The first part of my Haute Couture Spring 2009 round up.
For Chanel’s outstanding Spring Haute Couture collection, Monsieur Lagerfeld was inspired by plain white paper. This new less-is-more approach is a marked departure from the more-is-more approach for his ostentatiously bling Russian-inspired satellite show in December. A much welcome change, and more suitable for current economic climates: subtle-luxe rather than super-luxe. Even the set design reflected this change, gone are the mega-installations, replaced with columns covered in flowers, 6,700 assorted species to be exact.
Daywear consisted of impeccably clean lines and tailored structure. Strong shoulders, cropped jackets with fabulous necklines, crisp a-line skirts and the odd shiny black trim. Eveningwear consisted of a delicate mixture of beautiful ethereal dresses and sharper dresses with the same clean lines seen in the daywear looks.
White can be boring and plain, but not in the hands of Karl Lagerfeld, who used little details of genius to create an incredibly polished collection. To borrow a line from one of my friends, who occasionally writes for avntgrdemag.com, ‘the devil is in the detail’. Crisp white with the odd shiny black trim, wisps of chiffon and lace, shimmering beads, paillettes and sequins…the devil sure was in the detail. Every piece has that covetability factor, and if possible, I’m more in awe of Lagerfeld’s genius than ever.
Martin Margiela Artisanal
Also influenced by the recession but in a very different way, long-time recycling advocate Martin Margiela produced a very whimsical and quirky collection for his Artisanal line. Constructed from materials such as paper towels, shredded denim and shoelaces, it had a surprising appeal. My favourite pieces are the white shoelace dress, black plasticy puffy bolero and the shredded denim one-legged jumpsuit.
Christian Lacroix, by contrast, didn’t seem bothered about economic times at all. He created a collection of gasp-worthy pieces as usual. The show, entitled ‘The designs of her Nature’ included notes on the mood for various pieces – caught, wavering, elated, poised. I think that this insight was necessary, the extravagant designs were typical Lacriox fashion, but for the collection as a whole there didn’t seem to be a coherent concept connecting the collection (gosh, try repeating that quickly!). I think it is important to have a connecting concept, otherwise its just a bunch of clothes as opposed to a collection.
Saying that, I did like what I saw – structural, ornate, patterned, paradise brights with plenty corsages and blooms, it was graphic yet romantic. Daywear was very strong, with almost Russian-esque military jackets with gold detailing, flouncy chiffon detailing and mannish trouser shapes. For eveningwear, Lacroix stuck to what he does best: stunning dresses. A white swan-like dress with a flower embroidered jacket was one of my favourites, along with a structured heavily embroidered bodice partnered with a smudged watercolour pouffy skirt. A special mention to the outstanding legwear, the tights were absolutely fantastic.
Having read a great article on Riccardo Tisci (whom I now have a great respect for) in Vogue’s February issue, I was greatly anticipating his couture collection for Givenchy. WWD compared his collection those of Chanel and Dior and were fairly critical, stating ‘[He is] a good designer who has yet to fully deliver on his early promise’ and ‘it’s a different kind of couture than that which sets the standard’. Yes, his collection was not as strong as those created by Karl Lagerfeld and John Galliano, but they are masters of couture and it’s terribly unfair to compare anyone to them, in my opinion.
I think it was a soft and feminine collection – Seductive nude palette, contrasting sheer and fabric panels, sleek tailoring round shoulders, beautiful draping. Day and eveningwear were equally stunning; with suits toned down with willowy, elegant curves and beautifully languid draped evening gowns with sheer details. That said, he did not lose the sexy edge he’s known for, and even managed to incorporate bondage elements to his pretty dresses.
* Source WWD