FASHION MUST NEVER FORGET

Creation is the backbone of fashion houses, and although the artistic director is there to provide creative impetus, the brand image cannot be embodied by one person alone.

The passing of Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s genius artistic director, gives us pause to think about the dependence of luxury fashion houses on their star designers. In particular, how do we avoid sudden gaps in succession? How do we prevent turbulence from disrupting the brand and profits in an industry where creation is the heart and soul of the business? What characterizes the haute couture fashion houses that most effectively manage the risks linked to designer dependence? Continue reading

VUITTON CONTROVERSED BY NICOLA

On Tuesday evening, guests arrived at the venue to discover a reproduction of another Paris art institution, the Centre Pompidou, built by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, in a groundbreaking style that caused an uproar when it opened in 1977.

Since Nicolas Ghesquière presented his first collection for Louis Vuitton inside the Louvre’s Cour Carrée in 2014, he has often used the historic museum as a backdrop for spectacular sets with a futuristic bent.

Why the world’s largest luxury brand would build a faithful copy of a structure that is only a mile away in real life was something of a mystery one that Ghesquière cleared after the show: The collection was inspired by his people-watching at Café Beaubourg, which overlooks the vast square in front of the Pompidou.

Indeed, the variety in the collection felt overwhelming at times, as the eye jumped from Ghesquière’s familiar jutting shoulders and ballooning sleeves, to Eighties-style power suits, to a Cyndi Lauper-esque bustier dress dotted with silver stars and polka dots. Continue reading

CÉLINE PARIS FASHION WEEK

On Saturday night, Slimane introduced Celine’s new woman, and she is a woman chic, knowing and a direct descendant of a particular stylish archetype of years past. In a little fashion irony, Slimane always installs a modernist set. This time, his first model descended from on high in a big light box, emerging onto the runway in all her retro glory. Her look: the sort of confident, sporty élan that ruled bourgeois Parisian style, and emanated well beyond that sphere, in that well-dressed period from the mid-Seventies into the Eighties, before the latter decade turned hideous. The aura travels well, across time and through modern life.

As usual, Slimane employed a laser-sharp focus. His primary message: a great, often mannish jacket atop an easy skirt or some variation of culottes, some full enough to be called, in the language of old, a split skirt, others streamlined into walking shorts. Continue reading

ROCHAS COUTURE IN PARIS

Alessandro Dell’Acqua has been delving into the couture heritage of Rochas for a couple of seasons, as a form of antidote to the streetwear flooding luxury fashion. Or perhaps he was inspired by the launch of the house’s latest fragrance, Mademoiselle Rochas Couture, a bottle of which was placed on each seat.

For fall, he took the exploration in two directions. The first was fabric, with materials including a heavy speckled tweed, cloqué textures, and a jacquard covered in wool tufts that looked like tiny feathers. The second was cut, via trapeze and cocoon constructions that harked back to the heyday of post-war haute couture.

A roomy black collarless tweed coat was trimmed with a thick band of jet beads at the hem, while a pleated black cloqué skirt was worn with an oversize short-sleeved shirt in ultrafine glossy black leather. Elbow-length black gloves and skintight black leather over-the-knee boots gave the look dramatic bite.That edge was missing from some of the other outfits, like a duo of tent dresses in frothy tiered organza. Indeed, some teetered dangerously close to period costume, such as a hump-backed black skirt suit, topped with a saucer-like crinkled plastic hat by Stephen Jones. A striking silhouette, for sure. Wearable? Not so much. Continue reading

BLACK FAKE FOR GUCCI CEO

The Gucci ceo was in New York Wednesday evening for the Marvin Traub Lecture. What was meant to be an interview spanning his career and his tenure at Gucci became heavily dominated by talk of the fashion house’s recent faux pas a balaclava-style sweater that critics said evoked blackface.

“Gucci is often in the news for their extraordinary commercial success, but also for their commitments to communities around the world.
Explanation of what went wrong, telling the audience that the sweater was debuted at a February 2018 show, but “nothing happened” until it was recently linked to blackface on Twitter, which sparked the social media storm.

He admitted that when his team first told him about this, he didn’t know what they were talking about, which he puts down to ignorance on his behalf. Continue reading

GUO PEI DRAGON-NISSIMO

Guo Pei took to the temple, allowing her imagination to roam a spiritual safe haven of palatial proportions. With elaborate craftsmanship as the driving force, the designer offered a wide-ranging futuristic and Gothic-infused lineup, part warrior princess, part illustrious queen.

An unusual experiment with waders came at the start of the show, covered in golden-hued dragons and hanging open at the thigh to reveal a pair of bright blue HotPants. On top, more skin, with tasseled shoulder armor leaving an exposed bellybutton.

The complexity of her pieces can be overwhelming, even if they’re sent down the runway at a snail’s pace affording time for a good look. Models were perched on towering platform shoes  architectural pieces, too, like the garments.

Her dragons were everywhere, hailing from the Han dynasty, which had them slim and masterful at transforming themselves as was the clothing.

In an example of her East-meets-West aesthetic, Guo embellished a colorful tweed with large, randomly placed rhinestones, and used it to build one of the wider pieces, overlaying a body-fitting bustier.

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JACQUEMUS PARIS 2019

After launching men’s wear on a beach in the South of France last June, Simon Porte Jacquemus, is back to Paris. His new headquarters is four times bigger and he is entering a transitional phase as the brand grows. 69 Quai de Valmy, 75010 Paris

Simon Porte Jacquemus grew up in the countryside in Provence. He comes from a family of farmers and when he was a kid, he was fascinated by his dungarees which looked like a uniform. Continue reading

VUITTON SMOKES MARIJUANA IN PARIS

It is bingo for Bernard Arnault. He has bet on a new afro-american designer, Virgil Abloh. Yesterday he attended with his two sons at the front row. During the show there was a smell of marijuana. He was a choc between two worlds, as if a family of Boston was meeting an afro-american of Harlem. The mix gave a stunning collection. Continue reading