New season Fall Winter 2011-2012 what Paris showed us during 9 days of fashion week gave me certain feeling that I have already a desire not just to see it all - to wear it all. And I started from young new brands which are pops up in pret-a-porter Parisian market. I don't really like ethnic or animal look for myself – so I choose classic with some geometrical experiments of Bataclava group and Inesa Parfenii. All these looks are completely in a mood of new fall-winter collections.
So I'd consider 3 major looks for new season: “blink-blink” or ceramic geometrical, elegant classic look, and top glamorous “holly” chic draped in colorful fur. There were no more animal and street inspired looks. And I wondered why designers decided to avoid this “chilly hot” animal way of being in woman, or this funky “abandoned” underground look, so much serenaded by Jean Paul Gaultier in the past. I believe because Paris has a new call for a modern elegance, which has mix of different styles but brings up the most desirable in all women quality – irresistible attraction. And that as always we see in women in little black dress.
Let's have a “close up” for these tree looks I've just described. There were several designers this season who decided to go for geometrical look inspired by different avant-guarde painters. Where it's all started? I have a strong feeling that I've seen some pieces already during Haute Couture fashion week. For geometrical look this season I'd like to name collections of Celine, Barbara Bui, Leonard, Aganovich, Marcel Marongiu (Guy Laroche), Martine Sitbon (Rue du Mail), Issey Miyake, Amaya Arzuaga, Estella Archs, Steffie Christiaens, and of course Jean Charles Castelbajac. For some of them it was new step in designs or unusual touch in the modern look.
Celine made geometrical look based on 70th image of strong women. Phoebe Philo, the creative director of Celine, was inspired by cars, especially by the women driving cars. The collection had a minimalist feel designed in geometrical forms, with lots of very heavy fabrics with sharply delineated shapes. Working on essential and almost severe shapes, with thick and luxurious fabrics that make the most of volumes and cuts, eliminating decorations and focusing the collection on outerwear.
Barbara Bui like always surprises public with her uber-feminine look, which was unbelievable feminine by geometrical forms and lucky mix leather and fake fut. I don't like fake fur, always wear real because I feel that fake fur is wiping out all sensuality and elegance from my look, but not this time, not with Barbara Bui. I was completely in love with collared coats, segmented together with patent leather, mohair, and voluminous nylon paired with super skinny liquid leather leggings delivered a perfect ensemble for the confident woman.
New collection of Leonard – is new “flower power” love story inspired by Asian peonies, sensually wrapped in snakes and geometrical ornaments. Best known for his floral prints, Leonard took luxury to a new level this season by introducing a true sensuality that is slightly more graphic than romantic. This season Veronique Leroy, designer of Leonard, gave whole new character and attitude to printed flowers, mixed them with printed python's skin in geometrical forms, and brought up charismatic side of femininity.
The collection of Aganovich was like a glass of water, inspired by unusual geometrical lines and fantasy about sailing. Loved it! Nana Aganovich mixed simple silk “windblown” dresses with complicity of geometrical forms in mixed textures and blue colors. Sailors right now sexier then ever.
Marcel Marongiu decided to bring to life old fame of Guy Laroche - knitting patterns. He came up with geometrical “ceramic” look for new collection, which I guess is much more personal creations then others because in the past he was known by his special ceramic experiments. In new season Marcel showed contemporary off-shoulder red dresses, which in fact turns out to be a hit of the collection. Above-the-knee hemlines and high slits accompanied wide legged shorts, the black glossy leather cigarette pants, boxy wool and sheared fur overcoats – almost everything was wrapped in geometric prints.
Martine Sitbon (Rue du Mail) – created the most colorful geometric collection of the season. Fancy fur sleeves, red and black see-trough dresses with floral-geometrical ornaments – all the bright colors for next winter. Chic below the knee shifts dominated the collection in honeycomb knits in gray accented by fur stoles, black silk uplifted by leaf print laser cut outs, and sheer chiffon with touches of sequins in architectural patterns. Though largely reserved, each sophisticated piece offered a soupcon of sensuality. To whit: a sheer scarlet below the knee frock with raised seams, dotted with rosettes.
