Dries Van NotenDries Van Noten’s famous prints took a turn into a Japanese garden this season as stylized orchids floated over T-shirt-shaped silk dresses and wide-leg pants. But the striking prints were broken off half way down the garments, as if the Belgian designer had changed his mind half way and used an eraser to wipe away the bottom half.
The luminous dip-dye effect continued on pants that were almost jeans (blue denim at the top trim and white the rest of the way down), colour-blocked blazers and gentled shaded coats which moved effortlessly from pink to mauve. Van Noten borrowed generously from a man’s closet, most notably with the oversized mannish shirts he used as a strict counter point to an abundance of feminine sheer veils with ombre overdyes.
Wallpaper’s next at-home art project with a man’s shirt: Mimicking the cotton skirt with curved hems and a waist tie with built-in sleeves
Dries Van Noten
Zac PosenIt is very clear that Zac Posen was feeling jazzed about his fashion debut in the French capital. Indeed, there was hardly a Parisian trick of seduction that did not get air time in this collection that dealt exclusively with after-hours dressing. Lace - check. Sheer inserts - check. Diamond cross chiffon - check. Shaggy ostrich feathers - check. Long colorful plumes - check. All of the above on the same outfit? Super check. It was irrationally exuberant and full of major drama, which is just the sort of thing an impact-seeking woman is looking for after dark.
One Parisian trick Wallpaper* will put to the test: the waist-obscuring Ostrich feather peplums
BalmainThe Balmain runway had enough metal studs and safety pins to stitch its way from Milan’s Via Gesù (the site of Gianni Versace’s original design studio) to one of the gritty London pavements that Sid Vicious occasionally passed out on. Despite the prevalence of the spike-like hardware that made itty bitty skirts impossible to sit down on (without injuring one’s self), it would not be accurate to categorize the collection as pure punk. And that is for one simple reason: these barely-there, ripped-up clothes are ridiculously expensive. Those torn fishnet stockings, smudged tank tops that seemed to have been used while someone painted the spare bedroom, not to mention all of the leather that had been slashed up in some hallucinant mental break (and then patched back up with hundreds of tiny safety pins upon cutter’s remorse) cost more than even the Sex Pistols ever had in their bank account. Ever. But look up close and you’ll see the incredible workmanship that it took to create new street trash for the very rich.
The newest pin cushion for the Wallpaper* office: the itty bitty leather shorts, entirely crusted in spikey safety pins and hard-edged crystal
Rick OwensApart from the horn hair pieces that looked like spatulas sticking out from the models’ tiny heads, this was the most real-world collection we’ve seen in a while from Rick Owens. Working with a fine cotton (that looked like silk taffeta), Owens dropped his skirt hems flat to the ground where they swept the floor in sophisticated dignity. Tops, sliced from the American designer’s signature paper-thin leathers, had arches cut into their hems and were positioned as if part of a big sartorial puzzle. This architectural layering, in which each piece seemed to fit in the cracks of the next, continued even with the shorter length skirts, as well as the sleeveless stiff coats that gave off the regal drama of a space invader ice queen. Let’s welcome the new romantic Rick.
What Wallpaper* plans to broaden its accessorizing horizon with come next Spring: Black bunny ear-shaped vinyl sandals and double flying saucer bicep bracelets.
Pretty, Pretty, Pretty. Is there anything else to describe the woman-friendly handiwork of Nina Ricci’s Peter Copping, former assistant to Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton? We don’t think so. Coping is an intrepid cutter but never pushes his work to weirdness. The flying volume of a petal chiffon dress is tamed with a figure enhancing waist cinch, pencil skirt broderie anglaise suits (printed to look like tweed) hit the knee just where they should, and skin is exposed enough to be flirtatious but never vulgar. Using stellar materials like silk gazar and duchesse satin, not to mention piles of shaved lace and chiffon. Copping delivered beautiful chic shapes in the most exclusively haute package possible.What Wallpaper* wishes Bjork would wear if she decides to reprise her swan moment: the fluffy, but tame, shaved silk crinoline vest paired with a drawstring leather skirt.
