At Paris Fashion Week, It’s All About The Ladies
Paris Dispatch 1: Vaccarello, Dries and Rochas
There’s a difference between the designer who designs for a woman who wants to feel sexy and the one who designs for a woman who wants to look sexy. Anthony Vaccarello ascends from the former group. The evidence is in what he does with traditional suiting: the manipulation of his jackets and skirts and even the dresses, the large metal circular bolts which from a distance resemble polka dots but up close tell a story far more intricate. And even the most provocative strapless short dresses, the leather bandage holding them together and the way in which they reveal a lot–but not too much–allude to one truth: these clothes are only for the woman who wears them.
Dries van Noten, who showed yesterday at Halle Freyssinet, has also mastered the art of making a lady feel like the best version of herself. The show opened with a white tank dress adorned by large, dramatic gold fabric ruche-work that made up the dress’s macro-trim and was perhaps slightly too resembling the Queen of England’s large intestine (it’s got to be gold, right?).
The rest of the show included the insouciant nod to Asian culture that runs through the veins of all his clothes in a subtle dark-based floral print vest and a longer version of a needlepoint coat. There was fringe. There were navajo inspired, enormous size bags. Linda Farrow’s sunglasses for the brand functioned as the cherry on top of a well-executed styling job, and if I had to share my one sentence recap it might sound something like: newsboy of Native American descent moves to the left bank of Paris.
The thing about Dries van Noten is that he’s got this mysterious way of taking the simple and making it not more complex, but more interesting. It was evidenced last fall in his use of traditional men’s tailored shirts and his embellishing them across full panels on their fronts. This season the craft revealed itself in his romantic blouses, mille-feuille layers and one particular Victorian-style sleeveless cropped-in-front, gown-in-back blouse.
Meanwhile, at Rochas, the ladies were ready to serve tea, but only to each other. The 41 looks appeared as a cross between highly ethereal, mystical, slightly nostalgic and curiously metropolitan. Maybe it was the long coats and duty-length skirts that ironically delivered a modern edge while maintaining the unfiltered sniff of womanliness or, I don’t know, the fact that Big Bird, a New York native, lent his feet to two such models, who moonlit as The Postmodern Dames at the show. What’s beautiful about a collection that bleeds such a streamlined, categorical, no-way-to-see-it-otherwise air of femininity is that sense of untrammeled celebration.
Of course, the question to be canvassed is in what it means that all three designers—who are delivering such a distinct and tangible nod to The Woman—are men.