Celebrated symbolist painter, Gustav Klimt, an artist who portrayed women as fiery, bohemian, elevated creatures, was the source of inspiration for Rami Al Ali’s Fall 2013 Couture collection. Klimt’s provocative portraits of sensual women swathed in Byzantine mosaics and Oriental garments laid against shimmering landscapes were given ‘The Kiss’ of life by couturier Rami Al Ali—a man not known to shy away from boasting a woman’s powers of seduction.
Looking to Klimt’s Golden Period, Al Ali worked the cloth to subtly translate a discreet eroticism through classic silhouettes like bell gowns, column dresses, and chic trousers and top combinations.
Al Ali also experimented with a trompe l’oeil effect, which was executed on the gunmetal column dress. But the real highpoint of this collection was Al Ali’s use of color and, to this effect, the Syrian designer displayed a poignant sensitivity in his translation of a woman’s emotions—as guided by Klimt—in his use of a rich color palette. An A-line, floor-sweeping dress appeared like a storm of molten lava, and which, upon closer inspection, displayed intertwining ribbons of color: sea green, mineral grey, and silver, weaved over black lace. Another dress, worn by haunting Danish Elite model winner, Josefine Svenningsen, offered a simple sheer black top half with bishop sleeves, which descended into a decorous garden of gold infused with brushstrokes of green, red, and silver.
A recurring feature in this collection was Al Ali’s presentation of the Byzantine mosaics. He subtly interpreted this decorative art technique on dress silhouettes of various lengths. It came across as most accomplished when the patterns were made with small pieces, like on the gold shorter-hemmed dress—creating a plate effect, or even with larger shingles, but sewn to fit tightly together like on the shimmering apricot-colored gown. The black chiffon dress with largely cut, deep purple mosaics were overlaid and designed to streak down the dress; the resulting effect, however, did not carry the same finesse as the other gowns.
Klimt loved women and his numerous models were ladies who wanted to live life differently and provocatively speaking, wanted more from it—while society wanted them to be less. With this collection, Al Ali invites his Couture clients to explore their emotional and intellectual potential. A timeless and sensual concept, indeed.