R.M. by Roland MouretNow that everyone has copied his sprayed-on dress silhouette, it was time for Roland Mouret to move on. Or, to be more precise, move out. Mouret didn’t propose anything drastically voluminous but his mid-calf dresses done in forgiving silk now have a softness that clearly reflect a loosening of the belt. Drooping pockets and draped-open neckline worked to underscore the more relaxed look as did wide leg culottes. But the sexy look that is the root of this brand still thumping - just in a different, more subtle way.
R.M. by Roland Mouret
R.M. by Roland Mouret
Christian DiorWith their Betty Paige hair, thigh skimming flared skirts and tropical island prints, it was clear that the Christian Dior models had made a stop off in a South Pacific port which just so happened to coincide perfectly with the US Navy’s docking schedule. They managed to nab a few floral leis (made from fabric) not to mention the hats off unsuspecting sailors. The hems were flirty and short, the colors happy and bright, while the embroidered layers of chiffon conveniently and frequently opened to reveal loads of skin.
The Wallpaper* choice for best fashion week outfit: the unstoppable John Galliano who this time bowed in—what else?-- a navy Sailor suit
LanvinThere is so much to love at a Lanvin show that we are forced with the unwelcome problem of how to discuss all of the magic in these brief few lines. We will confine our enthusiasm to the beginning and the end, which is really where designer Alber Elbaz made the most buzz this season. The first looks took themes of sport and couture to dizzying new heights. Elbaz used a compact, sporty material for racer backed tank tops with leather harness detail that were affixed to goddess silk skirts that flowed behind the models as if powered by an air machine. Our second skin tingling moment was his African power queen posse: 5 striking black girls stalking the runway in leaf printed silk outfits. The entire fashion crowd (a typically jaded lot) couldn’t help but cheer. And so did we.
Wallpaper’s plans for alternative power sources: the black shorts and long sleeve top encrusted with boulder sized crystals which gave off enough glare to light up Las Vegas.
There’s a reason that Vivienne Westwood is known as the grand damne of runway kookiness and her spring show – stuffed with more themes than Disneyland showed
why. Cowboy hats, mummy masks, tutu skirts, grand gowns and giant chandelier earrings made it difficult to discern whether we were looking at polished ingénues or disheveled chamber maids. Add to that the models hair (and faces)
that were smudged in paint, and you begin to have an idea of the multitude of creative influences stoking Ms. Westwood this season. Designing by the proverbial ’kitchen sink’ meant that we saw fabrications as diverse as woodsman plaids, brocade matched with pajama striping, vertical circus stripes, and sheer blue plastic overlays which gave a clear view of the pop arty designs worn underneath.Wallpaper’s choice for total sun block protection: the blue silk face mask with neck ruffle which is guaranteed to have an SPF 6,000
Junya WatanabeStripes are the graphic choice of the season, but in Junya Watanabe’s hands it is as though they have been seen through a kaleidescope. Starting with that ultra French classic, the Breton Tshirt, the designer worked her blue and white and black and white theme in an increasingly distorted manner. Stretching, morphing, moving just like a figure in a funny mirror, this was the season’s most creative take on lines.
Viktor & Rolf
Dutch duo Rolf Snoeren and Viktor Horsting constantly play tug of war between the aesthetic worlds of men and women, and this season they used one of their pet garments- the mannish white shirt—as their game’s protagonist. Starting with a shirt that looked like multiple shirts layered up the arm with giant repeating cuffs, the designers began a game of deconstruction that put collars on pink taffeta pajamas, tuxedo bibs on smock dresses, button downs on ball gowns and cuff links on baby doll dresses.
Wallpaper’s three in one special: the electric blue feather striped bib dresses with triple sleeves.
Viktor & Rolf
Jean Paul Gaultier
Leather and lace can only mean one thing: the sartorial trappings of a rockstar. At Jean Paul Gaultier, those elements together with Joan Jett mullets in all black or cotton candy pink plus smoked out eyes made the models concert ready. Black lace body suits peaked out under red vinyl biker jackets or were pieced together on dark denim jackets and skirts, while fish net stockings came printing into exotic jungle prints. Bright white or red piping traced space trek shoulders and set the stage for the planetary prints that featured a galaxy worth of stars and super novas.
