Valentino

July 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Fashion News

As couturiers, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli found the idea of the wunderkammer particularly appealing. “In a cabinet of curiosities, the pieces are very unique, very one-of-a-kind,” Piccioli said. “We’ve tried to make something that is not only special, but also surprising, unexpected.”

The first surprise of their enchanting Valentino show tonight came on the macro level: The designers, not unlike others this season, put an emphasis on daywear. Couture is not only for ceremonies, they insisted. But wearing a herringbone coat collaged with double-face cashmere etched with lions’ heads could turn even going out to the curb and hailing a taxi into a major event. Their cashmere sheaths with curving seams down the front to accentuate an hourglass shape were the least ostentatious and yet the most luxurious dresses of the week. Leonardo da Vinci’s quote “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” was front and center on their mood board. The restraint of those dresses could expand the boundaries of the way we think about couture.

Still, most clients want obvious bang for their buck. That’s where the micro-level pleasures of the designers’ wunderkammer came in. Take, for instance, the scrolls of cashmere caught between a layer of lace and another layer of net on a pencil skirt and matching coat. Or a long-sleeved black dress constructed from laser-cut black astrakhan embroidered with crystals that took five hundred hours to make. Or another coat that looked like silk Ottoman brocade but was actually handwoven from the thinnest strips of raffia. Or the pièce de résistance, a gown and the train that fell from its shoulders stitched with 2,200 river pearls and gold thread.

There were other sublime moments: a long, narrow skirt in a mosaic of feathers, a tapestry coat embroidered with a dragon on its back. Chiuri and Piccioli established a sort of call and response between pieces such as those and others with an almost monastic undercurrent—see the brown velvet, lantern-sleeve, above-the-ankle dress. It’s the Valentino designers’ mastery of both extravagance and understatement that’s the real wonder.
—Nicole Phelps
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Vionnet

July 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Goga Ashkenazi has been at the helm of Vionnet since the middle of last year. She had no formal design training before she presented her first ready-to-wear collection for Spring 2013. But lack of experience has done nothing to dampen her ambition.

Maybe she’s feeling emboldened by the red-carpet coup she landed at Cannes; Carey Mulligan wore the black and white finale number from the Fall Vionnet collection to the Inside Llewyn Davis premiere. Today, Ashkenazi presented what she’s calling a new demi-couture collection for the label. “We figured out how to make the dresses more affordable but use the same couture techniques,” she said. Through eliminating “the endless fittings” and selling by size with a single fitting at the end, Goga and co. have shaved one of the zeros off the end of current couture prices; the pieces will go from $ 10,000 to $ 30,000, rather than the hundreds of thousands of dollars that true made-to-measure creations can sell for at other houses.

That’s good news for customers, but there was a wrinkle with the new launch. A shipping snafu forced the team to remake ten of the eleven dresses in the collection in forty-eight hours. (The presentation was originally scheduled for yesterday.) Four other designs couldn’t be produced in the short time period because they weren’t able to source the fabrics. The fact that Ashkenazi made it happen at all is further testament to her ambition, and deep pockets.

With the exception of a lace bodysuit embellished with dripped resin that looked remarkably like encrustations of tiny seed beads, these were event dresses. From understated to less so: a red plissé gown with black tube beads embroidered at the waist and in piles at the shoulders, a green hourglass column with a built-in cape and feathers stitched into the shape of a dragon on the bodice, and a tent dress with sheer gazar insets and matte sequin embroideries meant to mimic the spines on a dragon’s back. A bit much, that one. The best of the bunch came in nude silk and a draped emerald green laminated matte satin with a papery hand. Its skirt was in dégradé plissé, but it nonetheless caught some of the cool minimalism of Mulligan’s Cannes number.
—Nicole Phelps
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Viktor & Rolf

July 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Fashion News

It’s been thirteen years since Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren were on the Couture calendar. They staged their comeback tonight in honor of their label’s twentieth anniversary—”there’s no better way to celebrate,” Rolf said, adding that it was also an effort to “divide our wearable side and our conceptual side.”

High concept it was. The show was set in a mock Japanese garden, with painted raked sand and a few outcroppings of foam rocks. To start, Horsting and Snoeren walked out, sat down back-to-back, closed their eyes, and proceeded to meditate for a good five minutes. Coming as this did at the end of a week of Paris menswear and Couture shows, one photographer in the pit couldn’t resist providing a soundtrack of “ohm”s. Their meditation over, the designers took their places on either side of the stage and the models began appearing.

All twenty wore the same black fabric, a technical silk that had the spongy look of neoprene, and flat ropy sandals. The first look out, a shirtdress, had strange, deflated volumes above the knees in front and below them in back. Having made her circuit, the model sat down and Snoeren pulled the hem of her dress down over her ankles. He had turned her into a rock. The process repeated nineteen times. One particularly sculptural dress was big enough to cover a model’s entire supine form (its black fringe was meant to resemble grass); another tent dress cloaked not only the kneeling model wearing it but also the girl who was curled up in a fetal position next to her. After the last model was transformed and before the curtain fell, Horsting and Snoeren gave each other a bow.

Instant Zen garden. When asked about the project’s genesis, Viktor said, “We’ve been running around for so long, we thought, let’s enjoy where we are. Our current state of mind is mindfulness.” The thoughtful, clever show was a credit to meditation, a brainy chaser after a week of chiffon and crystals. The best part: Conceptual didn’t come at the cost of wearable. There were some great coats and dresses here; we liked look 9 in particular. The word backstage was that half of the collection has already been snapped up by a collector.
—Nicole Phelps
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Zuhair Murad

July 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Our review will be posted shortly. See the complete collection by clicking the image at left.
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Viktor & Rolf

July 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Our review will be posted shortly. See the complete collection by clicking the image at left.
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Andrew Gn

July 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Our review will be posted shortly. See the complete collection by clicking the image at left.
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