Dai Fujiwara designer of Issey Miyake gave us a live demonstration of his creative process for this collection. The show began with a live performance of the paper folding of life-size origami. Giving us the skeleton of the collection, these paper outfits served as the starting place for the rest – hymn of the geometry. Focusing on fabrics like houndstooth, other bold prints, and color blocking, Fujiwara created angular vests, drop waist skirts and bandeau tops. The most great geometrical collection of the season.
New collection of Amaya Arzuaga was unique, skeleton-like structured. Girls were look like sexy little “dinosaurs” in red and blue. Arzuaga took inspiration from “osseus structures, wavy pleated figures, butterfly volumes and ovoid and elliptical profiles.” She formed it into body conscious mini dresses, and modernized ruffles for short skirts. The collection was simple, mainly focusing on construction paired with bold colors and fitting silhouettes.
Estrella Archs (in the past designer of Emmanuel Ungaro) showed her own vision of femininity: “beige and more beige”, in shades of pink, from blush to fuchsia and orange Archs relaxed her silhouette showing boxy tail coats cut from what looked like vintage kimonos covered in cranes and a number of simple draped dresses. Those dresses looked even more interesting in geometrical way once the models reveled themselves to be ballerinas and took to the catwalk en pointe.
Dutch designer Steffie Christiaens debuted her first collection through a baptism of fire- sculpting a progressive silhouette that forsakes a poignant science. Trousers in wool hit directly at the ankle as 3D dresses hit just above the knee, and movement were sensational as pieces of jersey were layered with panels of crocodile and python hides. The “cherry on top” of this collection is technical couture dresses displayed cylindrical piping formed into stiff planes and arching tulip skirts. Steffie mastered the art of science and fashion in one look.
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac seems to live in a fairytale where fabled characters come to life in expertly fashioned garments. Hi had inspirations like: Dracula, Strangler in the Night, and Disney's 101 Dalmations, to name a few. We all still remember his “Teddy bear” coat wore by Madonna. And again hit of this season was red velvet dress with gold tassels. Skeleton printed glow-in-the-dark dresses are relayed on classic strapless black dresses. For new season, Castelbajac was able to tread the line between fantasy and fashion; to create a collection that was both capricious and wearable.
Inesa Parfenii one of young fashion designers, who created for me pink-gray dress, one of the designers who see the femininity in complex geometrical forms. Very wearable and beautiful dresses and costumes she showed at last Paris Fashion Academy Award. I had few very nice comments from Christophe Guillarme who admired her style, and also from famous Russian designer Valentin Youdashkin, who said that the most talented creations start from complicated imagination.
My picks from this look: if I feel funky and would like to impress public around by adding some fantasy to my classic look I'd certainly pick up leather colored coat of Barabara Bui and wear it with little black dress, it's very comfortable and make any look different and strong. Also could be easily mixed with any style even with long evening gown, as a matter of fact. Also I'd go for one of the Leonard peonies or pythons dresses – that is classic what never dies, could lasts forever for any season like true love. I'd certainly get one of the red dresses of Amaya Arzuaga – very sexy and amusing, always keep attention and questioning, because leave so curious image in imagination of public. Little dinosaur stamp on my look very much suits me because I'm very old fashion person :-). From collection of Aganovich I'd probably pick up one of these funky sailor's jackets. They made for amusement and so deeply blue, so lovely constructed – so suitable for my imagination in mixture of the blowing wind and beauty of boats I've always been fund of. And of course I'd never leave my funky look without scull-shaped hat of Castelbajac. Always loved him, always will. I wouldn't dare to wear his dresses or trousers but these unique accessories just made for me – sophisticated woman with little funky whimsy side.
