This is going to be a long post I must warn you. I’ll be sharing some thoughts on the three protagonist houses showing Haute Couture in Paris: Givenchy, Giorgio Armani and Chanel. A 70’s redux runs through those shows like the finest silk thread and I can see the shadow of one man cast over all three collections – Halston_
Give Me More// Givenchy par Riccardo Tisci
Reading Suzy Menkes’ and Sarah Mower’s reviews of Tisci’s efforts he pretty much had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand and gasping for more. I’m a huge fan of Givenchy womenswear and actually think the menswear is on the up – looking forward to see what effect the new head of menswear will have. The show centred on a less aggressive take on the 70’s. Doe-eyed Natalia Vodianova closed the show in a gobsmacking evening dress that poured itself into a flurry of gossamer-fine ombre pleats around her feet. The show was precise, modern, accomplished, relevant and beautiful. I agree with the slight tut-tutting that it was perhaps a bit too abbreviated but better that way than to induce front row snoozing.
The Halston Effect can be seen in the sculptural ruffles, sequins, chiffon cloaks and linear draping.
2010 Space Odyssey// Chanel Par Karl Lagerfeld
The man is bonkers but a bonkers genius if there ever was one. There’s no stopping him. The Chanel shows can sometimes induce the need to retch into the nearest champagne bucket but there isn’t a fashion house that reduces women to spluttering, stuttering heights of deranged obsession as Chanel. The sugary fondant fancy palette was a tad queasy and there were some proportions and flourishes that were just plain wrong but amidst all that there were some exits that made you realise how bloody important haute couture is. The sustaining of craft is reason enough for it to exist. Even if a single dress isn’t sold those petits mains need to be kept on a payroll. No other house pumps the lifeblood into couture like Chanel, love or loathe.
Despite the baroque-ice-queen-goes-to-Saturn-for-two-scoops-of -vanilla-and-one-of-pistachio theme there was a way of the 70’s about those draped satin columns, neat culotte pant suits and mirror ball sparkle. Sort of Marie Antoinette goes to Studio 54. Again, see Halston. In particular his pastel-hued dresses from 1972.
Full Circle//Giorgio Armani Privé
Lunar eclipse. Looking to the stars… literally. Cate Blanchet & co have a go-to for Oscar night. I’m not a huge fan of Armani but I respect his work. you know an Armani when you see one – so strong is his handprint. He styles every look himself and that makes his shows some of the most personal. I’ve actually warmed to the Privé collection and I’ll bet anything that next to Chanel no one else shifts more couture frocks. You look expensive in an Armani so it reasons that if you’re spending €50,000 on a dress you want to look so. Also he focussed on trousers, the hardest of garments to cut and perfect. Why don’t other houses push this?
La Luna. The Moon. Silver, space age organzas, a nocturnal palette, crescent motifs & circular cutting, the sporty, minimalist columns and, once again, sculpted ruffles. The influence of Halston is undoubtable.
Postscript. Looking forward to see where Marios Schwab takes the Halston brand next now it seems to be on fashion’s frontline again.
catwalk images http://www.style.com
HALSTON, An American Original: Elaine Gross & Fred Rottman, Harper Collins Publishing 1999