Paris Fashion Week: Looking for Spring Inspiration?

Ok, so after writing about Milan Fashion Week earlier, I decided it was probably a good idea to check out how it was all going in Paris as their fashion week kicked off after Milan.  But – I warn you, this is a long blog!  There were so many designers that I had to write about that I almost had to make this a two-parter.  In the end, I thought, so what, let’s make it monumental!  


There was a lot of repetition…  Same old, same old.  Lanvin is still going through it’s Grecian draping period, Jean-Paul Gaultier (sorry to say) rehashed some old Madonna-inspired cone-shape corsets and trench coats, actually there were many, many trench coats to be seen.  Long, short, cropped, see-through, lace, deconstructed.  Other trends I noticed were polka dots and stripes. Especially spotted tights and socks.  Plaid, denim and digitally printed fabrics, and lots of black, white and khaki – or khaki themed colours.  Rick Owens showed why he’s still a sophomore and has so much to learn with his origami inspired but boring repetitious designs, with his models looking like cadavers.  I know it’s harsh, but come on!  Honestly, the media is turning these designers into god-like figures and why? Not a lot of them have done the hard yards and spent the time learning their craft like the great masters.  The media needs to slow down their instant appreciation and take a good bloody look!  Valentino was beautiful, but there was nothing really new on offer.  Where is fashion heading?  Where is the inspiration?


Is this is a reflection on the current economic climate, because it would be a shame if it is because I would have thought that in order to help us out of the doom and gloom designers would have bestowed upon us colour and light and traditional spring frivolity.  Givenchy‘s models positively oozed death-warmed-up – of course leave it to Kaiser Karl to top all the shows with his Chanel haybarn showdown.  No gloomy-faced models there, no they were all smiling and happy and flirtatious.


I have put together some favourites, some that are doing their best to evoke spring and some well, they just have to be seen to be believed.


Balenciaga

Dyed and treated leather that looked like denim, kilts woven and vertical and horizontal stripes.
Gorgeous urban looks, the tightest of jeans and tailored pants, hoodies and futuristic prints.  I guess not what one would call a traditional look for spring, but I loved it anyway. 

Balmain

I love these military jackets, very Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.  Daria’s tee looks as if she’s actually escaped a war zone!  Grecian / Roman influence is still prevalent in many of the Parisian designers looks.

Balmain has stuck to its shape from last season, squared shoulders, tight and distressed jeans, disheveled clothing, sorry, I mean that sexy just got out of bed look.


Chanel

Chanel outshone its competitors – not a difficult feat in light of the visionary Karl Largerfeld at the helm. Pretty dresses, ballet slipper ribbon inspired shoes, cupie dolls and french maids all in a row.
Deconstructed lace, batwing arms, patchwork, plaid and checks.
Lily Allen rocked the house of Chanel.

Colette Dinnegan
Colette didn’t fail with her gloriously pretty, feminine designs.
Spotty hosiery, black and grey prevailed, but oh so feminine.
Flirty, flouncy, lace, embroider and short skirts.

When she used colour, oh what colour!  I love this red and orange printed frock with just a hint of a bejewelled bodice poking through.  And simple green elegance, just divine!


Christian Dior by John Galliano


Oooh! The corsets and the tailoring, the pleating and the chiffon!  Soo delicious! 

I am loving the little tailored trench jackets here.  I would LOVE to have this one on the left.
Galliano is obviously still influenced greatly by the 30s and 40s – no problem with that, I love it too!
Pure glamour and sophistication!

Stunning!  J’adore everyone of these designs, particularly the little black one with the purple flower detail.  The colours are just so POW!  Just what I would expect from Dior and for spring, oui?


Jean-Paul Gaultier

Body armor and trench coats, such a mixture of textures and themes here.  
There is an underlying 80s theme in the collection, and the hair, well one cannot deny the Cyndi Lauper-esqueness of it all!

Givenchy by Ricardo Tisci


I loved this collection, it was beautiful.  I was disappointed with it too however because I felt we were not seeing anything new from Ricardo.  And the models, well they looked like they were the walking dead, not really something you want to emulate when thinking of Spring I expect?

Alexander McQueen
McQueen has just outdone himself with this collection.  The digital prints are out of this world!  I would give anything to see this collection in the flesh and not just online.  I bet the detail and tailoring is utter perfection.
McQueen truly is the master of avant garde for me.  He is always unexpected, he opens my eyes every time.



Sonia Rykiel

Stripes, quilting, shorts, skirts, suits, mini berets, jumpsuits and lots and lots of colour!  J’adore this collection!  I want every piece of it!


Stella McCartney
I think this would have to be the most wearable collection of the spring runway.  I just love the denim skirts and Stella’s gorgeous tailoring and colour palette. 

Flowing, folds of gorgeous spring fabrics, j’adore!

Très comfortable chic, oui?

Frocks to frolic in, can’t you just see yourself springing along the footpath en route to a fabulous spring party?



Valentino
Just so elegant and beautiful.  But alas, where is the spring colour palette? 



Yves Saint Laurent
Very 80s inspired, I’m sure my Mum used to have something just like this in her wardrobe all those years ago.  But isn’t it gorgeous?  It’s like he’s gathered the fabric and just wrapped it around the model and tied it all together with a simple belt.  

What could be more spring than strawberries?  So pretty and fresh, love it.


Louis Vuitton – sorry, hated it, especially the stupid afro wigs – blah!


