Friday, February 6, 2009

The Seething Vengeance of Tweed Knows No Bounds

Ah, just as the temperature drops to single digits, along come the Parisian couture shows to make my life good again. Merci, Paris! Here are my favorites and some commentary. I have nothing to say about Anne Valerie Hash. They showed ten looks, not one of which was particularly inspiring...all very pretty and well tailored, but designwise, a complete snore. Sorry, Anne Valerie Hash. Bring the big guns next time.

Before we begin, I would like to make an observation. I think that the fashion world just hasn't been TOLD that these bedraggled, malnourished looking zombie models they're using are making people sad. I was thinking that they just kept using them because they liked the undead look, but in retrospect I think it might just be that no one has told them. When I was in high school there was this one girl with really straggly hair and some unfortunate glasses, and then one day she came in with this awesome haircut that EVERYONE went nuts over, and finally in all the excitement, someone was like "you know, if you just got new frames on those glasses, you'd be a knockout," and she just had no idea that her glasses sucked. So, fashion world, I am telling you that your glasses suck. Give me some models who SMILE once in a while, and who have seen the sun at some point in the past decade. Enough with the consumptives. Give me some more of this:

This woman is named Ines de La Fressange and not only is she 51 years old and stunning as hell, but does she look like she is having fun, or what? Great clothing makes the wearer feel like royalty. Hire some models who can show the audience how great it feels.

Ahem. On with the show.

Armani Prive was swimming in Asian influence, and I think it was a very successful collection. A lot of Asian design can seem so trite at this point, but Armani Prive incorporated it extremely well and put out an extremely polished collection. I find the first suit on the below left to be just beautifully cut, and the jewelry keeps it from being too stark. The shape of the jacket is really interesting and flattering. I love the size and color of the necklace...I'm totally digging the Big Necklace Trend. The center look demonstrates a different sleeve type and some brilliant use of sheer patterning. Same fabulous skirt, and the tassels at the jacket closure are used effectively for just enough detail. I am impressed by Prive's ability to tread so close to the kitsch line without putting a toenail over it. I'm kind of ambivalent about the suit on the bottom right, but it is a great example of the funky sleeves that were on several looks in the collection.

When Prive went for color, they went big, as seen in this stunner of a dress on the bottom left. The draping is gorgeous, and the long tassel really makes the whole thing stand out. I'd wear it in a heartbeat. The last two below show some of the incredible detail work used on the collection. This lacy design was seen throughout the collection, but these two are my favorite examples. I don't love the neutral coloring of the one on the far right, but the effect is certainly dramatic. What talent!

Chanel punted, big time, in their Fall 2008 Couture show...geriatric looking tweed with no special - or particularly fresh - design. It seemed that they thought the entire collection could be "coutured up" by adding those weird plastic box hats to the whole shebang, and instead, the collection just wound up being one epic offense to the good name of tweed. The Spring 2009 Couture collection is a vast improvement, but still does not particularly do anything for me. I do admire the simple shape of the far left dress, and the detail work on the other two outfits is stunning, but the shapes still seemed fairly antiquated and the color was boring. A woman cannot live on neutrals and whites alone. To be fair, this was a problem throughout...several collections were presented primarily in this color palette.

I will give credit to Chanel, however, for making up some lost ground with some truly excellent hats. Not that these are utilitarian or anything, but seriously, if you can't appreciate a good, crazy hat, you should consider getting a little more fun in your life.

As we know, I allllllways wax poetic over the Dior show, and once again, I am in total stupid love with the house' collection. I wish I had an ounce of the creativity that Galliano has. I love the subdued blue on the lower left dress, with the wispy collar decore and crazy hat. It's nice to see Galliano continuing to call back to the heyday of Dior's siganture looks with the cinched waists, but modernizing it as he goes. The billowy skirt in the middle was seen throughout the collection, and you could almost see them moving through still pictures. I love the lacy detailing on this particular one, and the top is super funky and cute. On the right hand look, I just loved the gathering and pleating in the's such an unusual placement and style, and though you don't usually associate gathering and bunching with sophistication, I think this look is quite chic and interesting.

