Elsewhere in couture: Classicism with many twists
Three Paris-based couturiers - Olivier Theyskens at Azzaro, Stéphane Rolland and Alexandre Vauthier - reminded how much life there is in the métier with three inventive shows and videos which were all about classicism, with many twists.
Azzaro Couture - Funky futurism
Few designers love their fabrics as much as Olivier Theyskens, whose latest collection for Azzaro was a tour de force of fabric research, as much as a kicky interpretation of the codes of this house.
No show, but a great video shot on the outskirts of Paris on the city’s biggest rooftop garden, with scores of holed columns created to grow tomatoes, that were also an ideal backdrop for this collection.
Very much a co-ed experience, where Theyskens dressed both sexes in metal sequined suits, silver for the gals, copper for the guys, all marching in spiky boots.
The Industrial soundtrack ideal for the liquid metallic tunics, and sequined barely-there columns with halter necks.
Somewhat surprisingly, the most advanced materials were for guys. A pearly man suit, so densely packed with mini-seashell shapes, they looked plucked from the Wild Atlantic Way. And, best of all, a chalkstripe, where the stripe was three-dimensional, and turned out to be made thousands of broken metal studs, oblongs and squiggles.
“It’s curious, but it’s almost easier to find break-through fabrics for men than women,” said Theyskens, who has injected badly needed momentum into this marque.
His is a dark vision of the brand – industrial rocker rather than Regines, but all the better for that.
Stéphane Rolland - Classic couture with a gestural twist
Stéphane Rolland makes haute couture with a capital 'H' and 'C'. He loves a grand look, and a glamorous moment, and even if suitable soirées are few and far between these days, Stéphane longs for their return.
His is a gestural style, based on a sweeping pen with which he realizes his sketches, which are then turned into fashion dreams in opulent materials.
Rolland loves gowns that look made of liquid gold, composed on densely woven metal threads; the whitest of white wools; and largely sheer chiffon in plum and taiga green. He has a pure style, so that each look is quintessentially Parisian. If a woman wears his clothes in Dubai, Doha, Detroit or Deauville you know they are dressed in French couture.
His caftans billow; his coat-dresses grant class; and his see-through chiffon jumpsuits get the heart racing.
Fortunately, Rolland injects his own spin with great clasps, amulets and bracelets made in giant amethyst and crystal, granting its own special signature.
“Sensuality, pure attitude, structured and an image of a woman as if a page has been turned. I am fed up seeing too much eccentricity, impurity and vulgarity. I find that tacky!” insisted Rolland, who in a gentlemanly gesture via a pre-show address paid homage to the late great Thierry Mugler, who left this earth on Sunday night.
Alexandre Vauthier - Haute rock couture
Once there was a dress code; now there is a mask code.
“La noir est obligatoire au défilé,” explained the security staff at the latest Alexandre Vauthier show, as he insisted all guests wear a black mask provided by the designer.
But, if the mouthpiece was uniform, this spring/summer collection was anything but. Alexandre may not be a revolutionary couturier, but he is surely an experimental one. His sense of hyped-up proportion in a brilliant steely gray felt wool pant suit was perfect; as was his power dressing double-breasted suit with micro mini-skirt. Which felt like a tiny homage to Mugler in this show, staged in a freezing disused factory at the southern ring road of Paris.
Though the key color on this collection was sinful red, seen in a high-octane sequined suits paired with asymmetrical minis; flouncy ruffled, saucy contessa cocktails and a great red velvet pants suit with power shoulders, worn by a red-haired and pouty lipped beauty.
Add in some bias cut; Grammy-winning rock star dresses; emerald green bandage dresses with side-slits revealing plenty of flesh and silver-screen goddess columns with pink ruffled chiffon trim. The result: haute-gamme-rock couture, with a Parisian twist.
All earning Vauthier sustained applause, especially from the ex-CEO of L’Oréal, Jean-Paul Agon and his wife Sophie, a keen client of Alexandre. Begging the question, seeing as Vauthier does not yet have a scent – is a Parfum de Vauthier in the pipeline?
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