So finally, here I am at Paris Fashion Week. Unlike past seasons, Paris seems relatively quiet (or maybe it’s just editors hiding from the cold?) I get the feeling we are all waiting for something to happen – whether it’s a collection that makes us go “wow” (like Phoebe Philo did two years ago) or news about replacements at Dior or Yves Saint Laurent. On the actual catwalks, however, designers have been busy proposing different versions of femininity for autumn/winter 2012. Read on for our reviews…
I feel sorry for Bill Gaytten – it must be hard to put your life and soul into a collection, especially when you know that you are going to be replaced by someone else any day. Perhaps that was the reason why Dior’s autumn/winter collection lacked something despite the fact that it was elegant and beautiful. Gaytten referenced the New Look, but created a softer, more modern silhouette with belted jackets worn with long full skirts made from silk and gazaar, and in a beautiful palette of grey, taupe and dusty pink. Details such as an abstract houndstooth print, leather (one pleated zip up top was tough yet chic), pleating and chunky jewelled necklaces made it modern.
This season Alber Elbaz celebrated 10 years at Lanvin, so even before we had seen the collection, people were buzzing about the after party (one editor said that David Bowie would be making an appearance – he didn’t). And although Pharrell was in the audience, the only person who belted out a few tunes was Alber himself (to Que Sera Sera), making us love the designer more than we already do.
But back to the clothes – perhaps it was all the hype but I was expecting something more. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a good collection with some gorgeous pieces – one black cocktail dress came with white ruffles that looked like a sundae decorated with whipped cream. Elbaz is all about celebrating women and making clothes they want to wear which was evident in separates such as a neoprene fitted top with a peplum, in eye popping shades of yellow, green and blue. Then came the fun – the prints, brocade, the fur, the over-the-top embellishments. Even shoes flashed crystal studded soles. More of this please!
I first met Haider Ackermann five years ago and knew he was going to be a star. His autumn/winter show proved yet again that he is a masterful tailor with an incredible eye for colour (combinations included autumnal orange and yellow offset with cobalt blue and purple). Like other designers in Paris he concentrated on the waist, although his tops and jackets came layered, folded and draped in such a way that made them stand apart from the rest. It was romantic yet edgy, and I wanted everything.
If Haider does take the top job at Dior or Saint Laurent he may need to incorporate more sellable pieces into his collection, but this show proves that he is a talent that shouldn’t be wasted.
Viktor & Rolf
As far as Viktor & Rolf collections go this was one of the better ones. Maybe it’s because they put aside the lame gimmicks and actually concentrated on the clothes. Set against the backdrop of a full moon and howling wolves, the models took to the catwalk wearing slinky pyjama style tops and bottoms covered in animal prints. Then came their signature tailoring – one trench coat came with a fur top that looked like it had been hacked off, while capes and jackets were simple yet wearable. The fur jackets and fur trimmed evening dresses are not for the faint hearted.
Loewe needs its Phoebe Philo moment. That’s not to say that Stuart Vevers isn’t a talented designer but the house’s heritage makes it difficult from him to stray too far. The predominantly black collection really did show off Loewe’s buttery soft nappa whether it was on a preppy varsity jacket, full pleated skirt with laser cutouts or oversized coat trimmed in white. Even thought most of it was black, the fabric was treated in various ways to add an edge. I loved the oversized bags tucked under the arm (a big trend in Paris this week) and the final looks – a series of coats and dresses embossed with pockets, buttons and other details. It was understated luxury at its best.
There was some vintage John in Bill Gaytten’s collection for Galliano. He played with the house’s more familiar codes giving it that sense of theatricality and creating a romantic heroine that brought together the collection. It was all about equestrian references as seen in the tailored riding coats with pleated inserts and jockey cut trousers which played on masculine and feminine. The brand’s signature bias cut gowns came in chiffon with crystals and Baroque paneling.