My French Life™ LIVE blog: Paris Fashion Week
Welcome to your continuous feast of all things Paris Fashion Week… Do you have anything you’d like to share – pictures, comments or information? Comment in the box below, or tweet us: @maviefrancaise @dukeofhannah #pfw.2.48pm, Friday 4 October
Following in the Hermès tradition of effortless chic, their latest collection was Jane (of Tarzan fame) meets Greta Garbo, and somewhere in between.
After floating away with Vionnet, I dived head first into the cute, cartoonish collection from Miu Miu. I credit the AW11 Miu Miu collection as the moment I truly fell in love with fashion and designers. So, every season it’s a hard one to top.
I still appreciated Miuccia Prada’s quirky offerings – not for everyone, but memorable nonetheless. One thing I am confused about is how weather-appropriate these designs are for summer…?
Post-Marc, I was delighted to calmly melt away into Tudor England with Valentino. I have been hugely enamoured with their last few offerings – particularly their stunning cabinet of curiosities haute couture collection.
This time, Valentino spent some time with Henry VIII’s wives, a few monks and gypsies. The results were ethereal. If you can’t tell, I’m in love.
There’s crazy, then there’s Alexander McQueen crazy. And apparently, now there’s Louis Vuitton crazy.
In what turned out to be Marc Jacob’s last collection for this revered French fashion house, it was all black opulent glamour. He sure knows how to avoid the quiet exit…
Hedi Slimane’s debut collection for the newly-named house of Saint Laurent is a hard one to top. And unfortunately he didn’t quite manage to, for me.
There were ‘cool’ streaks in this array of hip, grungy, young garments, but no ‘wow’ moments. On the plus side, le smoking made a comeback, and it’s sexier than ever.
Karl Lagerfeld, you fantastic beast. We never know where you’ll go next.
His collections seem to begin so far left of field you don’t know where they came from. Then slowly but surely, he works his way back into familiar territory, and suddenly it’s there – Chanel – and you don’t know how it happened.
Lagerfeld also makes some of the largest collections, so I’d recommend you scroll through this one in its entirety. But here are some of my highlights…
Though it wasn’t my favourite Dior collection, Raf Simons provided enough breathtaking moments to last me for a while… With his signature sleek and shiny finishes mixed with classic Dior silhouettes and some bold graphic prints, this was Simons all over.
Lurex is apparently back, in a big way… according to Sonia Rykiel at least. It was all 70s glamour for this raven-haired designer, and the results were sexy, slinky and nostalgic. From fabulous furs to blurred bold prints that looked like they belonged in the very first colour TV set, it was the world’s most stylish disco revival.
I was very glad that Giambattista Valli chose to leave the butterfly face veils at home this year. I often find myself severely irked by designers who make stunning clothing, and then choose to draw all eyes from the garments to the other fantastical creations placed elsewhere on the model. Just let beauty be beautiful, I say – there’s no need to add an ‘edge’ to every collection.
There was a lot to love about this collection. It was refined, elegant, and most importantly: wearable.
Stella McCartney was a stylish explosion of Gatsby-meets-pretty – less pearls and diamonds; more lace. McCartney has a knack for taking something classic and giving it the most subtle modern twist – something I always love about her designs. In short, I wanted to take home everything from this collection.
As expected, Chloé was beautiful. This fashion house manages to make boho look so chic it’s as if it never went out of style.
This time last year, I was completely taken by Veronique Leroy’s collection. At first glance I was underwhelmed by her collection this year… but then I took another look, and some of the subtle beauty of her clothing snuck up on me. That’s what I loved about her last time – but it seems she’s more masterfully hidden her talents this time. And I love it – it’s coy but a bit sassy.
There’s something charmingly disarming about Kenzo. Ever since they launched in the 80s, the fashion house has been known for breaking new ground and injecting life into fashion. You still see that in their collections today.
