Chic, Chic, Chic. Alaïa AW89

A few days ago, I discovered this delightful autumn-winter 1989 Alaïa collection, and it’s unbelievable how timeless all those Monsieur Azzedine’s designs are. Actually, they even get better with age. The colours (especially all the shades of curcuma!), the cuts, the softness of wools and cashmeres used in this line-up, the body-conscious eveningwear, which looks both seductive and comfortable… it’s all so good. And of course, it was presented on the rue de Moussy – the live & work space Azzedine Alaïa built in the Marais district of Paris that would become a welcoming mecca to models and clients. What’s interesting, it was unfinished when the designer presented his winter 1989 show a month after the regular season ended (Alaïa famously presented on his own schedule, when he felt finished, and not according to a calendar date). According to The Los Angeles Times, the glass-roofed space was leaky, dampening the models as they paraded in a collection that underlined some of the tropes the designer had staked out as his own: sculpted leathers and clingy second-skin knits. The flowing bias-cut dresses in shimmering metallics definitely looked even more spectacular as they were slightly wet. Below are some of my favourite looks from this highly underrated collection.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The French Charm. Patou Resort 2021

Since the first season, I’m following Guillaume Henry‘s steps at Patou, and I must say that with every single line-up, it gets better and better. I can’t believe this Parisian brand-and-designer match is still so underrated! The label released it’s resort 2021 collection now, when the clothes are arriving to the stores. Patou’s team pulled off this collection during the most severe days of lockdown in Paris. “Everyone was at home, exchanging ideas on Zoom,” Henry says. “My magic team!” The look book models are the Belgian singer Tessa Dixon and some of the Patou people – a lovely nod to the power of team-work. What they’ve come up with – despite it all – is a continuation of the optimism and joie de vivre of the house, grounded in that French-girl taste for useful, classic tailoring – which is spring-summer 2021‘s signature. The gold brocade dress, the feather-trimmed trousers, and the multicolored, stylized 1970s prints must have felt like a shot in the dark when they were designing them. But the most charming pieces were the most grounded ones. Henry has a delectable way of combining the French vernacular of down-to-earth, traditional work with flights of fashion fancy. Part of it was inspired by looking at vintage photographs of Les Forts des Halles, the porters at the old Les Halles market in the center of Paris, who used to wear felt hats to carry crates of farm produce. That’s where the oversized, turned-back-brim hats in his collection originated; one of his charming side strategies for keeping French regional working-class culture alive and relevant for a new generation. Also, you immediately think of Émile Bernard’s “Breton Women” paintings while looking at Patou’s black and white silhouettes – like the brand’s oversized, cocooning duffle coats styled with a white, hand-cut collar. Love!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.