As usual, the Dior formalwear was a total knockout. I absolutely covet the swirling flower pattern on the dress on the left, and even though I kind of hate the bodice of the center dress, how spectacular is the blue flower design? I also completely love the idea of the print being inside the dress for a little surprise detail...the overall attention to texture and pattern is phenomenal on the last, right hand dress.

And then there was COLOR! This is what I mean about wishing I had the creativity of Galliano. To put all those design influences into the left hand dress and have it come out so gloriously is sheer genius. I love the French-wallpaper-esque prints he chose, and the orange tones in the right hand dress are to die for.

Though my love for Dior endures, holy hell did John Paul Gaultier put out a phenomenal collection. I really encourage you to look at the whole collection, but here's a sampling of my favorites. The first dress here is an absolute masterpiece of intricate design. The gussets on the skirt, the stunning contrast of the black striping against the floral Just wow. The suit in the middle is impeccably tailored, and I love the sort of shaded effect throughout. I don't really care for the black tulle hanging from her jacket hem, but I love the rest of it so much I am willing to overlook it. I have never seen anything like the circular lace dress on the right and I DEMAND that someone give it to me. What a cool idea.

I mean seriously, look at these things. If you told me yesterday that I'd be absolutely coveting a black and white pair of high waisted toreador pants with cut outs on the legs, I would have told you to share whatever drugs you were on, but this is just stunning. I am in total love with the dresses as well...the intricate detailing is out of this world! I wonder how they did it. I love the effect of the layers on the right hand dress.

More and more of this fabulous detailing. I even love the abstract mantilla combs all the women are sporting. I find the center dress to just be an insane level of cool is that slit up the front of the skirt with the detailed overlay?

Givenchy was a solid but not particularly thrilling collection. These two were my favorite looks, but AGAIN...come ON with the neutrals! I think the model on the left is ridiculously beautiful, and the suit she's wearing is so unusual and interesting. I like the funky pleat action going on in the shoulder area. The look on the right, I would wear immediately, though perhaps with something a little more low key than the chainmail neckpiece she's rocking here.

The Lacroix collection had a lot of the kind of Russian ballet influences that we saw in last season's Alexander McQueen collection (though with much less...well, less McQueen, I guess). However, I liked the pieces that deviated from that idea better. I adore this polka dotted coat...I am ALL about coats lately, and I think this one is so sweet, particularly with the cute tights. The color in the center picture is lovely, and the draping is brilliantly executed. I like the graduated dye, and the choice of necklace. I can't really explain why I like the dress on the right, but I suspect it has something to do with the fabulous green color on the skirt. Normally such a mashup of styles and colors would turn me off, but I think this looks stunning.

Maison Martin Margiela was weird again. Raise your hand if you're surprised.

That being said, I like something about this dress...thing, and it's not the weird face covering on the model.

Elie Saab's use of neutral and drab colors was the most depressing for me, because I find his gowns to be absolutely breathtaking, and I think they're at their best in strong color. His collection was technically impeccable and simply elegant, but I think a different color palette really could have made it outstanding. I love the one kimono sleeve on the left hand dress, and the obi-like bow balances the asymmetrical neckline and said sleeve, but the color leaves me a bit cold. The center dress is somewhat of an improvement (warm neutral over the cooler ones that were seen in many of the collections), and the bodice is so dynamic. I love the detailing and the flow of the skirt. The last dress on the right, however, I think is exceptionally lovely. I am not usually one for the one-shoulder look, but something about the design of the sleeve and the effect on the bodice in conjunction with the light aquamarine color totally does it for me.

I did not find Valentino particularly revolutionary in a design sense, but I did enjoy the vibrant jewel tones used. The dresses themselves are fairly simple - a classic shape with a central detail - but the impact created by the color is exceptional. I do love the sparkly, feathery dress at left center, but my favorite of all of these is the stunning teal ballgown at the far right. A far cry from last season's adventurous shapes, but a lovely collection nonetheless.


  1. The dior collection is phenomenal. I don't even like black and white, and it's amazing. I want every single thing! The LaCroix collection makes me want to die, but I like saab's new neutral tone look. And that dress in the middle is absolutely breathtaking.

  2. Dior is just oh my gooooooooooooodness, but I'm all about the lovely cutouts in the Prive collection.