“I love the possibilities of corsets. You could say I wanted to put women in a gilded cage,” Zuhair Murad noted backstage at the start of his Spring 2016 couture show. His latest collection was a nod to the romanticism of the past with a line of historically-inspired fairy tale designs. Models came down the runway in pastel, floor-length ball gowns with metal crowns upon their head like 18th century princesses.
Of course, the Murad princess isn’t as innocent as her Disney counterpart. Slits were cut thigh-high, necklines plunged down the front of gowns and sheer bodices left very little to the imagination. Despite the demure references to historical silhouettes like puffed sleeves, boned corsets and hip bustles, the collection felt modern. Dresses were architectural, structured to give volume and definition to the waist and hips, but done with a light hand, so it felt soft and romantic. The only exception was an over-the-top, wedding gown with a 13-foot train that was so dramatic, one could easily imagine Cinderella marrying her Prince Charming in it.
Every piece was topped with delicate lace, latticework or individually hand-sewn appliqués. Flower petals and ivy crept their way up organza evening gowns embellished with sequins, beading and 3D embroidery. His idea of the gilded cage was used literally in the corsetry of several pieces and even referenced in accessories as ball gowns were cinched with barred belts and models walked in cage-trimmed heels.