ArdAzAei Fall 2024 Couture Collection

A new entry on the couture calendar, Bahareh Ardakani came to Paris by way of Tehran, where she was born, but mainly Sweden, where her family moved before her first birthday. A mathematician and design engineer by training, she switched course to fulfill a dream of becoming a fashion designer, picking up a gemology degree along the way. As a result, Ardakani is the rare couture indie who also designs her own high jewelry, all of which is centered in a picturesque atelier and ready-to-wear boutique in a cobblestone courtyard just off the Place de la Concorde last week. As to that moniker: ArdAzAei is a contraction of her parents’ family names.

Fusing her gemologist’s eye, background, and fashion dreams, Ardakani sent out a début couture collection based, somewhat improbably, on string theory and Calai-Yau manifolds, or how the universe can accommodate infinitely more than three dimensions. Bringing all that back down to earth, the designer said she wanted to explore shapes in sculptural ways, in the details and in the folds, by bringing all the expertise of French savoir-faire into her micro- and macrocosm.

A gown in organic silk print heavily ruffled in an explosion of dégradé was one example of her adventures in amped-up dimensionality. Mathematical movement was evident, too, in a fuchsia whorl emanating from an intricately draped bodice. A tiered black organza gown made of miniscule pleated plissé and silver-embroidered fans seemed to spiral around the body, creating the impression of an infinite loop. Beads embroidered atop other beads were intended to create a “big bang” effect. What many of these numbers lacked in practicality they made up for in photogenics: Ardakani is busy setting down a language all her own, so it will be interesting to watch her and see who picks up the thread. Meanwhile, over at her boutique, she cuts a sleek pair of trousers.

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