What happened? Where did all the momentum from the last 5 collections go? This concept car of a collection was rocketing to the stratosphere and then poof, the gears got jammed in neutral. Is it the Toyota effect? Did the collection move too fast and far, that it jumped the median and got creamed by an oncoming bus? Or did Tomas Maier just change his mind, and pull over onto the soft shoulder and decide to take a.....nap? Whatever he decided it was a disappointing direction he took this season filled with scenery that was both derivative and redundant.
These criticisms don't come easily from me. I'm the guy who would buy every single thing in his women's and men's collections in seasons past. There was a modernity, an abstract approach towards cut, color and detail that was so engaging and original, but more importantly to me, imminently wearable. I didn't see that this time. I saw repetition, a referencing of YSL, Lanvin and clothes that bore little relation to Maier's aesthetic. There was a hardness in the leathers that was not ironic. There was nothing soft about them, only a jaded quality that seemed foreign. His women didn't look world weary as much as they appeared tired.
Fashion that speaks to disillusionment is not out of context, but it's a sad commentary.
That said, I saw things in the collection that were still very beautiful. There were draped jersey dresses and all-in ones that looked great along with some very rich alpaca coats with very smart bags. His take on a suit or 2, though very Saint Laurent in feeling were handsome. One leather outfit near the beginning was hard but at the same time impossibly sexy. Sleek leather works for me in ways that slouchy leather doesn't. The slouch brings back memories of Claude Montana. The Queeny, messy Claude, not the brilliant one. A designer can't be expected to hit a home run every season, but one with Maier's experience doesn't often strike out.
The gowns at the end felt like repeats of last season without any effort to move them forward. The cocktail dresses looked like sugary sweet confections more in the lexicon of Lanvin. The pleated gauze dresses were much more interesting, but were inexplicably paired with awkward leather boleros that canceled out their softness.The red gown is just the look that will end up on the red carpet, but it's an also ran when you compare it to the black beauty shown next to it. When the cellophane chiffon gown turned up at the Golden Globes on Sandra Bullock I was concerned. That direction gave me paws. That was for me not Bottega Veneta,
There's always next season. Perhaps Tomas Maier's focus on his own eponymous collection has divided his focus and energy.
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