Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Alexis Mabille Fall/Winter Haute Couture 2015-2016.

Weds. 07/08/2015.






If  Alexis Mabille could manage to bring an element of sophistication to his elaborate works that he presents for his usually over-designed Haute Couture collections and his designs didn't usually look pageant-ish and costume-y he'd do himself a world of favors. Even though his Fall/Winter 2015 Haute Couture collection was better than his most recent output, near the end it became as it usually does, convoluted. Starting off with a slinky fishtail gown in Emerald, it was also an exercise of overindulgence, surmounted as it was by a back draped shawl of sequins. 

As the looks progressed, they became an orgy of excessive detail and outsize exhibitionism of fabric and none of these details served the clothes in any matter other than to distract rather than amplify. A Shell Pink gown with a outrageously huge pouf of Rose Pink Taffeta on the shoulder looked baroque and operatic, and it was perhaps the only piece that didn't suffer from an overabundance of largesse, even though it was still quite grandiloquent. Mabille's collection was a typical extravaganza of superfluity and as such, suffered as his collections usually always do for it. 

If Mabille could tame his more excessive instincts and not gild the lily to within a 1/8 inch of it's life, he'd produce pieces that didn't look fit more for a production of "Die Zauberflöte" and work in a modern context. One can only hope he finds that the axiom of "Less is More" is something he should follow and apply to his work.





That's All.





Bye4Now!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015-2016.

Weds. 07/08/2015.






Gorgeous... Check! Beautiful... Check! Exquisite... Check!

Boring... Check! Redundant... Check! Expected... Checkmate!

Elie Saab's Fall/Winter 2015 Haute Couture opus was as about as predictable and underwhelmingly exciting as per usual the house. The seasons may change, but at Saab, the couture song remains the same! Effortlessly breathtaking and rapturously stunning evening wear aplenty, but all in the same tired formula we've been presented with season after season. Endless variations on the same theme that have grown from wearisome to tiresome to flat out who the fuck cares anymore! You've seen one lovely Saccharine confection, you've seen twenty dozen from Saab.

It'd be great to even point out a number of two that shone above the throng of sing-song-samey beauties... But there wasn't even one number that we haven't seen some derivation of in the past and done better to whit! One needn't wax prosaic on this effort... it was about 22 tons of sequins, beads and shimmer, stuffed in a 5 ton bag. The Song seems to still remain the same, Chez Elie Saab!





That's All.





Bye4Now!

Maison Martin Margiela Artisinal Fall/Winter 2015/-2016.

Weds. 07/08/2015.






Firstly, one must savagely curtail the instinctual habit to over-contextualize John Galliano's work at the Margiela Maison. His work has been greatly over elaborated upon in the past, at Dior, his own label and most certainly Margiela. The desire to analyze and intellectualize the work proffered by Galliano is a strong one to resist... However, resist one must! Secondly, Galliano's Fall/Winter 2015 Artisinal collection was truly, Electrifying. An amalgam of the absolute best aspects of the work of both John and Martin. A synthesis of perfect proportions. Yes, there is probably scores and volumes of context hidden in this collection for the intrepid enthusiast to decode (including the sly allusion to Dior in Maartje Verhoef's Taupe Satin evening dress at Exit No. 23) However, if Galliano is comfortable enough to remain Sphinx-like in the way of explanations... I am all right and well with it too! 

Galliano mined the rich heritage of the house he is currently residing while keeping something of the eternal subversive streak that runs to his core. Margiela was not so much a designer of subversion, more of reappropriation, and Galliano stuck his foot firmly in that model of execution, with pieces rendered from old Potato Sacks (A simply mavellous wrap coat that was then richly appointed with Lesage embroidery) or a Frothy, complex assemblage of a evening dress that said Lacroix on Acid from the front, but had what appeared to be a full on attached overcoat flailing from the back! Galliano also riffed on such homespun English favorites as tapestry Needlepoint (in a superbly breathtaking dress of immense intricacy on Ondria Hardin) to Crochet (paired with a genius Black Leather wrap jacket, no less!) He even audaciously attached a metallic jewel tone Green halter strap to what was, it looked, a Camel hair blanket, and called it a dress! 