Second major look of new season is elegant classic black. Let's see who decided to go for classic. It would be Givenchy, Felipe Oliveira Baptista, Basil Soda, Collette Dinnigan, Arzu Kaprol, Talbot Runhof, Elie Saab, Junko Shimada, Valentino, Valentin Yudashkin.
Givenchy showed very pliant look. All collection is some sort of poison. Ingredients: a bit of geisha and a bit of cat, and just a little drop of seduction and danger. Total black, embellished with irises and other little yellow, green and lilac flowers, printed and embroidered. Famous symbol of Givenchy, the black panther, that stamped on cachemire sweaters and on dresses with satin and chiffon skirts, oriental kimonos, combined with a tight satin skirt with botanical stamps, always on the yellow tone, to clash with the total black of the entire collection.
Felipe Oliveira Baptista showed this season ethical look, fur sleeves, lather jackets – all black and strong. Choosing a simple color palette of black, Baptista mixed Grecian looks with contemporary silhouettes. Kimono inspired dresses, draped voluminously and halter gowns with flared skirts, long black jackets, wide pants and coats – looks inspired by United Parcel Post like the most collection of Baptista.
Basil Soda presented “embellishment” this season. He draw his woman in modern minimalism with some intriguing details for body conscious shapes. Intricately cut fabric, lace, details and gold hardware accented the looks whether with the unusual zipper on gowns and dresses or straps on clutches. Simply love it – so wearable and elegant.
Collette Dinnigan's collection was ultra feminine comprising of pieces like a gold brocade dress with pronounced sleeves styled with a black belt with a bow. Evening gowns appeared in both black and white lace and sequin silver dresses were given a touch of elegance styled with gray fur. Entitled Portrait of a Woman is a testament to the Australian designers strength vibrantly feminine silhouettes that swings from sexy to innocent. Bold colors and structured shapes encapsulate the mystique of a woman as Collette Dinnigan proposes re-imagined true Argentinean equestrian clothing with the leaden lace jodhpurs and metallic jacquard bustle back skirts. Belle blossom, Italian lace brocade, noir French lace, Venetian wool suiting, Rococo embroidered organza and forest fur an interfusion of texture and tradition, light and shade.
The Turkish designer Arzu Kaprol presented her first collection in Paris under the theme “The Archeology of the future”. The models were sophisticated with an authentic work in leather I specially liked some of the mini dresses. Designer put some futuristic looking structures to the models, ultra sexy angels ending with one filled with lights in plastic wings of desire.
Talbot Runhof offered the best image of “boyfriend's shirt” dress. But it did it all without leaning so heavily towards the masculine that the feminine was lost altogether. This season the duo Johnny Talbot and Adrian Runhof centered their very collection around the "juxtaposition of masculine and feminine, black and white, fluid and static, draped and tailored..." Each look was a miniature study in contrasts. A man's button-down transformed into a decidedly feminine look when converted into an hourglass-sculpting shirt dress, worn backwards, with the sleeves tied at the waist. The collection also ticked off several of the trend boxes with a series of sleeveless fur coats, done with silk backs, and a group of guipere sequin embroidered tops and dresses.
The Lebanese designers Elie Saab, elegant protagonist, was the epitome of Parisian chic. The long and slinky silhouettes were color coordinated from stark black to rich reds and deep plums with no shortage of saturated hues with Saab's heavenly creations. Prints took form in the shape of neo-floral drawings, and textures ranged from the sparkling crystals to lace inlays for a concise yet show-stopping collection.
Junko Shimada. Sexy, spicy and full of charm, the collection was created using Chantilly lace, suede, gazar, skin wool, tweed and mink, powdered variations with a touch of fluorescent. It is chic and cheeky! A collection with a bon-ton appeal that focuses on femininity and delicateness. Pastel or sorbet shades are used to give life to floral prints on airy, lightweight fabrics. The sheepskin jacket is tapered, worn with tube skirts and romantic blouses. Furs aim towards neutral nuances, while masculine fabrics like woolen cloth and tweed are put to the test in softer versions for loose pants or elongated coats. But lace is the boss for both transparent tops worn with matching tube skirts as well as for tone-on-tone inserts made purposefully to embellish little dresses, longuettes, suède tunics and flared pants.