While they never overwhelm me with fashion lust, they always make me smile. Kenzo make items you could actually see yourself wearing – not perhaps in combination, as they’re styled, but thrown into an outfit here and there: a bomber jacket, dress, shirt…
Could you wear Kenzo?
I would never wear it, but gosh you have to love how bizarre Commes Des Garçons can get. Been suffering sleepless nights wondering what it would be like to wear a large black pumpkin? Or whether your 2-man-tent could become a dress? Wonder no longer…
As I’m play catch up on collections, I’ll be brief about Lanvin: chic, shiny and out of this world. At certain points, the metallic magic got a bit out of control, but for the most part it was fantastic.
Vivienne Westwood is a designer whom I can often take or leave. This season I took her up with enthusiasm. Her sumptuous fairytale world transformed seamlessly into a sweltering suburban summer, into a rodeo, then to 30s Germany, Rio, Vietnam and dark Greek mythology.
Westwood has a knack for making art, or literature, of her clothing; all open to interpretation: the motifs you see will be different for everyone else. What did you see in her collection?
11.43am, Monday 30 September
Luckily, feeling underwhelmed during Fashion Week is a rare occurrence. I could take or leave the 80s revival at Roland Mouret and Yohji Yamamoto isn’t really my scene. I was non-plussed by Viktor & Rolf, Haider Ackerman and Acne, and though I’ve been a fan of Maison Martin Margiela in the past, this collection didn’t inpsire.
As you might already know, I’m not such a huge Gaultier or Galliano-lover either, but this season there was a lot to love.
I enjoyed the theatrics of Jean-Paul Gaultier: celebrity lookalikes walked with real-life A-listers; the clothing was all friperie minus an excess of gauche; and it just looked like the best party ever.
As for John, there were some truly beautiful items woven throughout the wildness of his retro-meets-future collection.
The most out-there show so far? Definitely Rick Owens. Anders Christian Madsen sums it up better than I:
“Stage scaffolding straight out of Rent towered over the runway in the blacked-out sports hall and scratching amplifier sounds slowly turned into a beat as members of American college step teams emerged on the staircases.
If they were mimicking the hand-to-shoulder military move of Michael Jackson’s choreography for They Don’t Care About Us it perhaps wasn’t unintentional, because the raw emotion, rage, and empowerment eventually conveyed through the formidable spectacle put on wouldn’t have looked wrong in a mid-nineties MJ video.”
Alas, non-functioning wi-fi has kept me away from PFW more than I would have liked this weekend.
Meanwhile in Paris, My French Life™ fondatrice Judy is being stalked by Vogue Creative Director Grace Coddington. And possibly Fashion Editor and stylist extraordinaire Tonne Goodman (yet to be confirmed).
Back in Melbourne, I am hyperventilating at my computer at the very thought of being near my idol Grace. What would you say if you ran into your fashion deity?French Links Tours, shared her sneak peek of the Azzedine Alaia retrospective at the Musée de l’Art Moderne…
Sublime, sublime, sublime! That should be the single word to describe the great haute couture of Azzedine Alaia, the Tunisian-born designer who is capping at 50-year career at the newly reopened Galliéra Fashion Museum of the City of Paris. If you love clothes and sculpture, you will understand why Alaia had the supreme honor of also showing in the Matisse gallery at the Musée de l’Art Moderne in Paris.
A true democrat the vernissage on opening night attracting the world’s leading fashion editors and bloggers—I spotted André Leon Talley and Tommy Ton—as well as design students from all over the world. Bravo, bravo Monsieur Alaia! Your work says it all!
5.22pm, Friday 27 September
We’re just loving the street style pics being posted on Mary Kay’s Facebook page! Check them out on ‘Out and About in Paris‘.
If you’d like to catch your own glimpse of the action, have a look at our ultimate insiders guide to Paris Fashion Week!
What’s been your favourite show so far?