However, it was two looks, both showing how gifted a technician he is, where Galliano shined brightest, one being a minimal black jacket that had a shadowy echo of Dior's "Bar" line to it, paired with a Christmas paper bright sparkly Green pencil skirt that gave us a glimpse of the John of "Ye Olde" and most potently, the Mauve Opera coat on Magdelena Jasek that was pristinely unadorned from the front, cut with the purest and most adroitly precise lines, yet between the shoulder blades in back, draped like some deformed Japanese Obi, a shock of Electric Blue Silk done up like a backpack! It was, in a word... MONUMENTAL! 

Galliano has shown in just 3 collections that he is plotting a course of discovery and rediscovery, discovery of the hidden treasures of Margiela, in all their distinct variety... And also, a rediscovery of self that had somewhat become subsumed by all the Glamour and heady excesses of Dior. It's going to be a journey worth the watching, of that, we can all be sure! Where we end up... 





That's All.





Bye4Now!



Saturday, March 18, 2017

Alexandre Vauthier Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015-2016.

Tues. 07/07/2015.






Alexandre Vauthier's Haute Couture work does not look like anyone elses on the Couture circuit. That's a good thing. It distinguishes him and gives him exactly what a couturier needs, a distinct voice and P.O.V. even if his work is something of a Crazy Quilt Patchworking of styles that run from 90's era Mugler, crossed with Versace (Gianni, that is) shot with a good deal of Roberto Cavalli and a right proper amount Azzedine Alaïa with just a pinch of YSL thrown in for good measure. That sounds like something of a lot... And, admittedly, it is! But Vauthier seems to whip all this up in his Robo-Coupe and pour out something uniquely and singularly, him!

Fall/Winter 2015 found Vauthier Fringing and Furring and as Body-Con as ever, hems were as always, Ass grazing, the tailoring was, per usual, surgically precise, the slick shine of Patent, Leather, Satin and anything that essentially looked like it was glossily lacquered to within a quarter inch of it's life, prevailed heartily and yes, Cutouts GALORE! (too many mayhaps, actually) What was most convincing of Vauthier's skills this season were the quieter moments, the one's that had no reason to shout and more so, salaciously whispered, which made those moments all the more scandalously delicious! If the fringed leather opening number was a precursor of things to come, it surely prognosticated in a delightful way, for it was as restrained as about Vauthier can get while still applying all the rules of the house codes.

That is, until a superb moment of quiet sensuality sashayed down the catwalk, an asymmetric hanky hem poncho tunic in Black with a deep V-neck was revelatory and made a case that Vauthier should try a dash more restraint in his collections to come, for it was insanely sexy, but didn't announce it's sexiness a good half hour before it's arrival, as many of Vauthier's looks can. And sometimes, one can get more done by by powerful quietude, than aggressive shouting! 





That's All.





Bye4Now!

Armani Privè Fall/Winter 2015-2016.

Tues. 07/07/2015.






Giorgio Armani was more than obviously a little preoccupied with Elsa Schiaparelli for his Fall/Winter 2015-2016 Privè collection, For Pete's Sake... He named it "Shocking" quite pointedly a homage to the colour famously conceived by Madame Schiaparelli. More apparent than that perhaps was also, the wide swath of embellished indulgence and eccentricity Armani applied to his work, well known to the Italian rival of Coco. It was Gutsy and as the show progressed from "PINK" to other saturated hues contrapunctally juxtaposed by black, one got the feeling of immediate fatigue before the show was halfway over. 

If Pink wasn't the only 30's-40's inspiré gleaned from Elsa, so were peaked "Pagoda" Shoulders, which didn't really add much excitement, to be sure. The collection moved from one overwrought idea to the next without nary a break in sight. Armani's gift of cool, elegant, moody luxury here was so spangly and furry and feathery and bedazzled that it all came off as rather childishly amateur. Excess can be all fine and dandy, but there needs some breathing room in it somewhere to counterbalance the abundance. Armani's best moments here were the ones that didn't wear their elaborate nature like a medal won in a race, like the relatively restrained Black Pantsuit in which the pants were shot through with splotches of brilliant colour. 

