Viktor & Rolf
For the first time since their return to haute couture, the little Dutch boys got it right. This collection was the same “one note” concept they have been toying with since their return, but within the context of the collection, it felt right. They started with a blank canvas. No, literally started with a blank canvas – complete with stretcher bars. The idea was that art was not only to be hung on the wall, but rather, to be worn as an extension of the painting itself… as clothing… as art… ummm…
High concept? Sure. Almost impossible to wear? Yup. To only be adored by a select few? You bet’cha. Well, congratulations! You just defined what haute couture is all about. I have to say, the engineering of the painted images on the high-concept cuts of these pieces was outstanding; as was the deft use of wooden (resin?) framing embellishments that made the models look like they were stepping out of a museum’s private collection. I guess the joke is on us though. There are a number of museums that do collect Viktor & Rolf’s haute couture pieces, so it seems logical that they should prep a product for the long haul.
(Quiet golf clap) Bravo guys, bravo.
Where would a designer be without his muse? NOWHERE, THAT’S WHERE!! That fact was not lost on Mabille who forwent the runway and opted for stunning portraits of some of his most illustrious muses, wearing this season’s offerings. The collection was, to say the least, a perfect example of how decadent and iconic haute couture can be. The lines were clean, yet unmistakably rich. The color variations were opulent yet familiar, and the models were perfectly styled to reflect their inner beauty. I would loved to have seen some of these piece walk a runway, but I completely understand his decision this season. Because of his absolute understanding of how his clients think, Mabille has a winner on his hands!
Oh boy. I’m giving Gaultier a pass, but just barely. I mean, the whole point of him ditching the ready to wear lines was to focus on the haute couture collection completely; however, ever since the conversion, the couture collections have felt rushed and half-baked, and frankly, beneath his level. This season, he dipped, YET AGAIN, into his historical repertoire and busted out his sailor stripes and love of maritime iconography. Played out? Oh yeah, big time, but at least there was a little variation. He played with this bizarre, flat circle motif for skirts, which worked in a few ways, but mainly felt like a goofy gimmick. Another depressing motif was the insane number of solid black pieces he chose to show. Don’t get me wrong, it’s classic, and Gaultier has a reputation with it, but damn, how many “little black suits” do his clients need, at this point? Beautifully detailed as always, but dammit, whatever bug crawled up Jean Paul’s ass and exploded in a mushroom cloud of melancholy and lackluster creativity needs to be extracted ASAP!
Honorable mentions tomorrow, followed by this season’s turkeys.