Spring 2008 Couture Reviews
Chanel: …..Suzy Menkes for International Herald Tribune reports
‘In an exquisite collection (pictured above) - as delicate as it was romantic - Karl Lagerfeld took Chanel to where even Coco herself had never plunged: the ocean bed.
Whorls of conches, fan-shaped scallops and a hint of a pink tint were worked into draped skirts, jacket sleeves and tulle dresses that all showed a different and rounded facet of linear Chanel."Coquille Chanel!" quipped Lagerfeld in a pun on the French word for shell. "People think Chanel only did the jackets, but at the beginning there were all kinds of shapes," the designer said, referring to photos of a 1930s Coco wearing draped satin pants or ruffles of frothy lace. So the new jackets were rounded to the torso, the skirt draped seductively at the front or in waves of ultra-light material. A flash of sparkling buttons suggested sun glinting on water, while sleek, silvered party dresses evoked streams of moonlight. And this was a collection that - although the rounded tailoring was convincing - was focused on after dark’.
Valentino: Reports WWD
‘No airborne trapeze artists swinging by, no Annie Lennox tickling the ivories, no mega retrospective exhibition (at least not until June at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs). Rather, on Wednesday evening, Valentino said goodbye to fashion with relative discretion at a stellar show at the Musée Rodin. “We are very serene, very happy,” he had said on Monday. And, indeed, when he took that last walk down the runway after a 45-year run at fashion’s highest reaches, he maintained his composure as his audience jumped to its collective feet in wild appreciation. Evening meant bountiful expressions of all-out glamour — romantic chiffons, chic crepes, indulgent spills of beading, embroideries and frills — something for all of Val’s gals and then some. The only thing missing was a spot of Valentino red. That is, until the finale, when all of his models came out in identical simple red silk columns — a perfect expression of timeless elegance.
Backstage after the show, the mood was chaotic but ebullient. Seamstresses smiled through their tears, and Giancarlo Giammetti sipped a flute of Champagne through his television interviews. “He’s happy,” he repeatedly assured interviewers about the retiring couturier, who braved a wall of cameras to embrace his well-wishers. “He has such an incredible style and sense of playfulness,” said Liu. “What impresses me more than anything is his love for life’.
Christian Lacroix: Reports WWD
‘In a word, exquisite. Christian Lacroix redeemed a rather lackluster couture season on Tuesday with a collection that sparkled with haute joie de vivre expressed via stunningly beautiful clothes. Lacroix was inspired by his Patou past (he recently spent endless hours in his archives preparing for his exhibit now at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs), in particular the stage costumes he did while at the house, as well as by his beloved la Parisienne. "It’s very French," Lacroix said of his spring lineup, "but French seen through the American movies of the Fifties." Perhaps so, but who knows to what films he referred? Edith Head never whipped up anything like this. The show’s festive mood also took a page or two from the circus as Lacroix worked wonders with pastiches of silks, brocades, laces and embroideries. A recurring black ribbon motif lent folkloric charm and daring prints a tribal touch. Yet some time ago Lacroix made the decision to pare down, relatively speaking. Apparently — and happily — he has no intention of veering from that newfound sense of control. For spring, he exercised it masterfully, juxtaposing fluffy trapeze against saucy curves, pouf descendant against lanky goddess, textural montage against simple chiffon. It was captivating, and all that couture should be’.
Gaultier: Reports WWD
‘with mother-of-pearl glazes and fishtail skirts, it was a mermaid moment at Jean Paul Gaultier. In one of those serendipitous conjunctions that we call fashion, the shell inspiration that Chanel showed earlier this couture week floated to the surface at Gaultier.But it was not the only theme on the glassed-over runway, where satin was ruched to look like conch shells. At some point, the watery sirens with doused hair and droplets on their faces were beached on a tropical island. Cue for dense floral embroideries and Gauguin lovelies carrying floaty fabric sunshades (a familiar Gaultier accessory). Gaultier has an idea a minute and some of them — like hose printed with sailor tattoos — are too tricky and facile for what haute couture should stand for. But there was an effective mixing of showmanship and gimmicks with superbly crafted marine tailoring: the perfect navy blue spring coat or sailor pantsuits with chiffon flowing out below the knees. These soft pantsuits — including tops with seashell pockets — were some of the most convincingly wearable outfits we have seen in couture.On the other side of the ocean were the mermaid dresses, their narrow silhouettes fanning out with fringed mollusks or mother-of-pearl shells. They offered an opportunity for a lot of theatrics and a chance to be a siren of the night.’