The wardrobe choice for Wallpaper’s extraterrestrial excursion: Star spangled banner orbit prints
Jean Paul Gaultier
British designer Stuart Vevers has only recently taken Spanish leathergoods brand Loewe out of a static presentation and onto the moving runway. The distance from which his viewers saw the clothes meant that something had to pop, so Vevers chose electric colors – from candy pink, and poppy red to salmon pink and lemon yellow.
Loewe is all about luxurious leathers, so expertise led to buttery suede dresses and cullots as well as fruit colored leather dresses encircled with skinny belts. Vevers kept the proceedings upbeat and decidedly girly pulling his girls’ hair into long pony tails, using fluttering butterfly prints and lots of sparkle, including 1990s pointed kitten heels crusted to the max.
Wallpaper’s handbag destined for Easter Sunday: a lavendar ostrich skin square purse with bright yellow ultra long strap.
AkrisWhat we love most about an Akris show are the intensely special fabrics that have been given a secret Swiss treatment. Usually, the effects are indiscernible from the fashion show seating plan-- one must get up close and personal to fully appreciate the finery. Though that was true for spring’s dear skin leathers which melted in our hands when touched later in the showroom, it wasn’t the case for the paper thin cottons, used for wide sleeved roomy shirts with irregular hems, which had such a crispy hand you could almost hear them crackling from the runway. Creative director Albert Kriemler also introduced upscale tailored denim woven from fine Sea Island cotton, parachute silk and a wool and linen mix with a weighty drape but a cool feel alongside the gauzy double-faced wools that Swiss brand is known for. Also noteworthy were the oversized marine and floral photo prints.
CélineIn her Spring collection for Céline, Phoebe Philo continued her personal discourse on minimal dressing that has single handedly changed the fashion conversation over the last year. Philo’s preference for pared down shapes was indulged on her key silouette: airy cotton tunics or curved hem long shirts which she paired with low slung fluid trousers with gold zip fronts. The clothes floated on that delicate balance between structure and looseness while a palette of largely white and cream underscored her message of purity and restraint. Even when decoration came it was handled with an antiseptic cleanliness like on the sharp colored lines that brought border framing to prints which resembled mosaics of stained glass. Wallpaper’s favorite new color pairing: royal blue cotton shirt that popped off a marron glace colored mid calf leather skirt.
John GallianoA John Galliano fashion show is never just about the clothes, no matter how dramatically mad-couture they may be or eccentric their reference point. Just as important is the location; which in this case was Paris’ Opera Comique looking very similar to a five tiered red velvet cake. Also fundamental is Pat McGrath’s makeup which gave the models a sultry 1920s showgirl look, complete with black sweetheart lips. And absolutely crucial is the wild hair (frizzed orange tufts among other varieties) and hat creations made by Stephen Jones that combined 1980s sport (think terry cloth visors) with fragile bride (sheer veils which masked the face and often trailed behind the models in great swags of tulle). In the middle of this creative explosion were the clothes—inspired by an early 20th c. Parisian actress, Maria Lani—which featured multiple layers of bright mousseline, gauze and tulle amongst sparkling bias cut gowns and giant wind-puffed circular cut trousers.
What Wallpaper plans on running out of Paris with: the hard case crocodile suitcase dangling in necklaces and half-closed upon a tulle dress
Givenchy by Riccardo TisciLeopard print is a fashion favorite but most designers pluck it from a sugary sweet jungle and pair it with an ultra feminine silhouette and a pair of kitten heels. At Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci has made this spotted animal skin (printed versions, of course) hard-edged and architecturally right on the lapel of a biker vest, or sleeveless coat blocked in black and white. Tisci’s talent with cutting means that his collections will always be high on the tailoring quotient and this season was no different with an abundance of razor sharp sleeveless jackets, coats and bootcut funnel pants. But the designer’s big news was his contribution to the layering story that has gained snowball-like traction this season. A perfect example of the multiple stratums saw boot cut black pants under black zippered minis skirt while a leopard print sheer full length skirt was worn over shorts but under a zippered mini dress and sleeveless jacket. And that was, remarkably, all on the same outfit. When panty hose just feels too confining, Wallpaper* will try: Givenchy’s sheer pants that looked like black hosiery.
Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci
Stella McCartneyThere’s often a cool 1970s undercurrent to Stella McCartney’s shows, and this time we were taken back to that era with the vintage looking, non-distressed denims, the A-line knee-length skirts (with flats) and the cornucopia of lemons and grapefruit that looked very much like a tablecloth from Pat Nixon’s White House years. Still, this did not register as overly retro. On the contrary, single-tone pantsuits (with slightly loosened jackets and higher-waist straight trousers), plus loose Bermuda shorts and wide-bell sleeve tunics were more practically chic than fashionably excessive. In between the no-nonsense Mommy’s-going-to-work wear were off-time long silk dresses with multiple vertical slits that showed plenty of thigh silk. And those sizzled right off the runway.
Wallpaper’s favorite furniture to fashion moment: the round edged shoulder bags with Thonet-style wicker bar chair weave on the front
ChloéThere were no more than 4 colors in the Chloé show – black, white, nude and cherry red – and not a single print but designer Hannah MacGibbon managed nonetheless to create a collection that was far from flat. Using draped jersey and chiffon she crafted one shouldered gowns or long skirts with an updated Madame Gres flair, using skin-tight long-sleeved body suits in the same tone as a sporty counterpoint. Off-duty ballerinas, these women were not, though their flat slippers or gold metal low-block heels did give the impression of someone who was finding chic respite from an exhausting life ’en pointe’. The tailored sportswear was just as ’real woman’ with minimal cream and white coats with front slits and low funnel collars and pants that hit the mark in their ability to walk the tight rope between a silhouette of off-duty sweat pants and office appropriate trousers.
The only way Wallpaper* would (ever) consider wearing a bullet-proof vest: Chloé’s red coat with gold metal and leather breast plate worn underneath.
Yves Saint LaurentIn one of his most wearable collections for Yves Saint Laurent yet, Stefano Pilati generously checked off a laundry list of French fashion mainstays: the sleek belted trench, the pencil skirt to the knee, the bow front blouse, the jumpsuit and the long-sleeved hostess dress. But none of this Gallic wardrobe staples felt dusty in the hands of the Italian designer who confidently made each his own, adding great color (tangerine and turquoise), geometric cuts (both on the curve and on the 90 degree angle) and fluid fabrics that clung to the skin without strangling it. The collection appeared sleek and streamlined, but at the same time had a healthy dash of sexiness in the suggestive cutting and caressing fabrics that has so far alluded many designers who are wandering down the path to undecorated minimalism. The designer’s only real brush with decoration this season was the optimistic ruffles that trailed down skirts diagonally or horizontally across sleeveless dresses, just giving an oh-so-subtle nod to the founding father of the house of Yves Saint Laurent, yet doing it absolutely in his own way.
Wallpaper’s recommendation for breezing your way through Airport ID: The gold disc necklace stamped with finger prints
Yves Saint Laurent
Holy Moly. Karl Lagerfeld went positively spotty at Chanel this morning, burning what looked like giant cigarette holes into the House’s precious tweed jackets and poking small dots into washed black denim jeans. That started a graphic game of black, blue and white, as the black or navy pierced garments allowed stiff white cotton shirts or dresses to gleam through the darkness. Though the tattered tweeds and jeans, not to mention platforms that looked like boat-barges, gave the proceedings a youthful flair, there were still plenty of pieces for Chanel’s established ladies of all seasons. Take for example the mid calf cocktail dresses fashioned out of stiff black crinoline or the black sheer dresses, which sprouted dramatically long, feathered collars and shoulders. And as for the tweed hot pants paired with cropped metallic trimmed jackets? Well let’s just say that they’d suit any woman with a killer set of bronzed legs.
Wallpaper’s recommended induction age to Chanel: a cool 2 years old just like the toddler done up in a chambray and white tweed jacket that matched the male model who tugged him along the set in the Grand Palais.
When Mr. Valentino Garavani shot up out of his seat to give a standing ovation at the Valentino show, sophmore designers Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri must have known they had a hit on their hands. Focused to a fault and resolutely respectful of house codes, the collection did everything it should do: make women exquisitely beautiful, but in a modern and fresh way. The beauty came in the form of fluttery silk chiffon and jersey dresses - some with Swiss dot embroidery - in flattering long sleeved styles, with A-line skirts. Triple tiers of ruffles along the neck or waving vertically down the front of dresses looked good enough to eat. The newness was in the treatment of the lace - blocked to include both nude and black on the same dress - as well as the leather touches, which, even when flounced, added a harder edge.
