Paris Fashion Week ended just last week. And though I provided links to some of my reviews on Vogue.it, there were a few more must-see shows I hadn’t given my two cents on. Read on for reviews of some of Paris’ biggest names: Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, and more.
John Galliano took a trip to the South Pacific with a nautical themed collection that mixed masculine and feminine silhouettes with a taste of the tropics. Fluttering floral print dresses in purple and orange billowed under loose fit parkas in bone and navy, all topped by sailor’s caps. Bright red lips, cat eye sunglasses, and Betty Paige hairstyles gave the collections a 50′s pin up feel. Ever the showman, master couturier Galliano concluded the show with what was undoubtedly one of the collection’s best looks: him in a gold buttoned suit in naval blue, finished with a flourish of red.
Marc Jacobs traveled to the Orient for Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2011 show, parading sequin addled kimonos, silken pantsuits, and bead fringed dresses down a black marble runway. Rich purple, turquoise, magenta, and orange played on satin separates, artfully paired with sheer lace garments embossed with the house’s monogram. Accessories included tasseled cross body bags, compact clutches in violet and teal, sheer lace fans, sequined belts, and color blocked sandals. Mandarin collars and knobby buttons gave way to animal inspirations towards the end of the show, which closed with a panda bear sequined top, a giraffe print suit, and a series of garments fashioned in zebra fabric.
Christophe Decarnin continued with his signature rock and roll aesthetic for his latest collection for Balmain, sending lithe models down the runway in an assortment of studded, pinned, zippered, and sequined jackets, paired with tie-dye jeans and dangerously short shorts. Edgy leather pants were paired with high stilettos and blousy pink and red tops decorated with stars and stripes that recalled America’s Hell’s Angels; frayed denim shorts with metallic embroidering accented rewashed, holy cotton tanks held together by silver coated safety pins.
Balmain’s well-known tennis ball shoulders were noticeably gone, but the house’s spirit of moneyed nonchalance spiked with glorified biker chic lingered on.
Yves Saint Laurent
Stefano Pilati offered a sleek and minimalist interpretation of Yves Saint Laurent classics for the brand’s Spring/Summer 2011 show. Trench coats, tie neck tops, and the ubiquitous le smoking were re-imagined in colors like burnt amber, navy, and classic black. Keyhole jumpsuits and pencil skirts took a turn for flirtatious with the addition of well placed cutouts and ruffle details.
Though tame, Pilati offered subtle eroticism with a few keys pieces: a sheer black top worn with satin sarouel trousers, a high cut blue body suit placed under airy tulle, and a belted khaki dress with a plunging v neck.
For Spring/Summer 2011 Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy mixed classic black and white with dashes of leopard print for animal edge. Simple solid pants with swaths of sheer fabric were paired with deep v vests in black, white, or leopard. Androgynous models with berry colored lips sauntered in sharp, layered silhouettes with bright zippers and bonded elements. A few stand out looks: a floor grazing cheetah print gown, a smoky white sleeveless pantsuit, and a smocked, zippered top with sheer flowing pants.
For his last show for French heritage brand Hermès, creative director Jean Paul Gaultier paid homage to the house’s history of fashioning leather goods for noble horsemen with a collection bubbling over with chaps and horse bit shaped belts. The opening look set the tone for the show: a black leather jumpsuit with a wide brimmed hat worn by a model carrying a horsewhip. Subsequent looks followed the same thread in bone, white, saddle, orange, grey, and black, with shorts, jackets, bags, and driving gloves all in soft leather.
Oversized hounds tooth prints on coats, vests, and leather skirts opened Nicolas Ghesquiere’s collection for Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2011. Etched in vivid blue, red, and white, speckled with sequins and mini prints, the show offered feminine colors with menswear silhouettes. Tomboyish button down shirts hung loosely out of ankle length black pants, accented by collarless jackets and flat, thick soled shoes.
Although more feminine dresses later trickled into the line up, the sequined options were paired with lace up combat boots and tough leather jackets.
Alexander McQueen’s untimely death last fashion week sent shockwaves through the fashion industry. The resounding questions were: how could someone so talented die so soon? And also: What will be the future of his company? Over the summer, the house announced that McQueen’s assistant of 15 years, Sarah Burton, would take over creative control of the avant-garde line. Spring/Summer 2011 was her first chance to show her skills, and she proved she was more than capable. With a decidedly feminine touch, she continued McQueen’s use of complex prints and intricate embroidery, adding lovely pleated skirts, wide hips, and alluringly low necklines. Burton also excelled with the accessories: the collection included extra wide buckled belts, gold toed studded lace up crocodile print booties, and strappy beige sandals ornamented by husks of wheat.
Karl Lagerfeld created a reproduction of the Versailles Gardens in the Grand Palais for Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2011 show, recasting the symbol of French grandeur and opulence in sedate black and white. The collection itself was the perfect complement to its setting, offering a series of tweed separates in classic colors that underlined Chanel’s tradition of glamour and Parisian chic. Freja Beha Erichsen opened the show in a black and white tweed jacket worn with a cascade of pearls and chains, along with perforated pants. The show continued with similar looks: boxy knit gray dresses, cinch waist tweed suits, and flowy black lace frocks, all worn with platform sandals. Models sported slicked back hair, as if patterned in the likeness of Karl Lagerfeld himself. Though not avant-garde, the collection oozed the luxury synonymous with the French maison’s enduring class and sophistication.
Alber Elbaz proposed sensuality for Lanvin’s Spring/Summer 2011, but not in the typical seductive sense of skin clinging fabrics and short hems. Instead he opted for fluidity and fluttering parachute silk, with soupcons of sex offered with well-placed slits, asymmetrical necklines, and sheer chiffon. Earthen tones like olive green, tobacco, beige, and terracotta mixed with jeweled red, fuchsia, plum, cobalt blue, and citron yellow to create a harmonious collection overflowing with femininity. Ruching, pleating, and bejeweled bodices only added to the show’s allure. The cherry on top: a final walk that included ebony models Jeneil Williams, Joan Smalls, Jourdan Dunn, Ataui Deng, and Melodie Monrose wearing printed silk jumpsuits topped off with studded sandals.
Which show was your favorite?
Picture Source: Vogue.it.