Haute Couture – Paris, Fall 2015. Part Deux

Chanel 

The press buzz is that this was a safe mode collection for Lagerfeld; and you know what, that’s OK with me. The Kaiser has been foisting experiments on us for a while now and this season he decided to circle the wagons and reflect on the house’s history, rather than break new ground on a distant shore. It was less “obvious staple” and more controlled refinement as each exit built on the previous one. The shapes and silhouettes were clean and the embellishments, a Chanel standard, were elegant and, above all, appropriate for the mood. I could have done without the severe hair and ultra-clunky shoes, but other than those two minor inconveniences, the show was a hit in my book.

Georges Hobeika

Sameness is as sameness does, but there was a slight step forward this season chez Hobeika. He didn’t blaze a new path with cut or embellishment, but what he turned in was so elegant, and yet, so very jaunty, I had to give him credit. The floral embroideries did get a little stale after a while, but the white gown with the center front slit breathed new life into what would have otherwise been another obvious entry into an understated collection. Long columns ruled the day and for a designer focusing on refining his skills, it’s not a bad shape to concentrate on.

Giambattista Valli

Oh boy. Well, let’s just say this about Valli’s haute couture collections: whatever you bought last season, will probably have a companion piece this season. The guy knows how to design and make clothes, but at this point, each collection feels like one long continuation of the previous season. He did manage to slip in a few innovative cuts and ideas, but at this point, it’s just not enough progress for me. Yes, the clothes are beautifully made. Yes, the starlets will fawn over them on the red carpet, but frankly speaking, if you’ve seen one Valli gown, you’ve seen them all. I get that he has to make the customer happy, but how many tiered organza ball gowns do his clients need?

Armani Prive

Intergalactic glam rock of the future. Well, that’s what I got out of this show at least. Armani didn’t go crazy with outré innovation for this collection, in fact, some of the ballgown shapes looked like prom dresses from the early 80’s; however, the real story here was his unmistakably rich hand when embellishing the looks. The beading and dyeing flowed in and out of seamless ombrés that looked like he dipped the dresses in the moody flotsam and jetsam of a distant nebula. The pieces were elegant and, while simple in delivery, dripped with the refined elegance of haute couture. Earth-shattering? No, but for a house that has been coasting on “pretty” for so many seasons, it’s nice to see Armani reach into the darkness and pull out a winner.

Artisanal Margiela

Perfection, AGAIN!! I could go on and on about how Galliano manages to dissect a house and merge with it in splendid symbiosis, but at this point, you don’t need that. What you do need to know is that once again, Galliano has thrown caution to the wind and churned out a collection that reeks of Margiela’s desire to never conform. Did any of it make sense? Hell no, but that’s what makes Galliano’s tenure at the Maison such an amazing ride! The cuts were spectacularly confusing, the embellishments exist as a tribute to eclectic ephemera, and the textile treatments evoke a lost steamer trunk of forgotten cloth artifacts left over from a bygone epoch that no one knew existed. Oh, to be a couture client and have the gumption to rock these looks at a calendar’s worth of social events!

More to come…

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