Haute couture week (well, Haute Couture Three Days) is but a memory and there was plenty to chat about.
I’m switching gears this time, so rather than do a good and a bad list, I’m going to just toss them all together and make one great big fashion cocktail.
There are fewer and fewer shows each season, it seems, so it’s getting more difficult to justify the division.
Anyhoo, here is the best and the worst of the spring 2016 haute couture season, according to me.
Comments follow the pictures.
My God this collection was ugly. I get that you want something different, but there is an insanely fine line between original and stupid. Cuts were so convoluted, it’s like she thumbed through a book on technique and just pointed to part of the mannequin and said, “SEW THAT THERE!” Other designers explored the 80’s this season (heavy nods to Bowie of the 70’s too) but those designers knew to steer clear of the jagged rocks that were 80’s clichés. Unfortunately for Sergeenko, she sailed her pastel painted yacht directly into the rocky shore with reckless abandon.
Different? Yes, but dang girl, dial that crazy back a few notches.
Once again Frank Sorbier takes us on a lyrical journey through design, and what we learn from this exercise is that telling a story from bits of cloth and embroidery, doesn’t have to be a literal endeavor. Working mainly in beige (yeah I know, but trust me, it was nice) dancers and models paraded around a stage in unimaginable fabrications that echoed the house’s mainstays – texture and restraint. Beautiful, interesting and above all, true to form, Sorbier knows how to keep things grounded without them going stale.
Well, it was pretty.
And of course, the atelier knows what they are doing, but DAMMIT, could you guys PLEASE start experimenting with cut? I mean seriously, how many sloper bodice dresses does your clientele need? I really appreciate the workmanship, but damn, buy a new Vogue pattern already!
On Aura Tout Vu
I love these guys. I don’t often agree with their clothes, but when they skipped last season, I genuinely missed them. As usual, it was nonstop nonsense on the runway, and as usual, some of it was a mess, but honestly, for a house that doesn’t get a lot of press, part of me is really happy that they don’t give a damn about it, and make the clothes that make them smile. Does any of it make sense? No, not really, but compared to the more established houses, these guys know how to have fun. Having said that, this collection was bonkers; and frankly, that makes ME happy!
Galliano hit the nail on the head again at MM, that crazy, mixed-up, almost illegible nail. The collection was, per usual, a mélange of sartorial bric-a-brac and atelier savoir faire, but as experimental as these pieces are, and let’s face it, that’s the house’s bread and butter, it’s a little bit difficult to get a sense of who the customer really is. There were plenty of bankable looks, but the lion’s share of the collection is firmly planted in the outré. Still, the cuts and experimentation exceeded my expectations, and will probably send the inspiration surging, right up until next season.
How do you take your tea? That was the obvious question chez Scap this season. With tea pot embroideries and a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables covering almost every stitch, it was difficult to contemplate anything else. Twee to be sure, but it felt comfortable, balanced against the history of the house – almost too comfortable. The shapes were obvious and that last passage of mousseline dresses seemed like the fashion record kept skipping with their repetitive cuts and drapes. Still, it was nice to see the atelier having a little fun, if not terribly over-organized fun.
At this point, I feel Gaultier is just hand beading his ready to wear. The house knows how to cut a dress, and they really know how to put on a show, but where the hell is the couture? I saw pajama pants, bath robes, and the same tired ideas that Jean Paul has been cranking out for years. I used to turn to this house for wild inspiration and innovation. Now, it just seems like he’s reliving his heyday. Every designer deserves that relaxation for a season or two, but Gaultier can’t seem to shift gears anymore. A fun show to be sure, and of course expert craftsmanship, but nothing new to speak of.
The restraint in these clothes was outstanding. Each look was a study on how to pull in the reins on luxury. The first group was sportswear inspired. The models looked like haute couture track stars in pure white with accents of hyper fluorescent pinks and yellows that darted around the body like laced up tennis shoes. The evening group was spectacular in the quietest way possible with beautiful trompe l’oeil sheers that I honestly couldn’t tell weren’t flesh. The finale tuxedo on Gigi summed up the collection best -simple, elegant and above all, modern!
Viktor and Rolf
Oh dear. Look, when another house does haute couture faces just a couple of seasons before you, it’s probably best to avoid that subject for a while. Unfortunately for V&R, they hugged that theme it to death like Elmira squeezing the life from a hamster. Looking like Picasso rejects, the clothes (and I use that term VERY lightly) paraded out like whitewashed Guernica subjects come-to-life. I mean really, at this point, I’m just going to tell them to drop the pretense of being couturiers and just start making museum pieces, because honestly, that’s the only place these pieces belong.
What a hot, steaming pile of fashion dog crap this collection was. Look, I get you’re between designers, but dammit, you CANNOT design a collection by committee! It’s impossible. There has to be a masthead and a director with a clear goal. This season felt less like a collection and more like “let’s take all the crap that fell on the cutting room floor and stitch it together into a silk chiffon nightmare that no couture client would be caught dead wearing.”
Too harsh? Nope; it was that bad. Honestly, it would have made the house look better if they had just skipped a runway show and hired someone to design already, because until they focus. and stop trying to recapture the glory days, this house is going to remain a stagnant mess.
Sorry, I just woke up from a nap. Wait, that wasn’t a nap; that was the latest Chanel collection. My friend Lori said it best when she used the term, “mumsy,” to describe this season for Coco and company; and I honestly, think that term describes this collection to a tee. Dated shapes, tired fabrics and a lack of innovation didn’t do this collection any favors. The whole thing was an exercise in complacency. And for a house like Chanel, with Karl at the helm, there was no excuse for it.
Oh, wait, I thought of another word – boring.
Pieces worth mentioning…
Ralph and Russo
Pretty. Just pretty. I mean, they crank out dresses that make the prom queens weep, but honestly, that’s all they do. Nothing interesting, nothing new, just… pretty.
THIS DRESS! OMG! This is freaking HAUTE COUTURE!! Too bad the rest of the collection was mediocre.
Again, just pretty. But I did like the innovation of this cut. The lace bolero/capelet/train thing is different and interesting.
Good collection, it just felt a little static. I do always love his model selection and I’m giving it a nod if for nothing more than this model’s perfect attitude.
OK, so the ballet theme was obvious and spammed almost to death, but dammit if I didn’t love this look. Not the first time we’ve seen ballet figures on a dress, but this one was just fun.
OK kids, that’s it for a little while.
I’ll be back as soon as I can think of something interesting to post.
(FYI, all images for this post are from nowfashion.com. It’s a great resource for fashion shows with up to the minute collections. Seriously, check them out!)