Monday, February 1, 2010

Anne Valerie Hash Spring 2010 Couture Collection?

The Couture has become so personal and subjective that it barely resembles itself. With Lacroix's salon going under the auction block and perhaps his Couture archive next, nothing is sacred. This collection by Hashe is yet another clear example of the times that are forever changed. According to her program notes, she contacted people and designers she admires, asking for a garment she could incorporate or interpret into her collection. This in itself is a new way and an esoteric way to start. Lots of things from Alber Elbaz's jammies to Tilda Swinton's tank top and another designers veil, etc. went into the mix. What resulted was a modest 15 piece collection of clothes that did not suggest Haute Couture. They were a collection of items, pleasantly styled adding up to very little. You may think the images chosen are perfectly lovely, and I won't say I think otherwise. But, this was the best I could find worth illustrating this piece.

Had this been shown here during the collections they would most likely gotten a drubbing by the press, if they got any mention at all. I was more surprised than moved in any way by the paucity of ideas. This collection is what buyers would not expect on the runway, and be unimpressed with finding them hanging in the showroom. Perhaps that's an excessively harsh commentary but in this case the Emperor's Old Clothes somehow didn't have a chance to get made.


Ulla said...

I used to do her show back in the day and never quite understood how she got to be couture designer. Maybe I am a spoilt brat but I just never warmed to her collections due to fact that they have a slap-dash quality to them.
If it says "couture", I want COUTURE!

km said...

I totally agree. I've never understood why she gets press- from what I've read (and perhaps the underdeveloped nature of her shows would suggest this), she's more of a made to measure suits/evening wear designer who makes clothes for a cadre of devoted Parisian customers, and shows on the side.

Divalocity said...

Christian Lacroix is such a great designer who is definitely missed. I dug out a lot of my old European fashion magazines and conducted a few GOOGLE searches on past designers featured inside of them and what I found out was that several design houses were brought out by large conglomerates or are no longer in existence.

This collection looks like something some six graders had created. And to think they had the audacity to pan Estrella Archs' collection for UNGARO.

Anonymous said...

I was not impressed with her work at all. I screamed at my computer monitor when I first viewed the collection. This may sound mean, but I've seen more interesting things in a department store collections.

Anonymous said...

I've gotta come to her defense. She graduated from the grueling
Chambre Syndicale program and has designed for several houses --so she definitely knows couture. Also consider how expensive it is to do a show. Maybe this was a way to cut the expenses, at least for one season. She said that she was inspired by our culture having "too much" so this idea came to her. I applaud her for that. Her work has always been "askew". Her first collection was based on menswear rearranged onto a woman's body. I heard her speak about it and she said that the patterns were so difficult to follow she took chocolate candies to the sewers in Italy. It's also very difficult being a woman couturier in France. I respect her because of her background -- at least she had a fresh idea and the audacity to show it at this level!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon, it's one thing to respect Mme. Hash based on her background and another thing to respect her most recent Haute Couture collection, which I do not, by the way. There are strict set rules for what constitutes a couture show, and being a graduate of the Chambre Syndicale, I'm surprised that she seems to have skirted many of those requirements, or perhaps she asked for some leniency because of the economy. Maybe it is favoritism that allowed her to show during the Paris couture shows with what is agruably a weak collection. Or maybe the Chambre Syndicale has loosened their rules a bit, which I highly doubt because if this was the case we would have seen a ton of designers trying their hand at couture, most likely with varying degrees of failure. Are couture collections expensive to produce? Of course they are. It's haute couture! At least Lacroix didn't skimp out on his last show. His extravagant ways cost him his company, but I respect him for it, even if he had to beg for support and materials from his suppliers. He kept the the magic going for one last show. As for Mme. Hash, well, just look at the collection and you tell me what you see. As for the difficulties of being a female couturier....well, I think being a couturier in general is difficult if you do not have the backing of a cash rich conglomerate. There is difficulty for all designers of all ages, of all races, of all genders, all the time.

Anonymous said...

AVH gets much love because she's trying to survive in what's overwhelmingly become a man's world....high end women's clothes. That she's trying to do that is admirable, BUT many of her presentations are not. These two issues should be separated when critiquing her collections, IMHO. Just "being there" ain't enough, you gotta produce quality. Is she, I ask?

Much of her problem has to do w/ execution which is a workroom issue. The work seems rushed and poorly done. Getting workers of great skill and quality is expensive I'm sure, but even many home sewers can turn out garments sewn better. If nothing else, couture should be well constructed. Perhaps she needs to show smaller collections OT rethink her designs because her workrooms clearly can't handle the ideas/volume that she's trying to present.(There are design issues as well, but we're talking about her "slapdashness" for now.)When/if she ever fixes this problem it'll be easier to judge her work as couture, but until then one can wonder at how a collection labeled as couture can be so poorly turned out each season?


Unknown said...

There is a level of construction, finishing and quality expected from Couture that this line doesn't live up to, regardless of it's creator's education, knowledge and history, which wouldn't be so bad if perhaps it had be defined and marketed in a way that might have defined it so there were no expectations for it to uphold. Personally nothing moves me and I fear when we allow less than what historically has been considered couture (even the experiments :)! ) define couture to a generation that may not be as historically aware the nature of that beast changes. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing? Perhaps I am just too old fashioned?

cakeymakeybakey said...

You misunderstood the designer's intent with the collection; Hash has said that she never intended for the pieces to be sold, “This is an experiment I intend to continue in my couture collections. I am only a small house, with just 15 people working, and I cannot compete with the big houses like Chanel and Dior, so I decided to do something personal and very different.”

The springboard for this eclectic collection was the notion of transforming a selection of borrowed pieces from various fashion personalities into elegant evening wear. With this reinvention Hash hoped to simultaneously preserve the integrity of the original piece and the meaning it held for its owner while imagining another existence. Thus the theme of “Confidences” was born, as Anne Valérie was taken into the confidence of her collaborators and entrusted with the care and custody of their personal objects-with-stories.

“I asked numerous personalities to entrust me with a garment. A garment of their choice, a garment which represents them, or a garment which speaks about them. The initiative was particular and so the adventure began. Everything started with the word “transform”. We enjoyed understanding and reinventing the other one. When the striped pijamas from Alber Elbaz, the African bag of Léa Seydoux, Diane Pernet's black veil, Bettina Rheims's jerseydress and all the others arrived, question settings were numerous. We studied and dismantled every garment while keeping the spirit of the personality of its original owner. Who are Tilda, Delfina, Peter, Charlotte, Irina and the others? While trying to remain faithful to them, we imagined a second life for their clothes. Thanks to Couture, everything was possible. The imaginary remained free.”

So you see, in one sense you are correct -- the couture has indeed become personal and subjective. But a paucity of ideas? I must disagree with you there. This collection was rife with them. They just weren't meant to be found on the racks of Nordstrom's.