Paolo Sebastian’s Autumn/Winter 2018-19 couture collection, ‘The Nutcracker’, debuted in Australia this week as part of the highly anticipated Adelaide Fashion Festival 2018. Ushered inside from the blustery cold Adelaide weather, the runway was illuminated by a wash of blue UV light; setting the scene for a fairy tale Winter’s night. As seats began to fill, the excitement was audible. And we were not disappointed.
It began with the opening plucks of the ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’, played by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra against an all-black backdrop. The runway was stark white; allowing the story to centre on the 26 individual custom couture looks. Each of the pieces showcased were testimony to the meticulous, traditional craftsmanship of the atelier.
Frothy, tulle hems and structured, boned bodices evoked Degas’ ‘L’Etoile’ and the Nutcracker’s origins as a 19th century ballet. But, this was not merely an exercise in replicating the history of dance. Plunging necklines, exquisite, frosted embroidery that crept across the décolletage and chiffon set like spun sugar, firmly cemented Paul Vasileff’s place as the master of modern couturiers.
It was hard not be swept up in the dream like world of Vasileff’s creation; each detail was precise right down to the gorgeous, ribboned heels and simple but pretty, late Victorian hair styles. Beading twinkled under the lights like the first dust of snow, the music took our breath away and we were reminded why fashion is as much a form of visual art as it is a tool of self expression.
And, like eager children after the close of a beloved chapter, we can’t wait for the next instalment of the Paolo Sebastian story.
Photography by Wade Whitington Photography