Ladies and Gents, This is PFW Dispatch #5
Before it’s a wrap, here’s a look at Saint Laurent, Chanel, Valentino, Stella McCartney and Giambattista Valli
Say what you will about Hedi Slimane; the man knows how to excite people. He’s garnered a sense of control over the anticipation factor in fashion show goers unlike any other designer — when you’re getting ready for a Saint Laurent show, you’re getting ready. What will he do next? What will the critics say? It’s a flurry of questions you want answered while you wait in a dark room at The Grand Palais, watching everyone trickle into their seats, and specific to this season, find yourself wondering about the neon laser beams dancing overhead.
Of course, the answer to the first question hasn’t varied too dramatically. If last season reminded us that the 90s can’t stop, won’t stop, this season traveled back one more decade to reminisce about that which we left in the 80s. Up first: pointy kitten heeled pumps and lurex socks. But did we want them back? Furthermore, there was a bout of sequins in varying animal prints worn as one-shoulder tops and cocoon style jackets. Also making an appearance were tight mini skirts, long men’s coats, and some well tailored pants and jumpsuits plus chokers that kind of look like a metal intestine wrapped around the neck.
The real question or point of compliment is in how dramatically Slimane is able to make his girls look so cool. To answer my above question — no, no one has been anticipating an 80s kitten heel redux. Except maybe the former cast of Teen Witch. But when they’re available and we can have them, will they look fresh? Probably. As for the suiting, nothing says power quite like it.
The same location the following morning called for a more dramatic, albeit hyper-literalized nod to art as fashion, or is it fashion as art? While Saint Laurent and Chanel had little in common beyond some version of black pumps and calf-length socks, important to note is the message.
Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” played a full eight minutes while we watched a legion of 89 looks — some literally riffing off the notion of fine art (dresses that appeared like palettes) — tell a story. While the clothing appeared decidedly wearable, the real sense of fun and mystification was probably in an array of accessories, like a knapsack spray-painted with the Chanel logo (some kid at Parson’s might be kicking himself because he didn’t do it first, or perhaps worse, because he did), and a headset-inspired choker featuring two large pearls that resemble speakers clasping the necklace at the collar bone.
The day earlier, Giambattista Valli and Stella McCartney debuted their spring collections in celebration of their respective women and that which gets her wheels churning.
McCartney featured some of the suiting she’s become famous for in neutral hues and dainty fabrics while playing with proportions on some of her dresses (cut and sewn together skirts in silk and chiffon, an elegant obstruction of a lady’s legs), and sheer overlays in the form of embroidered, see-through fabrics to cloak the modest silhouettes made sexy by the discernment of slip dresses, which in my opinion were the stars of her show. To look at a dress and think, “man, I want to wear that right now. It probably packs so easy” seems to be a key factor overlooked when considering the international fashion weeks and the travel it demands.
Where Giambattista Valli is concerned, peek-a-boo mid-length dresses, peplums, those now ubiquitous sheer overlays and a series of decidedly mini, extravagantly but subversively elegant shorts, dresses and skirts were, put simply, beautiful.
And where my fashion week ended yesterday at Valentino (which was actually a decade further into the distance at some iteration of an opera house), fringe duster-style coats and clutches, bright embroidery on various A-line gowns and mini dresses, indicative of an old world church, gold chain chokers, headbands, pinky rings and the gilded scarabs on the flat sandals which pervaded the entire collection, officially marked the end of the Rockstud and a whole new beginning for the same exact girl.
Now, where to find a cape?
Okay, your turn! Because at Man Repeller, everyone is a critic, we have to know: what do you think of these collections?