Valentino give us a collection that pays tribute to the culture and uniqueness of couture. The femininity, tact, and elegance of the Valentino style remain intact, as does its extraordinary sartorial work, now servicing a young look with precise lines that are real in their proposals and appeal. The designers stylistic code seems to reside in a sophisticated delicacy that veils sensuality with a touch of poetic effervescence and is capable of exploiting the chic and the heart of the brand’s heritage.
Collection of Valentin Yudashkin is simple, elegant and with clever touches of color (orange mainly) in the make up and the clothes was refreshing to watch. I strongly believe that rising stars from emerging countries Russia, Brasil, India, China and Turkey will be more and more successful in Paris and in the world. This is part of the new structuring of fashion.
My picks from this look: I feel myself like a child in candy factory, having hard time to make my choice. Well of course there would be black coat of Basil Soda, certainly I'll take one blouse of Collette Dinnigan: who could leave without structured shapes and handmade lace. No one! One of the pieces of Elie Saab would never hurt. It wouldn't be black – it would be sexy red “killer” dress. His red dresses this season are the best. I'd have for sure one of the charming pieces of Junko Shimada. Every season she impresses me with her creative elegance – every time it's so surprising and lovely mix of lace wool and fur. I'm thinking about Valentino always. If you still don't have one silk flower-dress – you should definitely get one. I have three :-). The most feminine story is a story about girl in little or long silk flowered dress. And of course I'd suggest one of the chic black dresses of Yudashkin. There might be not so much occasions to wear it but it's so nice to have it and wait for the right occasion. It looks so attractive: “dragonfly” corset draped with lace and red leggins, chilly-paper hot look.
Third look, glamorous “holly” chic, were presented by Balmain, Sonia Rykiel, Ingrid Vlasov, AF Vandevorst, Gaspard Yurkievich, Vivienne Westwood, and Moncler.
Balmain presented “blink-blink” glam-rock. New glitter sexual look came up trough the masculine pieces and combinations of ti-shirts and absolutely new for Balmain, that has never been featured before, a skinny jumpsuit. An air of novelty blows through the Balmain collection: after abandoning last season’s punk inspiration, it is the glam-rock of Ziggy Stardust/David Bowie that inspires Christophe Decarnin, designer of Balmain. An ever intense yet more dynamic feeling, new proportions, a less obsessively sexy design, an easier attitude with touches of masculine inspiration.
Sonia Rykiel collection, as usual, focuses on a tastier and more ironic femininity. There are very bon-ton pieces in tricot wool, maxi-coats with contrasting quilted or voluminous fur sleeves, pullovers decorated with bows. But above all, great, creative work was performed in the patchwork of heavy checked fabric in different sizes and revised in its colors which are louder and more daring than the classic versions. And again, striped dresses where silk or chiffon alternates with metallic leather, or long tunics decorated by three-dimensional appliques with soft volumes, what leave great freedom for the body’s movements.
“Medieval” collection of Ingrid Vlasov is all in light hues trough miniature of angel wings. Black lace appliques slightly anointed gothic reflections of fabric. Elegant long beige dresses and pantsuits gave mysterious transcendental feeling for pure black. A story about lace, candlelight, sensuality, femininity, tradition and elegance. Which might be translated into dramatic evening tale in body-shaped gowns with plunging backs and exaggerated shoulders, swing coats or patches on the sleeves and pockets.
