silk and adorned with metallic lurex, exudes a captivating play of lights thanks to its angular surface.