Thursday, January 12, 2017

Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015-2016.

Mon. 07/06/2015.

As late in the game as it is, we all know this was to be Raf Simons last Haute Couture collection for Dior. Being perfectly frank, I am glad. Simons never really felt right for the job and his collections were always so completely subsumed with Intellectual over thinking and overly indulgent cerebral introspection that they were bogged down by all the psychological elucidating that the one thing missing was the one that was sorely needed... Passion! Passion for the woman wearing the clothes, passion for the sake of passion, passion for the Couture. To Simons, it was always analytical Art Project, he completely divorced the soul of Dior from the house and concentrated on the logic, the mind, and in that, his clothes were great to talk about... However, to wear...??? Another story, indeed! 

So here we are, his last gasp at making a statement that would solidify his tenure at Dior in a way that would show him in a better and more celebratory light than his past collections... Perhaps because the decision was only percolating in Simons' mind at the time (July of 2015) and only came to fruition within the days leading up to his last show (October 2015) maybe he hadn't fully committed to leaving and thought there would be more to show as a Couture designer... Maybe he knew all along and this was his last statement, as arch and impertinent as his collections during his short stay at the house all seemingly were. No matter the case, it wasn't the kind of collection that one wants to be remembered for. It wasn't dreadful, in places, it was as stunningly wonderful as anything one could ask for, in others... Outright confusing. More directly, Ugly. Ungainly and Awkward spring to mind also. 

Spending inordinate amounts of words and time going over all the things wrong with the collection would be parallel to pointing out the few moments of glory. It's a fool's errand, both. For, the collection just did not cohere in any possible configuration or formation. It felt as lopsided and maladroit as those one sleeved hulking masses Simons called coats. Someone out there will madly, try to make them work, and maybe succeed, but it will be the few and far between that do. Let's put it as pointedly and simplistically as one can... if the Wafer Thin Models parading around in them look as if they were just this side shy of Quasimodo, How are the clients who as much as they would like to think they are model size (and as deflating to their money lined egos this may be) but most certainly ARE NOT, going to look in them? Flat Out Ridiculous! 

At every turn, the collection looked as if it had been styled by Lucia di Lammermoor in her mad scene. Simons willfully seemed and always seems, to fight with every fiber of his being against simply designing something... Beautiful. He has to Ponder on it, Futz over it, Re-examine it, Throw in a Intellectual curveball and then, only then, is he happy, Instead of going with his obviously Legion instincts, (partake of the Fall/Winter 2014-2015 Haute Couture collection and WEEP at the Diabolical Loveliness!) He simply doesn't rely on them. He has to THINK about the clothes, and that thinking leads him to travesties like this. The Fucked-Up part? When he does let go and simply, instinctually designs a garment, Bliss is achieved... Take for example Exit No. 46 on Ondria Hardin? A sylph-like gown that from far away, to it's Genius quality, looked like a Rib-knit Tank top fabric under the dead GORGEOUS Floral embroidered bodice. The flowing White gown, as it gained on you, you realize that those "Ribs" were densely embroidered Caviar Pearls, that then released away around the knee and the gown fell into Chiffon panels with striations of those "Ribs" running down them! IMMACULATE! See!? when Simons simply Lightened The Fuck Up... look what he can achieve!

Simons is going to be remembered one way or the other, have Sarah Mower and Tim Blanks and those of their ilk tell the tale, it's going to be a Renaissance and Golden Era for the house, for they couldn't ever see the forest for the trees, for them it was all achingly beautiful and satisfying and breathtaking. Ask anyone else to be nakedly honest, they'll tell you it never really made a lot of sense. It was simply easier to hop on the train of masturbatory praise and orgiastic fawning that the others all seemed deeply entrenched in. To me, It was a blip on the Dior radar that had it's shining moments, but more oft than not, was a period of great hype with nothing more than said hype to show for it. Simons may have had Hieronymus Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights" as his starting point, but what transpired was more like Baudelaire's "Fleurs de Mal" 

That's All.


Elsa Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015-2016.

Mon. 07/06/2015.

Elsa Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015-2016.

First Impression... Bertrand Guyon has quite the masterful, not to mention, eclectic, hand with Daywear, as clearly evidenced by his Debut collection at the house of Schiaparelli, which has gone through a bit of a shake-up recently, with Marco Zanini unceremoniously stepping down for who knows what reason, then leaving the house in Limbo this past Spring for a collection that, besides the dramas going on, was pretty substantial and inspiring.

Now, the house has what hopes to be, a head designer who will stay the course, the way that fashion houses have been playing musical chairs as of late, that seems more and more tenuous and shaky as the days proceed. But really, all that matters are the clothes. For his debut, Guyon has decided to take the less literal approach to the archives, as Zanini did, and keep things forward looking while glancing sidelong at the past. However, while Zanini's debut was much more Madcap, Guyon's is more subtly irreverent. As with all the designers so far at the house, they have all instrumented something of the Template laid down by the Unspeakably Brilliant Christian Lacroix who relaunched the label with a one-off collection that has seemed to be fodder for all that has come next. (Rightfully, Lacroix SHOULD be the Head Designer of the house, but he wants no quarter with that, so....)

Back to that Daywear observation, Guyon's packed plenty of eccentric punch, de riguer for the house of Schiaparelli, From a Gorgeous Matelassé coat in Lacquer Red paired with a Soigné matching colour dress to a Quirky and Offbeat combo of a Mushroom colour Crocodile "T-Shirt" paired with an Organza skirt that looked like Moonlight had been captured in a fabric. Other standouts included a Black Satin top paired with a A-line skirt in Mink that had a profile likeness of Elsa on the front and a Molto elaborate, embroidered, nip-waist suit in Golden Yellow, embellished to look like it was a Cut Velvet or brocade, with it's swinging, gently flared skirt counterpointing the Sharp, Fitted jacket above, it was a nod to the past while being only possible in the present.

Evening saw a bevy of Dazzlers, also. from a Ode to a Grecian Goddess moment in a filmy White Chiton inspired gown with a drop skirt, deep draped neck and stitched down pleats, it was as effortless as it gets and equally as High-Impact. Also stunning, the Liquid Bronze Pannè Velvet Stunner near the end, rippled and undulated like molten metal wrought forth in sumptuous tangible material! And the Strapless Amphora shaped Ballgown with the Hand-Painted tableau on the front in Bone White was a masterstroke if ever there were one!

Sadly missing, a Bride. Most houses have left this tradition behind, and it always saddens me a little to see that neglected, it may be hopelessly old fashioned, but it gives a designer grounds to do the most unthinkable and unimaginable things and steal the breath of the onlookers. Even though Guyon chose not to close with a Marieé, he did conclude with Elsa's signature Shocking Pink, And he probably did capture the hearts of many a audience member, for the gown was spellbinding and rapturous. When all was said and done, Guyon produced a collection that made you want to see much, much more from him. Here's hoping we get to do just that!

That's All.