Paris Dispatch: Loewe and Dior Ask the Hard-Hitting Questions

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    Ok technically a bodice is the part of a woman's dress or shirt above the waist that doesn't include the sleeves, like a vest. A bodice is also kind of a vest. BUT WHEN WE SAY IT we tend to mean something with more of a corset effect.
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Leandra Medine | March 4, 2016

They delight the senses, too

I was not at Loewe this morning when Jonathan Anderson showed his Fall 2016 collection, but I felt an urgency to comment when I saw the pictures start to populate on Instagram. So I got to thinking, as I do, about how important being at a show really is. I played around with this notion last season when I reviewed Céline in a “thought process” piece via Instagram.

Ultimately, all the lingering question marks back then were enthralling. What was going on in that room? What kind of music was playing? Where were the tender moments, when every phone in the room raised for a unanimous look — prematurely identifying the specific garment of the season from an editorial point of view before it’s actually been stated?

But that’s not really how I felt about Loewe. On the contrary, I was mostly just delighted. He had models wearing leather cats around their necks. A ton of them wore gold chokers that looked like caged tubes, some matched with a single drop earring, too. There were paw prints on the shin-length socks that accompanied patent leather pumps and some of the fringe looks, coupled with very elegant carry-on suitcases at best, an homage to the Olsens of yore at worst, were the best I’ve seen. Tie ’em up if you’re bored, let ’em run wild and free if you’re busy. If Instagram has any say, though, the pièce de résistance of Loewe was the assortment of armor in the form of bustier.

If you weren’t at the show, and didn’t bother to take a full look following the show, you’d think those bustiers were paired over everything. They weren’t — they appeared just three times between the rest of the collection, rendered mostly in white, khaki and gray, but with a little bit of red and purple, too. Funny how social media can blow something out of proportion so quickly, eh?

But when I got to the Louvre later that day to see collection #3 since Raf Simons’ departure from Christian Dior, even just sitting down and waiting for the show to start underscored the difference between being there and not. This weird mental jog happens — a visual overstimulation that truly triggers the right side of your brain — when there is such a high condensation of fashion in one room. My head was spinning; the street style was insane. So much Gucci, so many frayed jeans. Where was that coat from? Should I wear a turtleneck with my slip dress? The frame of mind under which you surrender to a fashion show is so different when you’re already in it as opposed to simply scrolling through your phone. You see it through a divergent lens.

And for what it’s worth, by the way, the clothes at the show were good. Terrific in the same way that Lanvin was — it will sell! Sell! Sell!, but where was the fantasy? The escape! The imagination weaving! If I had to guess, this season was especially accessory heavy (each model held a minimum of one handbag, but a maximum of three — each more compelling than the next, all wore sunglasses and the jewelry was everywhere: fingers, ears, necks, arms) because those are the pieces that will move the needle forward until a new designer is announced.

And now I get why the big name designers are so important to some of these houses. They don’t just bring cache with them — they bring their dream boxes. It’s the difference between a room put together by a very competent carpenter vs. a decorator. The former gets the job done, and done well at that, but the latter brings an element of reverie and fancy. I’m ready.

Photographs via Vogue Runway; collage by Elizabeth Tamkin.

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  • EP

    Your conclusion about the Lanvin show is really different from what other prominent fashion critics have said. Why do you think some people found it so distressing while you seem to think it is pretty ok and sellable? Part of me feels like the strong negative reaction is due to bias felt from the ousting of Alber Ebaz.

    • Leandra Medine

      I know — the collection was essentially ripped apart. But what I saw was a buyer’s job done for them. The collection absolutely lacked the dream that alber weaves through his clothes — a vision that is mandatory for a glowing review to be put in place (i mentioned this in a previous review, but these creative directors are super important because they sell the vision to the people who sell the clothes — the editors, the buyers, etc) they’re never actually sold as they’re shown on runway — that’s the dream. what becomes tactile is exactly what you see at a show that kinda makes you yawn: well fit houndstooth suits and kind of simple dresses…it was commercial, which made it more boring to talk about, similarly to Dior, but not necessarily any less lucrative to low-common-denominator buy.

      • Lua Jane

        The fact is Man Repeller posts about any and all collections shown during the fashion month had proved to be the most relevant ones. Thank you guys!

  • http://www.hiiampaul.com/ hiiampaul

    Yes! Dior without creative director is like Chanel without Lagerfeld: Lovely classic bags, suits, shoes and why not, some dresses but that wouldn’t make me dream about twin dressing with an airport or wearing head to toe chanel to the spermarket.

  • Anna

    I really liked the prints and the necklines of these collections! But jewellery? Isn’t it a little too much? Or is it how most of the designers feel like this season?

  • Living Paula Blog

    Yes very different conclusions.

    Paula- http://www.livingpaula.com