The showing was a total miscue, but it wasn't one of Armani's more convincingly effective outings. The major flaw was, everything felt, even with all it's positive and vibrant colourations, leaden and heavy, weighty. It didn't have that lilt of lightness that could have been a major asset to this collection It was not, by any means, the worse we have seen from Giorgio in this Metièr, but it was far from a resounding best. 





That's All.





Bye4Now!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bouchra Jarrar Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015-2016.

Tues. 07/07/2015.






Even though Bouchra Jarrar is a Modernist kind of designer, she has a keen and unapologetic romantic streak in her, as undoubtedly confirmed by her Fall/Winter 2015-2016 Haute Couture collection. She's also a woman who understands that her client and perhaps more broadly, most women of the world, have need of clothes before 6PM. So, the joyous delight of seeing full-on, serious Daywear at her Haute Couture showing was a celebration all unto itself. There was something vaguely Moroccan or North African about the opening look, a striped coat in Black and White worn with precisely cut Black trousers and a slice of a Bandeau top, it looked pitch perfect for the woman of the now, but had something nostalgic to it as well.

Moving on, a Shell Pink Satin sleeveless Trench and trouser combo effectively raised the goose pimples on one's arms, while it's sister outfit a few moments beforehand of an exceptional Drop sleeve peacoat with matching shorts was equally fulfilling. The sleeved Trench/trousers combo in a starlit shade of Periwinkle also dropped one to their knees in worship, and there was something rather deliciously contrarian about seeing Hedvig Palm end the show in something of an Homage to the Greatand Mighty Rigourous Sensualist that was Yves Saint Laurent in a Sheer blouse with Pussy-bow neck and fluid trousers all in Black. Yet, if one thinks that Jarrar isn't the kind of woman made out for evening, sample if you will, Leila Nda in a Slinky, Black slip gown... and then motion to your friends to help you pick your jaw up from off the floor! 

Jarrar's kind of couture is the kind that is sorely needed to refresh from all the confectionary and Bon Bon couture we see so much of during the shows. She's is an antidote to the overload of Saccharine and sadly as of this writing, she has stepped down from her house to design Lanvin... let us pray and hope that that house cranks back up it's Haute Couture operations to let Jarrar shine again in this arena in which she excels so marvellously!





That's All.





Bye4Now!


Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015-2016

Tues. 07/07/2015.






In the pantheon of "Spectacles" that have been produced by the Maestro of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, an Iceberg of Snice from Sweden carved by 35 ice sculptors over 6 days from 28 TONS of Snow and Ice from 2010, the futuristic Greenhouse with over 300 mechanically blooming paper flowers, the 80-odd metre high globe of the world (which also rotated like our own globe, Earth!) marked with little lights and tiny. White flags with Black CC's indicating all of the worlds Chanel Boutiques and in shop stores around the planet, (including the two, perfectly placed flags in my beloved home of Michigan in the Northern Hemisphere of the Globe, stuck, proudly and almost exactly, in the spot where Troy, Michigan is located on a map of the state!), the Art Installation in which all 70+ pieces of Chanel referential art were created by the Granddaddy himself of the house and then created to his precise dimensions and filled his "Gallery" of the Spring show...

I could go on... Wind Turbines and a Solar Panel Runway, Le Supermarche, Boulevard Chanel, again, there are such extraordinary set pieces, that they are too numerous to catalogue. Within that context, Karl for Fall 2015 has in a way, seemingly outdone himself, if not exactly in scope (how can anything truly be more awe inspiring than a FUCKING ICEBERG!) more so in how ideally matched and brilliant the set and decor match the theme and clothing to such an acutely perfect pitch. After Lagerfeld so perfectly encapsulated this with his "Brasserie Gabrielle" for the Fall-Winter Ready-To-Wear, comes back with a space so perfectly attuned to embodying the aesthetic and "Esprit de Chanel" that it was almost overwhelming in it's purity.