Honorable Mention – Hussein Chalayan

Sexy, nautical chic, divine!





To my dear and darling best friend Kirsty, congratulations on the birth of your new daughter Maisy Rose.  She looks divine, I can’t wait to meet her in person!  My love to you and your family on this momentous occasion. Love you! xxxoo






Ciao for now,


Hx





Sources: all images from Style.com – with thanks.

I Love Paris in the Springtime…

It’s Paris Fashion Week and the designers are showing their 2009 Haute Couture collections for Fall and Winter.
The city of blinding lights is well and truly abuzz with the glitterati, the oh-so-fabulous and without doubt, the seriously cashed-up!

Here are some highlights I just had to share for their beauty, their innovation and their exquisitness.

Enjoy! Hx



Giorgio Armani Privè

Ricardo Tisci for Givenchy.

Chanel



Colette Dinnigan

John Galliano for Christian Dior

Jean-Paul Gaultier

Christian Lacroix



Valentino

I’m in heaven… how about you?

Thank you to JakandJil for the Givenchy images and to Courtorture for the others.

Sonia Rykiel: Queen of Knitwear

This year Paris’s enigmatic legendary designer celebrated 40 years on the fashion scene with a show that was according to one lucky attendee, (unfortunately not moi) the most spontaneously exuberant and genuinely fun fashion event in recent history.

Sonia Rykiel’s eponymous label was founded in 1968 wither her first boutique opening on the Rue de Grenelle on the Left Bank in Paris.  Aside from window-dressing her father’s shops in her teens, Rykiel had no formal training.  Later she began creating her own maternity sweaters out of necessity when she couldn’t find what she wanted in stores.  In 1962, Rykiel went on to sell her sweaters under her husband’s label “Laura” and when one made the cover of Elle magazine, it brought her fame and in 1970 she was dubbed the “Queen of Knits” by fashion bible Women’s Wear Daily. 
 

“I didn’t have a métier. I was supposed to be a mother, like my mother, who didn’t work. I had two children — Nathalie and Jean-Philippe. My husband had a boutique called Laura. I wanted a maternity dress and I couldn’t find anything I liked. Everything was abominable. So I made one. Then I made a pullover. Elle put it on the cover. Then WWD elected me the queen of knitwear.” Sonia Rykiel to Women’s Wear Daily.

Rykiel is famous for inventing inside-out stitching, no-hem and ‘un-lined’ pieces that reflected ‘la de-mode’ or rather ‘un-fashion’.  This new philosophy  allowed women the freedom to dress for their personality.  She encouraged women to use their head to create fashion for their body rather than be told what to wear and how to wear it.  

Sonia’s Spring 2009 collection in my opinion was the most gorgeous collection of colour, fabric and femininity I have seen in a very, very, very long time.  There wasn’t one piece from this collection that I would not wear.  It was pure perfection, pure girlishness, dreamy, sexy, and heavenly all at once.

The author of several books, Rykiel began to incorporate words into her designs. “I feel more like a novelist than a fashion designer,” she commented to the International Herald Tribune ‘s Suzy Menkes. “Someone who writes a new chapter each season, including everything I see around me.” And what she has seen around her becomes emblazoned on slinky dresses and the fronts or backs of sweaters variously inscribed “Moi,” “Fête,” and “Plaisir,” among others plus English words: “Artist,” “Ready,” “Black Tie,” and “Black is Beautiful” have also been included.

First I destroyed, undid what I had made. I wasn’t satisfied with it, it wasn’t me. It didn’t relate to me. It was fashion, but it wasn’t my fashion. I wanted to abolish the laws, the rules. I wanted to undo, overflow, exceed fashion. I wanted to unfold, unwind it. I wanted a lifestyle appropriate to the woman I was…this woman-symphony who was living the life of a woman mingled with the life of a worker.
I wanted airplane-style, travel-style, luggage-style. I saw myself as a woman on the go, surrounded by bags and children…so I imagined “kangaroo-clothes,” stackable, collapsible, movable, with no right side, no wrong side, and no hem. Clothes to be worn in the daytime I could refine at night. I put “fashion” aside to create “non-fashion.”
—Sonia Rykiel

During the evening-gown section of the Spring 2009 40th anniversary show – long tanks and feathery halters and tiers ruffled to the floor—some of the guests started tossing roses at the models. Soon the runway was covered in flowers the color of Rykiel’s dresses.  The runway then broke into a dance party when they came out again in taffeta mini-dresses. A few even conga-lined it straight into the audience.

Well, maybe I would re-think wearing this Jean Paul Gaultier for Rykiel over-sized knitting needle sweater… but I do love the play on Sonia’s hair, it looks like almost all the models went down the runway with their hair emulating Rykiels famous locks.

In 1996, the French government showed its appreciation by awarding her the Legion d’Honneur. Today, her label encompasses lingerie, accessories, children’s clothing, menswear, and beauty.  It is still a family-owned business with Rykiel’s daughter Nathalie as president and artistic director.

It is not surprising then that Sonia Rykiel has been likened to Coco Chanel, even being called “Coco Rykiel” at one time.  Much like Coco Chanel, Sonia Rykiel fell into designing, she challenged the standards and broke the rules and has become successful many times over because of her innovation, her strength, her intelligence, her flair, panache and elegantly simple style.

A woman to be admired, oui?

Images from Google.

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