DIOR HAUTE COUTURE BY RAF SIMONS

 

PARIS – as the new christian dior debuted today, fashion has seemingly become elevated into a now global discussion with the recent evidence being visible on twitter. among the most talked about incidences in recent history, raf simons is now at the helm of the house of christian dior & made his debut on the runways of paris for the FW12 couture season. soundtracked by a contemporary, electronic runway sound- the show was live streamed at christian dior’s website as we seen fashion journalist tim blanks, editor-in-chief at vogue italia, franca sozzani, givenchy’s ricardo tisci & W magazine’s own, stefano tonchi & edward enninful sitting front row. it was as if everyone in fashion had been holding their breath. there has been so much speculation during the last year about whether or not this was even a reality. yes, that reality saw the light of day today. the dramatic floral walls were completely extravagant & brought about the energy that this show would be the one to beat. but the clothes seemed to fly just under our expectations. the first few looks were suits- wait. what? let’s get this out of the way first & foremost, i am a minimalist. that is the direction in which i choose to define my own personal style. this collection was minimal. this collection is minimal. the art of haute couture- not often associated with minimalism. i think we, as a grouping of fashion spectators have become desensitized by the imaginative theatricality of john galliano. as W magazine’s edward enninful made public his thoughts of dior’s previous director he spoke, “thinking of john gallinao today, talk about setting the bar high”. with that energy being cast into the air, one couldn’t help but admit that the golden age of christian dior is, tragically, over. i won’t sit in disappointment thinking that there can’t be another great era for the label, but in seeing this collection, the level of design which is being produced pales in comparison to the work of galliano.

that said, there seems to be a goal to re-establish what & who this dior woman is, in our modern times. some of the collections pieces contained extravagant beading which is often associated with the art of couture craftsmanship but still, the clothes are boring. the floral walls & new age soundtrack are beautiful but what does all that matter if we come away dissatisfied with the clothes? and these are not just clothes, but couture. that is exactly what raf showed here today- clothes. this was most certainly not couture. from vision to cohesion, or lack there of- much of this collection was wrong, not up to par & is far too simple to properly introduce this new era of christian dior which we have all been waiting for. most of us are thinking, “this is how you replace galliano?” – looking at how subtle these clothes are, i get it- the house of christian dior has been built on soft, feminine sophistication but in the same regard, john galliano elevated the house of christian dior to violent elegance & explosive glamour- it was a show you came to see when you were at christian dior during couture season. seemingly, everything that the label & what we’ve come to define as dior under the direction of galliano has been stripped to practically nothing. even in casting, where are our ‘it’ girls? where are our dior faces? there was no karlie kloss, where is joan smalls? where is dior? the dior we know & love has seemingly been reduced to minimalism & couture accents rather than full on haute-make-you-grab-your-fucking-chest-and-gasp-for-air-couture.

while i am excited to see what raf will do with the collections he directs at dior, i do have to wonder as well; is he a fitting replacement? sure he can create clothes & beautifully so, but was galliano ousted as an artist because he was not easily controlled & raf can be easily manipulated? this collection brings us to the conversation about fashion & how it is controlled by money, dicated by corporations & ruled by consumer demands. fashion should be ruled by creativity, under the direction of artists & frankly, if fashion were being judged in that capacity, this collection would be nothing of value. im not saying that the collection is bad, in fact it’s good- but maybe that’s the problem. with a house like christian dior & all the glamour of the house legacy- we don’t want good, we want fucking great. that is not what was delivered here & i don’t give a fuck who is in the front row- where is the glamour? there was no allure, there was no theatricality, no spark & no sense of excitement in the collection that made you say to yourself, “this. is. fashion.” – of the 54 looks that were presented, you were left wanting more & not in a ‘this is too good’ type of hunger but a longing the sense of, that it? i would rather have had 10 amazing looks that can live up to the dior couture standard, rather than seeing 54 watered down gowns with no embellishment, no show stopping elements. when thinking of other collections that will be presented this couture season, hell- even considering how intricate the FW12 ready-to-wear collection by the house of balmain was & then you look at this collection of almost nothingness, you wonder- where is the house going? what direction are they taking? im all for simplifications but i understand the demands for drama, the thirst for theatricality & the calling out for true couture. we’re looking for couture that fucks with our brains & makes us ask ourselves- “how does beauty this intense even exist?” – we did not find that here & im fearful of when we will, ever again with the house of christian dior.

