On The Runway

Paris Reviews: Celine, Comme des Garcons, Loewe and Viktor & Rolf

Powerful statements at Celine (above).


Only Phoebe Philo can get editors to travel to the outskirts of Paris at 10am on a Sunday morning.  And she didn’t disappoint – the beautiful collection owed much of its chic streamlined shapes to 1950s couture, although it was firmly rooted in 2011. It was about separates such as rounded shoulder jackets that came belted over felted skirts, some with a few understated buttons down the front. Pleated leather skirts sat low on the hips, while wide cropped silk trousers came with a thick band of heavier silk at the bottom.

While the jackets and trousers may be hard to pull due to their volumes, it was the simple lines on her crisp white shirts that we loved. They morphed into a belted shirtdress and tops with peplums. One was plain in the front but came with a sheer pleated back that was an unexpected surprise. There was hardly any colour save for forest green and the primary colours that came on her envelope clutches (every editor was fawning over them!) but that made her message all the more clear. A stellar collection.

White drama at Comme des Garcons (above).

Comme des Garcons

Ah Rei Kawakubo, how you perplex me. After the Comme des Garcons show on Sunday, a fellow journalist and I were commenting on whether we would have found the show as emotional and interesting if it was a new, unknown designer. Like everything else, fashion has to be judged in context and Kawakubo along with the likes of Miuccia Prada are always challenging our perceptions of beauty and women, which makes their work so intriguing for us to watch.

The eerie and ethereal all-white collection called ‘White Drama” seemed to portray the various stages of a woman’s life ranging from the innocent, sweet white bow dresses of a communion to the heavily embroidered virginal lace gowns worn at a wedding (some came shrouded in white cloth cages – I guess Kawakubo doesn’t believe in marriage then?) Later they were decorated with black and white graffiti – perhaps a symbol of modern life? It ended with sombre white robes of death scattered with hundred of white roses.

There was a strong couture influence in the stunning shapes – style.com mentioned Balenciaga and you could see that in the wide sleeves that dragged all the way to the floor.  It will be interesting to see how these clothes translate into the showroom or even the store, but it was definitely mesmerising.

Beautiful geometry at Loewe (above).


Stuart Vevers held his first proper runway show for Loewe, which will be restaged in Hong Kong when he visits later this month. After the overload of tropical prints in Milan, I loved the geometry of his architectural tile patterns on silk long sleeve 40s style dresses and button up shirts. Quirky gecko prints on jersey and twill dresses and shirts added a bit of fun.

Leather is of course the brand’s forte and there was plenty of that  –  metallic leather skirts that were super chic, perforated leather vests and dresses and super lightweight reversible napa which is shiny on one side, and sueded on the back. It was simple yet elegant.

Sweet at Viktor & Rolf (above).

Viktor & Rolf

The problem with Viktor & Rolf (well for me anyway) is they get so caught up in a concept that their clothes always seem to suffer and come second. Their spring collection is a perfect example –  the duo focused on lacing/stitching which was blown up to XL proportions on everything from ruffled trench coats and dresses to cropped jackets and A-line skirts . If you took the lacing away the clothes were actually simple and elegant with nice tailoring. Unfortunately they didn’t and that combined with the Barbie doll models, overdose of saccharine colours and spangly crystals made it better suited to little girls wanting to play dress up rather than real women.

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