Posts tagged halston

There seem to be two designers that have a strong influence over the collections thus far – Hussein Chalayan from his early work and Rei Kawakubo.

The Chalayan Construct_

_was evident in the styling and presentation of  the Marios Schwab collection for Halston – the hats may link back to the start of Halston’s career as a milliner but they remind me more of Chalayan’s headpieces. As do the almost medical-looking boots and the set design of the presentation. Jarring tongues of glass and metal. There’s nothing wrong with this, per se. I just like following the trail of thought – Fashion Etymology, so to speak.

Hussein Chalayan, Lilly Heine

Looking at the leather hats at Narciso Rodriguez brings to mind the leather headrests that Chalayan integrated into shifts in the Echoform A/W 1999 collection. One of the stars from the Saint Martins MA show, Lilly Heine, used laser cutting to create contoured reliefs in geometric forms that again hinted at Chalayan’s layered shifts from the Geotropics show. Add to all this, the current obsession with geometry and mathematics coming through in the complex folds and sculpted forms, everywhere from Peter Pilotto, Louise Goldin, Calvin Klein to Marios Schwab, it would seem that we’re having a Chalayan Moment. Not surprising as the late 90s seem to be the buzzword. It would be interesting to see what the man himself does this season.

clockwise from top left: Hussein Chalayan, Marios Schwab for Halston, Halston archive, Hussein Chalayan, Narciso Rodriguez

The Kawakubo Curse_

_childhood fables,the broken doll, ghost bride, Romance Fragile… The Zingara gypsy,commonly seen on the streets of Milan, around Stazione Centrale, on the Metro. Her full, grubby skirt swinging about her ankles, the floral blouses layered one atop the other, the chink of coin necklaces, pendants and bracelets, the gold teeth, a flash seen through a crooked smile, the greasy, khol-black hair, locks clinging around her weathered, desperate face, the cloying smell of patchouli… A frightful, thieving creature and an unlikely muse, you would think. I didn’t see this one coming but since Alexander Wang’s dubious outing in New York, The Gypsy Woman seems to be gaining momentum, running against the wind. Rodarte’s muddle of pattern and texture, Meadham Kirchoff’s Gypsy Rose bedouin vagrant, replete with crown and veil… Its a path much trodden by Rei Kawakubo. However, there is something artful and appealing about the spontaneity of the silhouette. Romantic, each decorative, colourful layer begging to be touched. Peasant Grunge, if you like but I’m not sure how this translates in a winter season. All those flyaway tendrils of chiffon. Broken down into individual pieces in a showroom the garments will be more evident and also how well they will assimilate into more contemporary looks. It would be interesting to see what actually makes it to the shop floor. The nomadic layering is something the stylist Alasdair McLellan had already started at Missoni last winter. There it somehow made sense and rejuvenated the house’s famed but tad démodé knits. It felt urbane. Nevertheless, its an interesting argument. Let’s see if the big boys and girls  in Milan and Paris take it further and give it a seal of approval or if this one’s going to flap away into the distance.

You beggar believe me: Meadham Kirchoff, Missoni

Full Circle: Hussein Chalayan, Ambimorphous AW 2002

catwalk images:,

Director Jean-Jacques Beineix is probably more famous for Betty Blue but his 1981 debut, “Diva”, has a beauty of its own. Several, in fact. The first being American soprano Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, who plays a determined, beautiful opera singer, Cynthia Hawkins, that refuses to record any of her work. I very much like this idea of a singer who has never heard their own voice played back to them.

The incredibly beautiful Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez

What draws me to Diva isn’t the plot, which hasn’t aged too well. A sort of tangled story of love, corruption and deceit. The aforementioned Wiggins Fernandez literally glows throughout the film as the main character’s love interest. Her rendition of Alfredo Catalani’s La Wally is heart-wrenching. As is Vladimir Cosma’s, who created the soundtrack, Satie-inspired Promenade Sentimental.

There are some truly spectacular scenes in Diva and credit needs to be given to the cinematographer, Philippe Rousselot. In fact, the whole film felt like a composition of image and sound. That probably sounds a bit obtuse as that is fundamentally what cinema is but each frame seems so carefully arranged that to watch Diva feels almost like flicking through a photographic album. Not to say that the film is devoid of emotion or suspense. The scene in which Cynthia and her young admirer Jules [played by Richard Bohringer] stroll around Paris in the early hours of the morning is one of the most tender love scenes I have ever seen.

Miss Hawkins’ wardrobe is also noteworthy. Doesn’t her one-shouldered dress, that Jules steals at the beginning of the film, remind you of Halston? Especially, Bianca Jagger?

The madness is about to begin. Let’s see in the womenswear season with some lovely images from Halston – one of the most highly anticipated shows. Where will London-based Marios Schwab take it? Will Liza approve? Questions…I really hope he pulls it off and brings direction and energy to the brand. They both deserve it. Another Balenciaga success story in the making?

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

HALSTON, An American Original: Elaine Gross & Fred Rottman, Harper Collins Publishing 1999