Categories: Fashion & Beauty
In fashion circles much is often made of a ‘fashion moment’, but in truth they are few and far between. On Sunday in Paris Hermes treated us to an unforgettable one for Jean Paul Gaultier’s swan song collection for the house. Whisperings via Twitter of horses waiting in the wings started a buzz of excitement in the audience. When the curtain rose, there were gasps of delight as a troop of Spanish dressage horses was revealed under twinkling St Louis chandeliers. As the models strode out in leather outfits topped with gaucho hats, all eyes were on the performers behind. A truly breathtaking visual spectacle.
The fashion editors’ show of choice and the must-have ticket of Paris fashion week. Phoebe Philo is now on her third season at the helm of the rebranded Celine. This show is the reason that, in six months, everyone will be wearing fluid, wide-leg trousers. Every exit was more covetable then the last. Favourites for the Observer were a deliciously simple plunge V-neck black dress, and the decadent paisley print silk ‘pyjama’ suits. Now we just need the luxury lifestyle and bank balance to go with them.
A sprawling monochrome garden stretched the entire length of the Grand Palais, resplendent with three working fountains, for the Chanel extravaganza inspired by the film ‘Last Year in Marienbad’. We expect Amazon DVD sales to rocket among Chanel fans; we’ve already ordered our copy. Another plus was the inclusion of older models: ex-muse Ines de la Fressange and Stella Tennant both walked in the show. Chanel is the leader at transcending generations and we hope more labels follow suit. We still, however, need some convincing on the ‘motheaten’ tweed – we prefer our Chanel in one piece.
Flats shoes are back, thanks largely to Alber Elbaz at Lanvin. Last week’s show was delayed by an hour due to a last-minute footwear change after many models complained they could not walk in the towering heels. Monsieur Elbaz did the unheard of and rushed over flat alternatives for their comfort – what a gent! Other collections that embraced flat shoes were Chloe, who showed ballet pumps, and Valentino, where a flat copy of the ankle strap heels in delicate blush and lemon shades featured prominently.
After all the block colour in Milan, it was a pleasant change to see monochrome with a dash of leopard and excellent execution of the sheer trend at Givenchy. Riccardo Tisci is a designer with a touch for drama and darkness. His number one fan this season is French Vogue’s editor, Carine Roitfeld, who wore an exit from this collection to the Vogue 90th birthday masked ball a full three days BEFORE the show. As regular readers will know, anything that Carine approves we go weak at the knees for and become powerless to resist. Therefore this collection gets a big thumbs up.
A psychedelic dream scene featured comic book starbursts and lotus flowers rendered in multicoloured and metallic applique leather on boxy jackets. These were mixed with box pleat silk dresses, demure in silhouette and punky in prints and neon detailing. A garden of Eden snake wound around a tree on one and a serene swan swam across another. On the models’ feet were some of the best shoes of fashion week.
We’ve been banging on about fruit for what feels like weeks now. Ever since Banana earring gate it’s all we can do not to strap a fruit bowl to our heads and be done with it. Fruit fever struck again at Stella McCartney, in a vivid oranges and lemons print. It worked best on the silk tops and the double split dresses that flashed acres of thigh but somehow remained demure. The dresses picked up additional style points for having pleated skirts, another major trend for next season.
The Observer fashion department is inquisitive by nature – some might say nosy. There is nothing we like more then to peek into the finer venues Paris has to offer, and fashion week affords us this little luxury. As soon as we saw the manicured Yves Saint Laurent topiary outside the Hotel Salomon Rothschild, we knew we were in for a treat. An intimate salon show in the frescoed rooms followed, opening with the purest of white trench coats and closing with a shoulder-exposing, ribbon sleeve, halter neck billowing black crepe jumpsuit that was divine.
A new chapter began at Emanuel Ungaro with Brit designer Giles Deacon at the helm. Giles’s witty take on fashion was evident throughout the collection and the vibrant presentation scene. Vintage cars were covered in blooms, and butterfly sculptures hovered overhead. Guests were fed pastel-hued macaroons and trays of white chocolate truffles. The model casting was also more diverse then then the average catwalk, and even included Japanese Vogue’s Anna Dello Russo.
Fashion week isn’t just about the established names; every season, exciting new talent emerges. For S/S11 we are rapturous about the beautiful print-based collection from Calla. This collection is compact yet packed with pieces young women will want to wear and work into their wardrobes. The double-faced chiffon watermark lily print (Calla lillies, of course) blouse and maxi skirt were favourite pieces. We look forward to accessorising with the fantastically dark yet serenely beautiful jewellery from Yunas and Eliza, recent winners of thr BFC/Elle Talent Launch Pad. Theirs is a magical world, rich in fantasy, and one that we long to inhabit.