The first day of fashion week felt like a present you’ve been waiting for for a long time, but in the end you didn’t really get what you wanted. Three collections: the boringly beautiful Dior (rumoured to be the last coming from Maria Grazia Chiuri), very obvious Jacquemus and the one-time-only Gucci show in the French capital, which from the three felt the most exciting. The last part of Alessandro Michele’s French trilogy (we had the 1968 student protest inspired advertising campaign and the memorable, ‘on fire’ resort 2019 collection in Arles) ended up in Le Palace, the historically famous club that used to be the Mecca for such night-goers like Yves Saint Laurent, Bianca Jagger or Karl Lagerfeld. Through the film that was played in the beginning of the show, we learned that the experimental theatre of Leo de Berardinis and Perla Peragallo served as a reference for Michele’s spring-summer 2019 creations. The clothes couldn’t be more theatrically dramatic, in the designer’s signature, eclectic sense. The models seemed to have played historical dress-up in an old, costume treasure chest just before the show. The overall style was quintessentially Alessandro: vintage-y, opulent, at points simply kitsch. Even though the designer champions gender fluidity in his collections, which is wonderful especially at such a globally renowned brand like Gucci, I honestly think that his latest line-up dug too deep in the past. Additional nostalgia was brought by Jane Birkin, who in the middle of the show stood up from her front row seat and started to sing the melancholic Baby Alone in Babylone. Don’t get me wrong. The spectacle (it can be hardly called a ‘fashion show’) was a masterpiece. But the fashion part, even if tried hard to remind of Parisian clubbing chic, was monotonously Michele who we see every single season. Aesthetically I absolutely can’t relate to this collection. How about the true Gucci customer? I guess anything goes.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
It’s funny that Martin Margiela‘s tenure at Hermès suddenly appeared on everybody’s lips after this year’s exhibition at Antwerp’s MoMu It took nearly two decades for the fashion industry to wholeheartedly appreciate the Belgian visionary’s contribution at the maison, that’s probably most associated with very-rich-women kind of ‘luxury’. At his eponymous label, Maison Martin Margiela, the famously anonymous designer used to redefine such terms as ‘avant-garde’ and ‘minimalist’ in one single garment – meanwhile at Hermès, it was a different philosophy. Tranquil, understated and low-key – that’s how the guests of his shows at Rue Saint-Honoré flagship store (12 in overall, between 1998 and 2002) described the atmosphere. So were the clothes, kept mostly in black, beige or navy. Fashion tends to forget its references, and as you can clearly see in images below, it wasn’t Phoebe Philo at Céline, Christophe Lemaire (he designed for Hermès before the current creative director, Nadège Vanhée-Cybulski) or The Row who were first to decide on making a perfectly tailored camel coat the focus of their collections.
For Margiela, ready-to-wear with a Hermès tag had to be of the best quality materials, made with the biggest attention to details (no flashy embroideries meant here) and with the aim to be worn for the next 20 years. This is what actual ‘luxury’ in fashion meant to Martin, even though he would never use that stabby and deprived of its meaning word. For a brief moment, Hermès was more than fancy foulards and bags (note: for spring-summer 2000, Margiela casted Jane Birkin as the show’s model, making a nod to, guess what, the Birkin bag). It was about the clothes, too, and very well constructed clothes: warm cashmere sweaters, crisp white shirts, masculine blazers, eternally chic black gowns. And sneakers – remember, we’re speaking of 90s / beginning of 00s, when only stilettos mattered on Parisian catwalks. There’s no surprise his shows weren’t received that well. Many thought that Hermès was just ‘boring’ with Martin’s conservative approach: those were the 90s, after all, and fashion loved FASHION. The time has shown, however, that those who bought Margiela’s Hèrmes were the smart ones. Finding pieces from that era is quite a struggle, and when you find anything, the prices are killer. Martin Margiela is an acclaimed designer for more than one reason, but his underrated creative direction and aesthetic at Hermès is… timeless.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
In honour of the World Photo Day, here’s a post devoted to one of the most intriquing image makers – and one of my all-time favourites – Jeanloup Sieff. Born in Paris, Jeanloup Sieff received a camera for his 14th birthday and since that moment he had a passionate love affair with it. Throughout his career, he introduced an innovative feel of eroticism to fashion photography that traditionally used to represent stiff, ice-cold models. In his hands, the camera adored the sitters and vice versa, making the shoot feel like more like a flirt. Often emphasizing a specific area of the body – mostly backs and bottoms – Jeanloup Sieff believed that ‘sometimes, the face is not interesting when the body is. Sometimes the face is a distraction.’
With his wide-angle black and white images, the French photographer caught the dramatic potential of light and shadow while he often added a touch of humour to his pictures, playing with situations and his, lets not hide the fact, sexy sitters. Obsessed by women like Françoise Hardy or Mia Farrow, Jeanloup Sieff also captured one of fashion photography’s most legendary male nude – the controversial image of Yves Saint Laurent in 1971, for his perfume Y. Also, one can’t forget the couple-shot of Jane and Serge, the up-to-now epytome of French love.
I think it’s the first time I’m writing about Roberto Cavalli on my blog – ever! Not that I dislike Cavalli’s style – the thing is, the good old Roberto and his extremely Italian, slightly indie chic lost its right path somewhere in 2007, within the appearance of pre-collections and “hate” towards anything “kitsch” (talking of you, minimalism). Even though the designer was at helm of his studio till 2015, the collections didn’t differ much, while the brand wasn’t appealing to a younger clientele. In fact, Peter Dundas initially seemed to be a lost cause. Not only as Roberto’s personal decision, but after his, ironically, Cavalli-style-inspired collections for Emilio Pucci, which didn’t excite either. After the second season (I’m on fence with the critic-slammed spring-summer 2016 fluo glamorama), however, Dundas catches attention, but not only because of his predictable bling-bling. To a surprise, autumn-winter 2016 collection, for both men and women, was a great nod towards Robeto Cavalli and his bright, golden years – flares, python leather, music band t-shirts and a lot of denim revive from the dust, gracefully. With Jane Birkin’s 70s attitude and a sharp walk, anyone can make these killer, waisted pants look hotter than… hell!