"Le Cercle Privè" (The Private Circle) was Lagerfeld's envisioning of a High Class, High Style, playground for the rich women and their cadre of friends that buy and wear couture. It was a perfect Synthesis of Art Deco, 20th-Century Modern, and the Regal luxe of Monaco Casinos. If such a place has never existed, this beguiling set piece proved that it should have! It was more than say, An Iceberg, or a Supermarket, or an Undersea Tableau, This was a a slice of a life that does not exist made corporeal. That was the Genius of this and the Brasserie, these were Lifestyle backdrops that could double in Real Life! Not something fantastical or whimsical or outlandish for the sake of creating a jaw drop moment of gawking dumbfoundedness... No! This was something that could have been taken from some parallel life or different timeline of reality and gently set down, Fully Formed and perfect to the most infinitesimal degree. It was as if someone walked into the Grand Palais and found themselves in a Universe completely contained in there, like something perhaps out of "Men In Black" or akin to waking up in a ship in a Bottle. A unique world, captured, in this one, singular moment, Frozen in time and place.

But that's Lagerfeld's superior genius, Unlike a Play or Opera or Movie, where we get to inhabit that world multiple times, Lagerfeld knows the immense power of the ephemeral. Yes, it will exist in Video and Pictures, but those that inhabited that universe in the real life, for however long or brief it was, will only occupy it that once, live that experience that once, and never again! It makes it all the more Heart rending for that and more impactful. Not being able to attend, I can look at the pictures and videos and ascertain a shadow figure of, an inkling of the atmosphere, but I cannot take part in this Fairy-Tale, I can only extrapolate. That brings a wistfulness to the proceedings, something, unfathomably radiant and also desperately sad. Sad, because it is so surreally special and only so few get to inhabit that Deceptively Real, Imaginary world for those few brief minutes. This beautiful and magical world, that for all the laborious work that goes into evincing these fantastical spheres of artistry can evoke, are here but for a brief time and then, Poof! Disparu! Lagerfeld does however, give us ALL, the ability to dream, either by being in that world, or wishing to be, and in that respect, there is a kind of munificent equality to his majestic ideas. The dream Karl is weaving is democratic in that it is not banned from anyone being able to enjoy, but the democracy ends there, because not all can partake.

So, We find ourselves thrust into this Postmodern Deco Casino and the eerie quiet and calm that precedes it... The curtain has already been raised, the environment not only meant to imply but to, down to the most minute particle, Imitate a real casino, including fully functioning Chanel Branded and influenced Slot and electronic card game machines (with names like "Silver Camellias" and "Little Black Jack" and "Trente-et-Une" all sly witticisms on Chanel Codes!) Roulette and Chemin-de-fer tables. This elegant and PRISTINE Misè-en-Scéne in the sunken center of the Casino, was attended by a bevy of Studly young gentleman, patiently... Waiting. Waiting for what, you may ask?... In the silent, almost Kubrick-like space (think "2001") in entered actress and Chanel ambassadress, Kristen Stewart, striding in alone in her custom Chanel Couture Velvet pantsuit, and descended from the balcony section of the runway and down into the pit, to take her place among the tables, following her, actress Geraldine Chaplin and model Jamie Bochert, wafting in also in custom Chanel Couture, Chaplin in a diaphanous Black Chiffon stunner, Bochert in a floaty Velvet and Mousseline ensemble (do you sense a Theme?)

