Light and dark contrast at Tony Ward, inspired by Turner’s hues

San Jose, California
July 10, 2014 4:46am CST
ebanese designer Tony Ward Tuesday took aim at his ever-diversifying clientele with an equally varied line of haute couture based on the contrasts between lightness and darkness. Models sported darkly themed evening gowns with black leather detail and skirts with violent splatters of black paint. Several rich brocades and wine-colored embroideries could have been ripped from the curtain rods at Castle Dracula. In between the vampy winter gowns, however, was the lighter half of Ward’s inspiration. Powder-blue dresses with soft, pillow-like embellishment, sweeping white skirts and meters of sky-blue fabric with an intense aluminum sheen. Ward was inspired by English painter William Turner’s “Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps.” The early 19th century oil painting is a disturbing depiction of Hannibal, a military commander from the third century B.C., and his men overwhelmed by local tribes and the ominous threat of snow and ice. Turner painted a dizzying landscape of white mountains and distant blue sky contrasted with a sinister sheet of black snow and sleet. “Ward drew his inspiration to create a collection that expresses nature’s overwhelming and contradictory forces,” read the collection notes. Until January, Ward showed his couture collection as part of the Alta Roma shows in Italy. Tuesday was the fashion house’s second-ever show in Paris, the birthplace of haute couture and a more prestigious fashion week. Speaking to The Daily Star in Paris after his January show, Ward explained that Paris offers better international exposure for couture. His international clientele were also a point of conversation. Ward has focused recently on growing his Russian and East Asian contingencies. Across the industry, fashion houses are pushing into new markets for couture outside of Europe, taking aim at new and younger pockets of wealth specifically around the Middle East and Asia. In addition to those regions, Ward counts Russian and Italian socialites and a cohort of American celebrities among a clientele as diverse as Tuesday’s collection. The half of his collection inspired by light and embellished with frillier and more sparkly details targeted a clientele in the Middle East and Russia, where tastes favor the glitz and glam side of high fashion. Examples of that ostentatiousness included the popular sheath dress in nude with tattoo-like embroidery. Ward balanced the glitter with headier elements found in the darker half of his show. For example, he sought to mimic the textures of an oil painting by mixing leather, satin and abstract paint strokes.
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• Sri Lanka
10 Jul 14
Wow awosome