Sunday, October 5, 2008

Beauty and the Beastly

The Paris Spring collections were far more interesting than what went down here last month. That is so often the case, though I don't really know why. It appears that the Americans are stuck in the morass of our times and the torpor of a stagnant puddle we've found ourselves in. That isn't to say that we didn't have some very beautiful and compelling collections to move us forward, but that there was a dearth of mediocrity than filled the runways.

Paris on the other hand had many collections that were full of ideas,both arresting and less so. There were a few that were downright off, but there are Waterloos to every collection no matter the locale. John Galliano's namesake collection was really the definition of sublime. Color, a lightness of hand,feminine and sexy . He was so free and joyous in his presentation. You couldn't help but feel lifted and hopeful just looking at what appeared to be a magical garden come to life on women who looked like they too were hovering somewhere between ground and sky. I was really moved, and that's a new one for me. Galliano in the past has felt forced and heavy handed in his fantasy. This time it was a dream made real. Dior is fantastic in his hands. An atelier capable of producing whatever he can conjure, but this collection seem to come from another place, from other hands more gentle and tender in their execution. It was a WOW moment.

Alexander McQueen also put out an incredible collection that left so many swooning. His brand of chic, of femininity is an acquired taste , but one that is undeniable in it's sheer force. I liked the technique, the thematic line that ran through the collection. It was a tour de force group of emphatic pieces in color color color. The rigor in the construction is a testament to his aesthetic which never wavers. I'm more of a romantic, so as much as I was blown away by. the whole picture, it was a little strong for my senses.....more of a bombastic Grappa where I would have preferred a more subtle champagne.

Chanel was just that, Chanel. The sets are beginning to compete with the collection. In this case I think the set got a 6.0 with the collection coming in with a very respectable 5.85. Lagerfeld is a master, the most prolific designer on the planet, but Chanel is like an orchestra of 140 instruments. They play the major works with confidence and virtuosity, but one longs for the subtlety of his treatment of Fendi. That is like a chamber ensemble of the most exquisite tone.
It was an intimate, and complex suite of clothes that charted new ground. Modern, harmonious and yet a totally original feeling. The artistry of that collection is still ringing in my ears long after the performance ended. I do believe the audience is still applauding.

YSL was memorable, chic and just right,as was Chloe . I don't see the big deal over Phoebe Philo having moved on and Ms. McGibbon taking the reins. Stella McCartney was dull and I think Phoebe is just maybe a little less so.

Valentino was disappointing, and I'd hoped the Fall couture would have given Alessandra Facchinetti a boost of confidence to really move the collection forward. Well for her efforts which were less than what a house of that magnitude demands , ended up on the chopping block. Another one bites the dust. This trend of barely chewing before spitting designers out by the powers that be has got to stop. It's unfair, unwise and unseemly. What ever happened to loyalty, support and nurturing? Silly question to ask the deaf, dumb and blind.It appears that the crux of the problem was an organizational one, or a lack of an ability on Alessandra's part to make the team work together and get the job done. That is a very interesting dilemma. It's very hard to bring so many layers and levels of workers within a couture house to work as one . Perhaps there was dissention in the ranks,egos wanting to flex muscles ,positions of power desired but not awarded. Whatever the case, she was summarily dismissed and found out as so many do by reading her obit in the paper. According to her, the people at the top have still not seen it necessary to speak with her or explain. What really puzzles me is even though it wasn't a stellar collection, there were some really seriously beautiful dresses and gowns . They felt like a development in the Valentino aesthetic. I'd go so far as to say they were young, fresh and very much hers. Not an archival exhumation. This habit of replaying the oldies is not a smart or interesting move on the part of new designers in old houses, but it seems to be what the bosses want. Confounding. Oh well,Ciao,Bella! NEXT!

There's so much more to talk about like Annie Oakley moment best discussed on a full stomach and after a good nights rest. The same can be said for Lanvin and Vuitton.One needs to consider the contributions of Rick Owens and the new kid, Gareth Pugh, but they both for different reasons were instantly forgettable. Wunderkinds like Pugh always give me pause. A bit like fresh meat in a worn out brothel.I know that is considered very uncool of me to be so dismissive, but UNCOOL is exactly what they are.

So we'll get back to this in a moment or two. Time for a comb out, then a quick cat nap.

Au Revoir!

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