Following in succession: Actresses Lily-Rose Depp (Daughter of Johnny) and Lily Collins, gaily, jauntily, prancing in, swathed in short Velvet dresses with deep bands of Satin at the bust and hem. Japanese, Academy Award nominated actress and fashion plate, Rinko Kikuchi strode in, swathed in darkest night Black Velvet, followed by Tugba Sunguroglu (French Actress) and Violette d'Urso (Daughter of the first muse of Karl's for the house of Chanel, Ines de la Fressange, also a Model/Actress) in Cadet Blue bias Satin (Sunguroglu) and Black Tweed and Tulle (d'Urso). Next. another Chanel ambassadress, Rita Ora in a Le Smoking suit of Pannè Velvet in the colour of Starlight with a full-length slit skirt. Ambassadress to the house, Alice Dellal followed in a brief dress of Black Leather polished to a patent like finish. French actress, Isabelle Huppert, was escorted in by French actor Jeremie Elkaim, she wearing a Black bias Satin fishtail gown and he a custom Tux, behind them Jemima Kirke, cousin to Dellal and an artist/actress in a full-skirted tea length Black Lace number. G-Dragon, Korean rapper/musician was next (custom Tux) and then house favorites, models Stella Tennant (In a deep Claret Red Velvet gown) and Jake Davies in another custom Tux. Another pair of house favorites strode in as a couple next, Models Lara Stone (In a curvaceous Trompe l'Oeil Black Crepe Satin gown looking like a two-piece Tux) and Baptiste Giabiconi (one of Karl's male muses) in what else? A Tux! Lily-Rose's Mother, longtime house collaborator and friend, Vanessa Paradis, in a Embroidered Golden Beige pantsuit of a tunic top and pants. And finally, as a pair, Actress Par Excellence, Julianne Moore in a Figure exalting swath of Emerald Green Velvet (perfect for a natural Redhead!) escorted by Academy Award winning British Actor, Daniel Day-Lewis' son with renowned French Actress and César Award winning actress, Isabelle Adjani, Model Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis, Tux, Naturellement.

All of these, as Lagerfeld called them, "Friends of the House" were kitted out in Specialty One-Of-A-Kind Chanel Couture outfits that were designed for them for the occasion by Karl. He created each piece as a unique to the person outfit and not as part of the collection, but as a unique calling card, Fashion wise, to the specific "Friend" The reasoning? Company higher-ups wanted Karl to showcase the recent relaunch of the reproductions of the original 1932 Haute Joaillerie collection that Madamemoiselle created, and in Karl's mind, the pieces did not fit in with the collection he was creating which had it's jumping off point from the idea that he had entitled the collection "3-D" (more on that in a bit) So, he invited a clutch of his ambassadresses and house favorites and models to showcase them, all in Custom Couture. They were in a sense, the "Show, within the Show" as they blithely carried on playing Casino games as the models wound round them acting as if they noticed them not one whit. They acted almost like a Divertissement around which the collection was showcased. Once Lagerfeld addressed that little, aside... On with the show!

Starting out, This was by far Lagerfeld at the Zenith of his talent, it was in fact, a pinnacle of achievement. That aforementioned jumping off point "3-D" was describing the opening 10 Chanel "Suits" Not suits in any conventional terminology, but netted, web like structures created with a 3-D printer. Showing off a Savoir-Faire of unspeakable magnitude, these tweeds that were not at all tweed, these iconic Chanel suits that were unlike any Chanel suit ever. The 3-D suits were lined with either Tweed, Feathers or most often, elaborate configurations of Beads, Sequins, Pearls and Crystals. They all mimicked a similar silhouette, but were all achieved in different manner materials and formations. Festooned with ascot blouses that tie at the neck into fluid bows, or slim shirts underneath, the suits were the epitome of the principles of Haute Couture, hideously expensive (they were rumoured to cost upwards of $300,000.00 each!) and practically unwearable other than standing up, no sitting allowed and created for no more than the fanciful art of creation.

