Could be Cherokee, Inuit, Etowah, Navajo, Sioux, Creek, Apache, Seminole Tomahawk, arrow, any way the wind blow, it’s just fine with me” sing the The Black Keys in their hit Navajo. Native American culture – observed from an fantasized and respectful perspective – is at the heart of Zuhair Murad’s Spring 2018 Couture collection.
The house pays homage to the craftsmanship of an array of ancient tribes, notably the Sioux, the Navajos, the Iroquois, and celebrates their traditional prints, embroideries, and pictograms. Triangle-shaped dresses are adorned with pearls, fringes, bold V-shaped cut-outs, and are belted. Tunics come with an audacious frontal split and multiple layers, or deconstructed and paired with a cape, or worn with matching cigarette pants. A Peplum jacket is twisted with feather work and a muslin skirt; a minimalist blouson is worn with matching embroidered leggings.
An array of references from Native American culture are cited as inspirations to rethink and liven up classical ball gowns – including a princess gown in jacquard, embroidered with arrows and headpieces, or an organza design with brightly painted cacti and flames. A game of transparencies appears in the juxtaposition of lace and macramé, as well as in the triangular slits that run throughout the collection, allowing for the wearer’s skin to shine through the textures.
Feathers and headpieces organically embellish the hair, and the fabrics – silk, tulle, brocade, and jacquard – bring together opacity and lightness, for a most sensual result. The color palette evokes the symbolism of Native American art: white suggest purity and peace, red stands for fire, gold symbolizes the sun, black hints at a dark night, and brown is a celebration of the earth we live on.
As for the wedding dress, the final and spectacular model of the show, its veil morphs into a trail, and promises a timeless yet modernized sense of romance. Both ornamental and spiritual, this collection tells the tale of a femininity that is instinctive and rigorous.