Boys Exit Courrèges

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Parisian fashion houses don’t stop playing musical chairs. While Clare Waight Keller and Natasha Ramsay-Levi are presenting their debut collections at Givenchy and Chloé respectively this September, Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant exit Courrèges after just two years of creative direction. The couple was hired in 2015 by French advertising executives Jacques Bungert and Frédéric Torloting, who acquired Courrèges in 2011 from the brand’s namesake founder André Courrèges. Although Courrèges was the 20th century synonym of fashion modernism in Europe, the maison‘s name appears to be not as well-known as Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel or Balenciaga today. Actually, reviving Courrèges seemed to be complicated since the very beginnings. First, other old French brands like Paco Rabanne and Vionnet where being revitalised at approximately the same time, evidently with greater funds and patience. Second, Sébastien’s and Arnaud’s sophistication and desire to keep Courrèges a rather quiet, celebrity-free brand is hardly possible in today’s industry – unfortunately. And that’s quite a pity, as their collections intriguingly redefined Courrèges codes in a truly modern way – no big venues or fuss, but  pure focus on the clothing.

According to the official statement, François Le Ménahèze, who was named president of Courrèges in April 2017, will announce the brand’s new designer when the time comes. But what does the future hold for the extremely talented Meyer and Vaillant? It’s worth remembering that the duo set aside their well-received by editors and retailers label Coperni Femme to focus on Courrèges. Will they return to their roots? Or are they planning a new venture into another fashion house? For now, lets look back at the boys’ achievements at Courrèges.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Revive Pierre Cardin, Please.

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Raquel Welch and Pierre Cardin photographed by Terry O’Neill.

I wish the house of Pierre Cardin went through a revival in a Courreges / Loewe kind of way. The heritage of futurist fashion left by Cardin would easily become a canvas for one of those ‘new league’ designers from Paris. Simon Porte Jacquemus, a match made in heaven if you ask me. His love for everything French and naïve would be unexpectedly translated into Pierre Cardin language. Glenn Martens of Y/Project – I can already see how this guy messes around with Pierre’s voluminous coats and geometric dresses, styling them with Chinese thrift shop heels and faux pearls. Oh, and the entire rebranding matter! Maybe M/M Paris can take this fantasy job? They are genius in everything they do. I hope that one day, Pierre Cardin will find a dreaming investor, who will spend a few hundred thousands to make this brand something more than just cheesy men’s blazers sold in declining shopping malls. Literally, this is what Cardin is today, unfortunately. And that’s a pity.

NET-A-PORTER

Everyday Armor. Marni SS17

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Marni is like nothing else. Why? Consuelo Castiglioni, same as Miuccia Prada, doesn’t care about others. That’s why collections of these two inspiring, assertive women always feel different from the rest. They are invisibly signed with their own signatures. But exceptionally this season, it’s Consuelo who wins the Italian game: her spring-summer 2017 collection is remarkably beautiful, and I might name it as the most brilliant  outing of all Milan-based brands we’ve had an occasion to see. Its drifty, baggy silhouttes in cream white; the “hips don’t lie” pockets on dresses and pantalons; unobvious sexuality concealed in those voluminous, draped pastel-green dresses. I have a soft spot for Marni and its modern concept, but for the last few seasons I had a sense that the ready-to-wear collections were monotonous, and Castiglioni rested on her (well deserved) laurels. Now, it’s different: I’m really into the layered-up looks which reassemble women’s armor for everyday routine. Standing ovations for this one!

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Rio. Louis Vuitton Resort’17

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All eyes are on Southern America in fashion industry, lately. A few weeks ago we had Chanel nailing frivolous dresses in Cuba; yesterday, Nicolas Ghesquiere presented one of his best collection to date for Louis Vuitton, in Rio De Janeiro. For resort 2017, the house chose another vacay-fit destination with an arty edge – after Monaco and Palm Springs, Brazil was the next stop for Nicolas during his Vuitton journey. Staged in futuristic Niterói Museum of Contemporary Arts, the utopian construction was designed by Oscar Niemeyer in the 90s. The erratic structure of the museum perfectly matched the modern attitude of Ghesquiere’s newest creation.

The concrete runway, surrounded by water, was as spiral as the high-tech cuts on the dresses; sporty windcheater coats and studded, “deconstructed” dresses oozed with athletic vigour and breezy softness. But even during his far-fetched travels, Ghesquiere always stays the same guy from Paris. The collection was filled with colour and flesh-exposing details, yes, but Parisian elegance was present in these cool, black pants, corset-tops and ecru blazers. Unconsciously (or not), the designer brough some old, good ideas  back from his cult Balenciaga-era. If you look through Ghesquiere’s Balenciaga time-line, and then see his latest Vuitton outing, the defiant, yet very feminine aura is alive. I missed it for the last few seasons, and now I’m very happy it’s back in form of unconventional flats and layered looks.

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Moreover, resort 2017 at Louis Vuitton is an important beauty statement. Forget the rule of “same hair for every model”. It’s all about the personality – from Tamy Glauser’s boyish cut to Natalie Westling’s untamed, ginger curls, Nicolas and Ashley Brokaw (model casting director) prove that Louis Vuitton girl is all about beautiful diversity. I respect them for that every season, honestly.

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Collage by me

System Hang. Louis Vuitton AW16

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Even Nicolas Ghesquiere needs a break. Although  Louis Vuitton‘s creative director look always into the future, and wants to be as fast as his muse, Lightning, the hero of Final Fantasy XIII and face of the house’s most recent campaign, this season it’s distinctly visible that Ghesquiere is having a throwback to his best Balenciaga and Vuitton moments. Not that the collection is bad – quite the opposite, this chic, luxe Tomb Raider girl is Nicolas’ long-term concept, which both excites and sells. But it just feels like the autumn-winter collection doesn’t have this sense of new, which is always conveyed in his collections. How many sweatshirts will we see, or those satin, sporty dresses? And why are the last-season’s patent-leather boots again in the show (well, because they were best-sellers – but I doubt whether Ghesquiere’s aim is to go Valentino’s path and become an accessory-loving, commerce-wise designer)? Believe it or not, but this collection looks usual and quite easy to pull off, and even more banal, when you are Nicolas Ghesquiere. Phoebe Philo can confess she is having a chill – but I doubt Vuitton’s designer, noting the capacity of the brand, can let himself for a system hang.

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