After this exercise in iconic classicism executed in a thoroughly of-the-moment modern rendering, Lagerfeld presented the collection proper, inspired by Iribe's illustrations in the 30's by way of Balenciaga's Barrel line of the 60's. Lagerfeld structured his silhouettes with a broad shoulder line that was achieved without any padding but by wide epaulets and often with a swinging sway back "Barrel" flare and since most of the jackets displaying this effect were gently cropped at the waist, it modernized the line, Another aspect that came into immense relief was that Lagerfeld got back to figuring his Tweeds out of just that... Simple, unadorned, Tweed! Yes, in recent years, Lagerfeld has presented his tweeds in embroidery and intricate fabrications such as tweeds that are dissolving or fraying or tweeds woven not even out of thread, but here, Lagerfeld showed how much a technical wizard he is and cut the humble fabric into supple, fluid suits that though backward-looking in their inspirè, were totally of-the-minute in their execution. Their simplicity of fabrication, however, made it all that more precarious, for if they were one millimetre off, as Karl would say, "Forget about it!" If asked, as a critic or reviewer, which were some of the best, it would be a Solomon like task to do so. All were so exceptionally sublime that to split those kind of hairs, you'd need one of those $5,000+ Sushi knives! Though forced to do so, Exit No. 23 was an exemplary study in understated elegance, in Hematite and palest Dove Grey blend tweed, with it's purist lines and stand-up Shawl Collar, it was a slice of purest exquisiteness. Unfussy and totally about application of fit and cut. Technically, the last day suit, proper, in the show, on Pauline Hoarau at Exit No. 29, in the Papyrus spangly tweed, was a revelation as well. with it's high cut jacket and Whippet thin silhouette, it was the embodiment of the unimaginable exactitude it takes that creates a Couture Masterpiece as such.

And Evening... Where to begin? Where to END!? There was such a plethora of beauties that the mind is surely befuddled by such a surplus. Firstly, a loud clapping of hands to Lagerfeld for showing off his skills that he used to dazzle us with in the past, his superiority of drape and fit and cut of fabric with absolutely no adornment whatsoever, save a brooch here and there or a bit of jewelry. There were some absolutely Mind-Blowing pieces that had not one whit of embellishment and stood out amongst the throng all the more so for it. namely, a Navy bias Satin Chiffon stunner on Camille Hurel at Exit No. 46 that simply left the jaw AGAPE. With it's banded bodice, Empire line and Hi-Lo Flapper hem of sheerer fabric, it defined "GLORIOUS!" I'm not even going to try to take the time to talk about Exit No. 61... This review has gone on plenty long enough already and I could write another review of that one piece alone, which would match this one in prolixity! Just let us say, Unbelievable. As for the Flapper feeling, the trio of gowns from Exits No. 55-57 also were indubitable showings of Lagerfeld's legion skills and the titanic mastery of his Chanel ateliers. In luminous shades of Steel Grey (the hooded version on Louise Parker), Champagne Nude (on the EXQUISITE Josephine Le Tutour) and pale Off-White tiered gown on Maatje Verhoef (which was rumoured to have been covered in over a million tiny caviar beads) all phenomenal examples of supreme lightness and deftness of execution.

Ending, Lagerfeld sent his current Muse Du Jour (Kendall Jenner) out in an Casino worthy Marieè Tux in Crème Blanc, with a crystal bead studded "Train" whipped up into an attached stole around the sleeves and shoulders. Not any kind of fan of Ms. Jenner, (I Loathe her particularly, but what are you gonna do?) but the subversive turn of this Bride as Groom was especially piquant after all the resplendent femininity of what had come before it. As ever, Karl showed that he is always light years ahead of the pack, even when he's backwards glancing. He mined the rich history of Chanel, yet once more, to come up with something resolutely modern, yet unabashedly classic! It's an alchemy that few, if any, can achieve, and the stupefying and dumbfounding aspect of it all is, when one considers the Set/Decor, The One-Of-A-Kind pieces made for his "Friends du Maison" 67 exits and also, Shoes, Accessories, Hair and Makeup that this ONE MAN spins his Spectacles out of (owing that he conceives all these aforementioned ideas) It's an alchemy of the likes that we will never see practiced again. In that way, there is a painful pang of sadness and wistfulness that suffused this collection once it was over... This kind of perfection, does not happen everyday, knowing that, one must absorb all the Joy and Surprise and Delight that Lagerfeld affords us. No one knows for how long the show can or will go on... But, GODDAMN, What a Fantastic Fucking show it is!

EVERY! SINGLE! TIME!





That's All.





Bye4Now!