With mastery of volume and a quest for purity in each line, Ashi Studio presents a Fall-Winter 2023 couture collection inspired by Patrick Süskind’s hauntingly powerful novel Perfume.

Passion, obsession, and mystery permeate dramatic silhouettes, embodying the visceral quest for the ultimate expression of an art. Just as extraction transforms the soul of a plant into scent, Ashi uses meticulous craftsmanship to reconstruct immaterial notions of memory, yearning, and fragrance into couture.                                          

The couturier approaches dressing as “undressing” — the better to extract the essence of couture — progressing organically from coarse, unembellished materials to studies in architecture, transparency, and the balance between opulence and restraint. A corset dress seems to shrug off a dark outer layer, meter upon meter of ecru organza envelop curves with the suggestiveness of a silken sheet, and diaphanous billows of fabric mimic a fragrance trail, sensuously enveloping the head while leaving the shoulders and bust exposed. An S-curved silhouette seems to contour the body like a modern perfume bottle, with strategically placed cut-outs that celebrate the female form. Vintage flacons inform origami-like folds on an evening gown crafted from 150 meters of fabric or stand in as a shoe heel molded from an ombré resin that makes the bottle appear half-full. What looks like velvet is in reality a delicate mesh made from grass, a time-honored material used for perfume extraction to this day. Embroidery, beading, and coppery threads – a nod to the equipment used in perfumery – give evening looks an evanescent shimmer. A bare back heightens the contradiction between secrets and disclosure. 

This poetic, enigmatic ode to dark romance is embodied by a cast whose diversity reflects Ashi’s Orientals origins. In keeping with the couturier’s flair for drama, it was unveiled onstage at the iconic Théatre du Châtelet in Paris. In that context, and with all the headiness of a signature perfume, the Ashi Fall-Winter 2023 couture collection celebrated self-expression, fluidity and voluptuousness tinged with danger.