A.F. Vandevorst is new Victorian great trumpet in fashion. Fall-Winter collection was military inspired and born from the work of Dutch artists Maarten Kolk and Guus Kusters. Asymmetrical jackets boasting multiple buttons and buckles added structure to ruffled white blouses with newspaper prints, which protruded at the chest or bustled at the hip over slick riding pants tucked into boots. Slick satin frocks cinched at the waist were accessorized with generous scarves or overwhelming fur stoles replete with tails. Fabric was pleated and twisted, draped and tied on accordion pleat strapless dresses worn over long sleeve tops, and on bias hemmed leather skirts. All collection was wrapped in gorgeous fox fur and made every look extremely elegant.
Gaspard Yurkievich, created cool luxury “polished” looks. These were wearable sportswear staples with clever details such as the fur-edged plaid bib on a pert tailored jacket, a neon-orange zipper down the back of a textured royal blue blouse or the plaid vest-like insert on a black skirt suit, silk dresses.
“I can’t keep banging on about climate change, so I decided to express my thoughts about the planet through strong women, and the fact women are the guardians of culture,” said Vivienne Westwood after a blockbuster show, aglitter with gold and silver, and wild, war-painted models. Boy George and Paloma Faith were among front row guests as Westwood’s Gold Label collection. There were everything for woman-warrior: chain-mail tunics, bunched-up crinolines imprinted with primitive symbols and “cave-paintings”, and helmets trimmed with hanks of fake hair. A voluminous, draped version of a pinstriped power suit for work, an ethnic printed velvet frock for play and a gold sequined brocade coat for those special occasions, for starters. Vivienne dedicated this collection to the idea of the World Wide Woman gloriously walking on stardust. Vivienne’s vision of womanhood seemed to span all of its stages from a pair of youthful, punky hot pants to a more grown-up, vampy gold sequined gown. She placed the most emphasis on the things that sparkled, giving the trend a fun, high camp gloss right down to the shimmery shoes.
Collection of Moncler “Gamme Rouge”, purposely created to face the most rigid temperatures in style, show in a windy, glacial atmosphere. Heavy patchwork zip-up jackets, spot-print coats, sporty furs with nylon inserts or in brighter, more vivid shades, enlivened by geometric effects obtained from the various thicknesses of the cuts of the fur. But also shimmery overcoats in long silver sequins. Indispensable pieces to defend against the cold, even in the evening when micro down coats and maxi-vests are worn over long mermaid dresses that sinuously wrap the body.
My picks from this look: Lord, help me not to choose everything – so chic and glorious. Certainly I go for Balmain black sparkle rock-n-roll jacket – it would always make simple look glamorous. Wearable at the morning to bright your day, also during the day to keep going in this sunny mood, and no doubt at evening. I'm going to choose right now tweed coat with red furry sleeves, and... I'm going to KILT myself getting some piece from Jarl Ale de Basseville to finish my look. My life is always been in tweedy lines and red colors. I'd choose several pieces from AF Vandevorst. Well, for sure that would be the little brown silk dress with fox fur. In fact as I said this is Victorian piece will make every woman so elegant and sophisticated ready to be on a horse and to enter Royal palace. From Ingrid Vlasov I'd choose the most seductive piece – long black lace dress. There nothing more elegant exist on this Earth then transparency and smoothly hidden lines. From golden collection of Vivienne Westwood I'd have of course golden flowered dress. She gave us huge specter of the choices from punk to classic. Of course I'll go for classic, and it'll be forever. If you ask me if it's not too shine – I'd say, no, actually it's never enough.
So in the end – we've seen it all, and we are going to have it all, to change a little our look by fancy and extraordinary pieces, classical and glamorous, with great creativity to celebrate our personality, our desires, our thoughts, our way of life. Well, basically it's all about love, about our world, and about the vision how to make it more beautiful place. And even I ended up in so corny sentence I still do believe that whole fashion it's all about it – to bring up creation and show beauty divine in everything around us.
Eleonora Genieve de Gray
Photographers: Leah McQueen, Simon Ackerman, Christian Tarro Toma