FALL COUTURE COLLECTIONS: VERSACE


PARIS – bum rushing the fashion calendar by overlapping the closing collections of men’s fashion week in paris, the house of versace hit the haute couture runways, boldly, making this their second season in their return to couture. strong, glamourous & fearless is the versace woman who is represented by the collections produced by the italian fashion house each season. as last couture season focused on use of hardware & the concept of warrior women, similar elements of strength were reflected in this collection. while the palette was reminiscent of a rainbow, the atelier versace couture team really allowed a greater focus to be emphasized in the beading of the collection. there was an expansion of corsetry in this collection, a modernized take of course. bodices became cages & floral elements were reinterpreted through perforated textiles & sheer gowns. all too familiar for donatella versace was the fact that the couture show was held at the ritz, where her brother gianni versace used to show his couture collections eight years ago.

in true versace fashion, the front row was filled with hollywood starlets & musical personalities- if you didn’t know, celebrity filled show seating arrangements began with  the house of versace. overall, the couture collection was truly a representation of what the versace woman is- bright, bold & ultra-glamourous. while i admire some of the concepts, there was definitely a misrepresentation of luxury in contrast to some other couture collections. understandably so, i appreciate that the house of versace was built on high glamour & exaggerated forms of beauty, but some choice in textiles were not as refined as one would have hoped. yet & still, the collection is another solid set of looks that exist in the true DNA of the versace legacy. donatella has done an incredible job representing what the versace woman is, as a true posterchild for that image. as i did last season, i wanted to include high quality images so you can understand the level of craftsmanship that is put into a couture collection. stay inspired.

SPRING MENSWEAR: LANVIN

PARIS – as my final collection review for the summer/spring 2013 menswear season, lanvin surprised me with their latest. i admire the work of alber elbaz & loved what he & menswear director lucas ossendrijver created for the spring. there is a certain continuity that is represented from collection to collection whether menswear or womenswear at lanvin. elbaz has ushered in a new era for the label & continues to build on that vision by including intelligent reinterpretations of styles we’re familiar with. this season, it was function. we’ve seen all the outdoorsy type collections- the zippers, the backpacks, the shades & shorts. it’s rugged, it’s manly & tough. this was the direction of the collection by lanvin this season, but there was a greater level of luxury throughout. i love the fluidity in silhouettes at lanvin- each look always has this casual but expensive energy. it’s the slight slouch of a top or the high hem of a short, it’s all in the details. what i loved was the formality of creating a functionally styled collection of menswear.

the collection started with a slew of formal looks- we seen the expected drama in the use of leather, beautiful suits that were exaggeratedly thin, skinny ties appeared anorexic & that dark energy that i have come to associate with lanvin was ever present. through exploration of volume, there was a clear indication that the concept of opposites was being represented in this collection. from slouch & high waisted pants to slick tailored styles- a range of fit for a range of consumers was created & presented. the magic of this menswear collection was in the coats & jackets- again, a range of fits were presented as the concept of sizing was stretched to a place of limitless style. python coats, nylon sheer jackers- it was formal, then functional but the resonance of style never once became ignored. metallic outerwear has been a mainstay on the runway this season & that trend was also a focus within the lanvin show. while i don’t particularly favor metallic outerwear, the build up to the metallic portion of the runway collection was executed thoughtfully. noted were the elements of sport or athleticism, but the collections aim was to reflect upon that design direction in a contemporary, much more luxurious way. overall, the collection was a fitting close to the menswear season as the right amount of drama & simplicity were combined to present a thrilling show that represents yet another dimension of male style. a strong collection for the spring. [source]

SPRING MENSWEAR: HERMÈS

PARIS – impeccably chic & meticulos was the hermès menswear collection of the summer/spring 2013 season. i was surprised to see the inclusion of neons but was ultimately pleased with the execution of handsome tailoring & beautifully clean styling. much like my love for the valentino menswear collection this season, i was intensely responsive to what was seen from hermès for the spring. menswear creative director, véronique nichanian did an outstanding job interpreting modern masculinity while allowing a casual feel, often associated with spring, to be felt. for menswear, as funny as it sounds, im much more attracted to collections that provide that energy of ‘boy’ rather than some of the more theatrical or experimental. im all for a good show but at the end of the day, i feel as though consumers want & more importantly need something of simplicity. of all the chaos in the world, clothes should not be. the color story in this collection is where the real drama was executed. nichanian knows exactly who the hermès customer is- chic.

the ways that the collection was styled were beautiful- the lime against the taupe-browns? very fucking fresh. those bouts of rich teal at the show opening & how they became amplified with the white sneakers- flawless. the reds, the soft neutrals- the white. every man should be looking at this collection with the mindset of, “this is how modern men are dressing”. there were no gimmicks, just handsome inspiration with proven style essentials within this collection. hosted were a few bags but overall, the collection was streamlined & cohesive, despite the fact that so many colors were presented throughout the collection. tremendously inspired, this was an expert set of masculine style that doesn’t overwhelm you, it’s unendingly cool which appeals to a younger consumer base but is refined enough to draw in the established clientele of the hermès brand. with all of the shake-ups that have happened in fashion, i love that hermès never seems disrupted. there is a self assured energy about the label that is so distinct. again, this collection & the valentino SS13 menswear collection are my favorites. while i liked others, no other appeal to my own personal taste & preference for style like this collection. it’s so simple & striking, beautifully done. [source]