PARIS FASHION WEEK - 1
AUTUMN 2012ALEXANDER McQUEEN -
Here we are in Paris at last - Paris Fashion was held back in early March of course, so we're only a month late !! Fabulous designs of course, and some rather mad stuff too - well it wouldn't be Paris otherwise, would it ?!!ALEXANDER McQUEEN
It looked like the aliens had landed at the Alexander McQueen show, what with all the black visors and the outlandishly huge skirts and dresses - concoctions of ostrich feathers, fabric and tissue flowers, pom-poms and layers and layers of fabric...but it was the black visors that gave this show a tiny hint of futuristic menace - something that Lee McQueen was working towards with his last collections - a kind of Blade Runner scenario perhaps, with Man at war with Nature...
However, this was Sarah Burton's vision of the same thing and she had a slightly different take on things:
“It’s futurism with softness, not cold futurism,”
she said in a preview. In her view, man and nature are not at odds. “It’s looking forward in a completely positive way.”
Hence all the flowers, feathers and pom-poms !!
I particularly liked these white dresses with their matching sleeves, which were sometimes a separate entity, like a pair of gloves !! The texture of the fabric is wonderfully interesting - it looks like silver-leaf on white organza - beautiful and delicate, but very full with lots of layers ...
The deep pink dresses remind me of the new London brand for this house - McQ, which showed in LFW a couple of weeks before this show - the colour is fantastic and the feathers combined with the dense fabric flowers effect all over the bodice is fabulous !! Will anyone wear these ? We shall have to wait and see - I'd like to see Nicki Minaj wearing this kind of thing rather than the ultra-whacky stuff she usually goes for - I think it would say so much more, as a fashion statement from her, than the usual goofy things she goes for !! ANDREW GN
Andrew Gn went all Gothic, but in a very romantic way for next Autumn, with a take on the Victorian look that some other designers have picked up on this time around. Gn said he had been looking at the Victorian photographs of Lewis Carroll, from which he drew a moody, Gothic sensibility that imbued the clothes with a dark opulence. Lots of black embroidery, jet beading and fishnet-style lace, along with purple and white combined with black and gunmetal embroideries - very opulent and very luxurious - I liked this collection, even though some reviewers found it a little too Gothic, and a little too costumey for them... CHANEL
Karl Lagerfeld went underground for his show, in the Grand Palais in Paris - after journeying deep beneath the sea in his last show, this time he went prospecting for minerals under the Earth's crust...his fashion arena was filled with towering blocks of anthracite, and amethyst, slanting this way and that, and the floor of the runway glistened with sparkly granite sand...
This whole theme coloured his chosen palette too, with black, gunmetal grey, blue-greys and purple, teal blue-green and silver dominating the show, with crystal-heeled shoes and crystal eyebrows designed and executed by Lesage, the Parisian embroidery experts...wonderfully whacky stuff !!
The iconic Chanel suit was given a bit of a makeover with new proportions, and a new layer with the addition of narrow trousers with most of the designs...
I loved the accessories for this show - wonderful crystalline shapes in the shoes, and bags, with primitive gunmetal jewellery studded with clumps of raw crystal - all very natural, but slightly futuristic at the same time - Karl apparently took some of his inspiration from a Cubism exhibition in Prague that he saw earlier in the year, and so added that feel into the mix too...
As usual for a Chanel show there was a small but significant number of celebrities in the Front Row :-
Karl Lagerfeld with Alicia KeysCHRISTIAN DIOR
After all the developments at the House of Dior this week, here's the last runway show designed by Bill Gayten and the in-house team at Dior, who must be either pleased as Punch, or absolutely gutted that another designer - Raf Simons - is taking over from here on in...who knows ?!!
This collection felt a teensy bit like colouring-by-numbers actually - he took all the typical Dior signature looks and produced more of the same rather then developing anything radically new or different !! To his credit, Bill Gayten has kept this house going admirably well under what must have been a terrific amount of pressure over the last year, and a mounting realisation that it wasn't going to be him in the hot-seat after all...this showed in a somewhat pedestrian show for Dior, but one that had some really nice dressses all the same !! COLLETTE DINNIGAN
Australian designer Collette brought out an exquisite collection of beautiful little cocktail dresses, mostly in black lace, with sheer polka dotted voile panels and sequinned and beaded Art Deco shifts in silver and black. She included the occasional injection of colour in the form of a gorgeous blue satin sheath dress with a beaded bodice, and several other designs not included here.
I loved her little silvery belt with a giant bee in the middle - this cropped up on a coat and several dresses, and it's a motif that we may well see occasionally - it will be instantly recognisable as Collette's work !!
Here's that blue sheath dress I was talking about - the one and only long dress in the whole collection, but what a dress !! Graceful neckline and a wonderfully draped skirt - someone is going to wear this, I am sure !!DRIES VAN NOTEN
Fantastic Chinese, Japanese and Korean prints from Dries van Noten this season !! During hours of research at London's Victoria & Albert Museum, down in the depths of their fabulous archive of Oriental costumes from centuries gone by, he unearthed the most gorgeous prints and embroideries, which he photographed laid out flat, and then cut and copied onto modern clothing designs, so a stork print on an ancient Japanese kimono became a golden stork flying across the front of a black tailored jacket, and a detailed and complex Chinese print became the printed lower section of an otherwise plain white or black shift-dress. This is an exceptionally good use of the modern digital printing technique, where a digital image can be transferred to cloth as a fabric print - in this case, very old prints reborn as modern fashion designs.
I loved this idea and I love the results...
Most of this was daywear, albeit very ornate daywear, but some of these could easily transform into evening wear and probably will - will they appear on a red carpet ? I don't think so, but you never know !! I hope so...ELIE SAAB
Elie Saab brought much more daywear than he usually does this time, which was a good move for him - it's not a good thing to be always bringing out the same things in the same way every time, so ringing the changes is a good idea !! The evening wear he did bring out felt a bit different from his usual selection too - a black cobwebby lace-effect panels inserted into plain black dresses, both short and long were original and very different for him - I bet we'll see plenty of these over the next year...and the black and white draped dresses were elegant and beautiful too !!
After them, it was business as usual chez Elie Saab, with beaded and sparkly dresses in cream, gold, gunmetal and green all making an impact... GIAMBATTISTA VALLI
Giambattista Valli's evening and cocktail wear in this collection was a fabulous collection of graphic prints in black overlaid with dark red, burnt orange, coffee, camel and cream, in chevron stripes, checks, stripes and squares - and further down black combined with charcoal grey and silvery gunmetal - this was a fantastic collection of wearable and exciting designs - I feel sure that these will appear again and again in various forms, especially as Giambattista is becoming quite a popular designer, and is a new addition to the roster of official Haute Couturiers working out of Paris, which always ups your profile a wee bit...
A couple of plainer, but equally beautiful dresses appeared in the middle of this collection - well, the rusty-browny with gold specks did, and the black one appeared right at the end - which gave the collection a bit of respite from all the vibrant prints !!
Giambattista's collection was one of the most colourful and exciting collections so far, from Paris, and I really look forward to seeing some of these on the red carpet - perhaps at some of the less formal and more casual events...
Part 1's done, part 2's due - but not before we go off to Aintree for the Ladies Day fashions - this will be up next, so do come and see...