Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lacroix's Final Bow



Paris, France - 07/14/2009 - Sadly, the grim truth appears to be that legendary French designer Christian Lacroix presented his last haute couture collection during the Paris shows last week.
Although Lacroix and his business associates have stated their current cutbacks are due to restructuring plans the reality is that his work force has been decimated from 124 to 12. 
There were many tearful eyes in the house after the models left the catwalk. Didier Grumbach, the head of the Chambre Syndicale, said people were very moved.
He also added... "There's no question he is an artist and needs to express himself. The difficulty is that we are in an industry, we are not in contemporary art".
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Monday, July 13, 2009

The Couture Report @ Christian Dior





If anyone ever pondered the question of how a Dior couture show would play minus the smoke, mirrors, deafening music, extravagant sets, and locations—and haven't we all?—now we know. For Fall, John Galliano took the collection back to the dove gray salons of the Christian Dior headquarters in the Avenue Montaigne to show almost in the way the clothes were traditionally presented to clients and the press in the 1950's. And to be honest, sans the heart-pounding stress, stadium-size crowds, and general hurly-burly, it was a lovelier, more intimate parade to behold.

Galliano said he'd been inspired by behind-the-scenes documentary photographs taken more than half a century ago as Monsieur Dior dressed his cabine of mannequins for shows. The conceit of half-dressed models informed the collection, so that hip-emphasizing basques, girdles, lace-edged slips, and petticoats were hybridized into brightly colored variations on the classic wasp-waisted silhouette of Dior's New Look. The effects—reworked Bar peplum jackets, draped bubble skirts, padded-hip coats, and full-skirted evening gowns—came punched up with a zinging palette of orange, lime, raspberry, and yellow, contrasted with the pretty flesh tones of fifties under-things. Nothing particularly novel, or even mildly shocking, but Galliano turned that to his advantage. It's a moment when reemphasizing house values is a wise tactical move.
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@ Chanel Haute Couture Fall 2009




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Couture Report @ CHANEL



Before rating Chanel's Fall couture, let's consider what Karl Lagerfeld has already done for the house in the last six months. There was the indelible, incredible high of his all-white couture show in January. Then, a matter of weeks ago, the staging of an unforgettably glamorous Resort collection on the beach at the Venice Lido. All this supremely heart-lifting fashion, delivered in a year that is technically the most depressing in living memory.
Back in Paris again, was it going to be humanly possible to top that for a third time? As it turned out, not quite. The Chanel couture for Fall, shown in the Grand Palais on a stage set with giant white N° 5 bottles, had a comparatively toned-down atmosphere. Lagerfeld's single conceit was a play on graphic proportion—suits and dresses with a longer flyaway panel in the back, all shown with lace tights and stiletto-heeled booties. As the show progressed, he offered up some remarkable looks: a "smoking" redingote with a ruffle-necked blouse; a crinolined dance dress; pretty, light chiffon dresses in nude or midnight blue with ruffled trains. The outstanding look, though, was the one where the panel device was the least evident: a superchic spiral-cut dark blue dress with an asymmetric "tail" lined in red. All the Chanel craftsmanship was there, of course, and impeccably achieved. For all that, Lagerfeld didn't manage to outstrip the genius of those previous two shows. That's the annoying thing when you're competing against yourself.
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The Couture Report: Givenchy

It doesn't particularly matter any more in couture if a theme doesn't completely hold up to scrutiny. What counts are the other tests that apply to custom-made clothes: the specialness of each individual outfit and the relevance of the clothes to what a fashion-conscious woman might want to wear. It's on those points that Tisci's work at Givenchy makes its impact. The coats and a standout black velvet jacket over draped, tile-patterned gold embroidered pants have a hip, luxe contemporary desirability. Ditto some of the eveningwear, like a slick, high-necked, long-sleeved black pailletted gown, and—when stripped of the fluoro jeweling—the things he does with draped nude chiffon. If Tisci's thought process sometimes lacks coherence, he is still a designer bringing a much-needed sense of modernity to an old tradition. 
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