McQueenDesigner Sarah Burton’s debut at the House of McQueen was a respectful homage to the late designer. And how could it not have been? Burton was McQueen’s right hand woman for the last fourteen years. It was obvious that that was sufficient time for her to absorb not only the design vocabulary unique to her former boss but also his preference for show-stopping performance pieces, each treated like a singular work of art. Burton worked on signature McQueen silhouettes: sharply tailored jackets with stiff peaked shoulders, cut-away tailcoat jackets, low slung drainpipe trousers and mini dresses with stand-away molded hips. The wow factor came from unusual workmanship that saw hand-frayed silk becoming rows of hairy string, straw being woven into elaborate rows, layers and layers of orange butterflies and plenty of gold-leaf filigree worked down sides of pants and across jackets. Jet beading was executed beautifully on a mini dress,while a spectacular ball gown with a mermaid skirt looked dipped in black dye.
What Wallpaper* will wear as soon as the fall leaves hit the pavement: a dress made entirely from leather leaves
WunderkindThe skirts at Wunderkind – printed with cheerful cherries, strawberries and pansies – were some of the perkiest we’ve seen in Paris. Fluffed up with multiple layers of crinoline, they swagged and bounced with deep pleats revealing hidden gingham prints. The sweetness was contained only by fitted khaki or navy cotton mens’ jackets. With large striped hose and their hair pulled into 4 simultaneous ponytails (their scalps divided like plots of farm land), the models appeared to be a mix of Dutch maid and posh Pippi Longstocking.
The Susan Sontag quote found on the chairs at Louis Vuitton insisted (here paraphrased) that ’camp taste is only possible in societies capable of experiencing the psychopathology of affluence.’ Vuitton, one of the world’s largest luxury goods brands, is one such society. And the set Marc Jacobs rolled out for its spring show – with giant taxidermied tigers wearing gold fringe necklaces atop zebra skin carpets – certainly had more than a little flash of camp. So too did the clothes which emerged out from a curtain of gold and black metal chains onto a sumptuous runway of black marble. Jacobs unabashedly channeled some of the biggest designers of the 1980s, giving us colored silk pantsuits with zebra and tiger stripes, sequin obi belts and lurex suits done up in jewel tones. Two piece silk outfits were dotted all over with fringe-balls while longer jet fringe sashayed over mid-calf tube dresses with tips of color. Jacobs himself took a bow in true camp style, wearing black pants, a black silk satin shirt and conspicuously chewing on a mouthful of gum.
Wallpaper’s plans for channeling Jungle Fever: the white silk suit with one leg entirely printed with giraffe spots and the jacket featuring the rest of the animal wrapping its head and neck around the garment’s frontside.
HermèsJust before the start of Jean Paul Gaultier’s swan song at Hermès, the curtains of the Halle Freyssinet were pulled back to reveal a paddock where eight gleaming stallions were trotting and sidestepping underneath a ceiling of crystal chandeliers. It was a perfectly pitched backdrop to a collection that was as effortlessly elegant as it was true to the haute and horsey legacy of the French brand. The models wore increasingly sophisticated variations on riding outfits, including skin-tight riding pants, billowing silk shirts and belted jackets in leather or silk chiffon. The pants were tucked in to either flat or high-heeled riding boots – an Hermès staple – when not paired with open toed booties. Each look, including long jersey dresses with chiffon capes, was rendered in a muted earth tone and was the essence of pared-down sophistication. Riding crops and flat Spanish matador hats, meanwhile, gave the collection a subtle frisson of sex.
Think of a 1940s silk hostess dress in a silvery pewter. Now lop it off below the knees, add a fire engine red stripe down the front and cover the sleeves and bodice in a gothic black. That was one of many ways that Miuccia Prada re-worked the classics this season for Miu Miu. Other thrillers included round-shouldered gold leather bomber jackets with Deco-style appliqués and stylized star bursts that exploded over long A-line skirts and loose, short-sleeve blouses.
The only kind of red carpet Wallpaper* wants to walk on: Miuccia’s wood boarded runway painted a lipstick red. ’I was thinking about everyone’s obsession with being famous,’ she said post show.
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