Betty Catroux at Musée YSL

When walking down the streets of Paris, you just can’t miss the street posters promoting the current exhibition at Musée Yves Saint Laurent. A naked woman sits on a sofa, with her icy blonde hair and big sunglasses. It’s of course the iconic Betty Catroux. In 2020, the YSL museum is devoting a special exhibition to Catroux, the one and only Saint Laurent “female double.” The pieces displayed in the exhibition come from a major donation Betty Catroux has made to the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent back in 2002. The museum gave Anthony Vaccarello (Saint Laurent’s creative director) carte blanche for curating this event. The designer approached Betty Catroux’s wardrobe from an aesthetic perspective by selecting the pieces that best reveal her unique personality and ongoing influence on the label’s signature style. “She lives and breathes Saint Laurent. An allure, a mystery, an almost nefarious aspect, an elusive yet desirable nature, all that underlies the house’s aura, and you understand the magnitude of it when you meet Betty.” That elusive aura is perceivable all over the space. Approximately fifty designs show the extent to which Betty Catroux embodied Yves Saint Laurent’s physical ideal and an attitude echoing the “masculine/feminine style” that he was developing when they first met at the nightclub The New Jimmy’s in 1967. Yves immediately fell in love with her androgynous look, which was radically different from the usual codes of femininity and seductiveness and remains the subject of ongoing fascination. Below are some photos I took during my visit. To read more about the museum, here’s the post I wrote about the place when I was here about a year ago.

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

The 2010s: Phoebe Philo’s Céline.

Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.

Phoebe Philo‘s Céline.

This one is no surprise to anyone who reads my journal for a longer while. Phoebe Philo’s contribution to 2010s fashion – through the medium of Céline – is exceptionally significant. Phoebe’s fashion wasn’t minimalist as many tend to sum up. It was eclectic. Intelligent. Feminist. Feminine. Intimate. Lasting. Beautiful. From all the photoshop-free Juergen Teller ad campaigns (feauturing Phoebe’s favourite women like Daria Werbowy and Joan Didion) and store interiors (they felt like home!) to the music playing during the fashion shows (Cymande’s “Dove“, Soul II Soul’s “Back To Life“, Method Man and Mary J. Blige’s “I’ll Be There For You / You’r All I Need to Get By”…) and the shockingly rare on-line shop absence for an established label like this, Philo’s Céline was the ultimate favourite of many people (including me) for different reasons. While Phoebe is still off the fashion horizon, just look at all the brands that turn to her collections for inspiration (or actually try to copy her…). Yes, yes, we’ve got Daniel Lee’s Bottega Veneta, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s The Row, Christophe Lemaire and Sarah Linh Tran’s Lemaire. But I really, really, really hope that 2020 will see Phoebe Philo’s comeback. Dreams come true!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki. Photos by Juergen Teller and Tyrone Lebon.

The 2010s: Prada, Of Course!

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Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.

Prada, Prada, Prada!

Miuccia Prada is certainly one of the most influential fashion designers of our time. Her fashion isn’t just fashion: it’s an on-going dialogue between art, society, culture, and at times even politics. Her Prada woman and man jump from being decadently eccentric to modernly elegant; they can be vagabond, they can be sophisticated, they can be bold in their neon nylons and printed banana shirts (so Jeff Goldblum!). In her 2010s collections, Prada turned her talent to the reivention of a more conventional expression of beauty, striving to modernize embellishment, taking fabrication and surface detail to unprecedented heights, fusing plastic with precious silks, showing cable knit alongside cable knit prints and cable knit embroideries, imagining and then realizing her own spectacular brocades offset by humble cottons borrowed from menswear. Nearly each collection Prada presented in this decade is iconic – and can be recalled by coining separate themes or words (Madame Frankenstein, Japan, pin-up girl, film noir, Margot Tenenbaum, sailors, pastels, stripes, The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant…the list goes on!). Noting other successes of Prada in the 2010s – like Fondazione Prada in Milan, re-opening the Linea Rossa line, the non-stop growth of Miu Miu’s allure – I really can’t wait to see how Miuccia shapes her 2020s…

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The 2010s: Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe

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Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.

Jonathan Anderson‘s Loewe.

The most succesful brand rebirth of the decade? Jonathan Anderson’s take on Loewe,  so the story of a sleepy Spanish leather house becoming one of the hottest labels in Paris. Anderson’s vision for the label defines the role of a creative director: everything, from the campaigns (photographed by the designer’s favourites: Steven Meisel, Gray Sorrenti or Jamie Hawkesworth) and branding (revived by M/M Paris) to store interiors and inspiring, visual communication, must be consistent, garden-fresh and, simply speaking, beautiful. But Anderson’s Loewe also thrives thanks to its desirable, yet non-mainstream products. The “Puzzle” bag became one of those timeless it-bags without even one, shouting logo on it. The clothes fascinate with their incredible, artisan detailings. Loewe shoes are the fine balance of pretty and ugly. Eclectic accessories (like Dumbo ears hat or cat face necklace) and capsule collections that rotate around unexpected themes (the best-seller “Paula’s Ibiza” line; the tribute collections to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and William de Morgan). The designer often compares himself to a curator, when explaining his role at Loewe. And this metaphor really fits.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

 

The 2010s: Gucci-fied World

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Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.

Alessandro Michele‘s Gucci-fication.

The day when Alessandro Michele was appointed the creative director of Gucci, nobody had a clue what awaits the brand. Not only the unprecedented commercial success was a surprise, but also the completely new and idiosyncratic way for a big fashion brand to communicate globally with its audience. Today, you can’t imagine the fashion world without Michele’s vision of Gucci: opulent, rich, gender-blurring and absolutely Italian. His womenswear surprises with splendor and grandeur: it’s romantic, over-the-top and finds inspiration in the least predictable places (like bootcamp Gucci or Dario Argento’s horrors). Michele’s version of masculinity has become fashion’s predominant one: an idea not just for men in skirts but of men embracing loveliness, textural richness and glamour – things that not a while ago were reserved largely for women. Alessandro does things in his signature, retro-infused aesthetic with consistency – whether we’re speaking of the advertising campaigns (they are always out-of-this-world and jaw-dropping) or collections that can always be mixed together, creating a Gucci look.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.