5.11pm, Friday 27 September
Despite some topless FEMEN protestors, Nina Ricci was all grace, demureness and class. Fondatrice Judy MacMahon overhead the post-runway crowd remarking that it was the first défilé they’d seen in a while featuring ‘pretty’ models – that is, girls who were just allowed to look natural, and nice.
I’d definitely recommend taking time to daydream over the full collection here.
5.02pm, Friday 27 September
Balmain is one the most instantly recognisable fashion houses, save except perhaps for Chanel. Their latest collection was of course no exception featuring the classic Balmain silhouette – a bit like the lamp in ‘I Dream of Genie’ (not my best analogy).
I’m not always a huge fan of Balmain – it’s not particularly ‘me’. But from time to time I can admire an item or two. This collection was particularly striking: feminine with an edge, classic but still packing a punch.
Ann Demeulemeester is another designer with a fantastic name – but one I hadn’t heard before. Following in the hallowed tradition of putting weird things on the feet, faces and heads of models Demeulemeester opted for giant floppy hat-like creations.
This Belgian designer was part of the ‘Belgian boom’ (author’s self-coined term) in the 80s, and has allegedly been offered a place at helm of many big-name fashion houses. She turns all of them down, however, preferring to maintain independence financially and creatively.
Her SS14 collection in Paris was a cacophony of baroque-inspired prints, sheer and stripes, plus monochrome with bursts of red.
I have enjoyed quite a few collections by Carven in the past. Their SS14 offerings, however, didn’t excite me as much.
There were a few standout pieces throughout, but that feeling of being overwhelmed by beauty in an excellently-curated collection was absent. And I just love that feeling. Beyond these two dresses, there wasn’t much I was hooked on.
I’ll say little about Balenciaga other than it was very Alexander Wang. Classic and chic – très Parisienne, with a modern twist.
Something I always admire about minimalist designers is their ability to turn simplicity into something stunningly beautiful. A fashion designer I once met told me that simplicity was actually much harder to master than over-the-top. Looking at some of Wang’s designs for Balenciaga, I think I’ve found the perfect example of what she meant…
Et maintenant: Rochas. With a show held at the Trocadero, and a long track record of fantasmagloria, Rochas was sure to be mindboggling meets classic. A hard dichotomy to pull of, je sais.
If Tim Burton made a movie about zombies at the races, this would be it. Ignore the models’ creepy dead person maquillage, and the bizarre feathery shoes, and you’ll find the clothes are quite exquisite.
12.56pm, Thursday 26 September
Next up: Dries Van Noten. Against a grungy minimalist backdrop, to the tunes of Radiohead’s bassist, Dries Van Noten’s collection was far from simple. Guests were able to get très up-close-and-personal with the models, who stood against gold backdrops looking aloof.
Take away the predictable theatrics, and this is a fantastic collection. I’d encourage you to check it out in its entirety.
No, I hadn’t heard of him either. Turns out he’s quite a globetrotter, though perhaps not by choice. He was born in Virovitica, Croatia, a town hugging the Croatian-Hungarian border, with a population just shy of 15 000 people. He spent most of his formative years in Bavaria, beside the Chiemsee – a freshwater lake spanning between Rosenheim in Germany, and Salzburg, Austria. His mother owns a clothing atelier there.
He studied fashion in Munich and Berlin, worked with Raf Simons (now creative director at Dior) in Antwerp, before launching his eponymous label in 2006.
Though I hadn’t heard of him, he allegedly has a strong celebrity following, and has been described as everything from one of the most important German fashion exports to the new Armani. (Thank you, Wikipedia)
But enough about Damir’s exciting life, let me introduce you to an inviting snippet of his collection…Images via ShowStudio Image credits:
1. Instagram by @CATMINTHE, 16:31 WED 25 SEP 2013 #paillettes and #pastels at #Rochas. via ShowStudio.
2. Instagram by @STYLEDOTCOMNICOLE, 10:43 WED 25 SEP 2013 “Damir Doma does orange. #pfw” via ShowStudio.