There are plenty of reasons i find myself biased when it comes to Prada since it’s hard for me to reason or justify most of her collections as something chic and worth-existing in the fashion world. This time,with sales decreasing,Prada worked with 50’s /70’s shapes and pastels (seen that before) as well as synthetic fabrics (nylon,neoprene) that made silhouettes look unnatural and cheap.The pants were so ill fitted that made me thing that,yes, they were made non chic on purpose!Using strategically placed adornments,the designer made dresses look interesting but seek no further than that.The accessories were brilliant,as always, sealing my idee fixe that Prada would flourish as an accessories’ designer.But just that,thank you very much.
Alessandro Michele’s Gucci show was a debut and one much expected.Still, there was no effort from the designer to meet any anticipations at all or constructing a personal sartorial vocabulary that would enable him to elevate Gucci’s legacy to new (and modern) heights.“I love the idea that a dress has a memory,” Michele himself stated,yet his work seemed to have no past,let alone a future.There is nothing from the archives,” he boasted later on backstage,not realizing perhaps that..yes,this was exactly the problem, not the solution!Gucci is an iconic brand with strong aesthetics and a silhouette that varied from ultra sexy to Giannini’s subtle sensuality.Instead,we were presented with a collection that clearly aimed to a much younger audience,with pleats,shapeless dresses and a series of ill fitted tuxedos that made Slimane’s Saint Laurent look almost successful..And that is not an euphemism.
Allow me to admit i am a fan of Marchesa, as Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig never seemed to disappoint me in the past,so much more now that they chose elaborate,chic decadence right out of Thomas De Quincey’s pages ”Confession of an English Opium Eater”,with the same extend of indulging fantasy. Only here,instead of laudanum,there were elaborate embellishes,dresses with strategically cut bare sides and strong thirties references .This was more of a Baudelaire bordello chic than Hollywood black-tie event,till, if there was a way for me to embrace ”princess gowns”, well that was the collection i needed!
Thom Browne’s Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear collection was a study in mourning attire,therefore a study in black, probably inspired by the ”Death Becomes Her” exhibition currently on display at Metropolitan Museum.Or, a study in mourning as an attitude,a collection bearing an almost ”Freudian” obsession to loss,emphasized by strong,all black silhouettes that looked interestingly modern.There is something ultra classy in this ”twisted” pieces,something that surpasses ”revival” and goes back to the ”roots” of fashion per se.The styling was much elaborate yet it was easy to see that each garment, so carefully produced, could make a statement piece of its own.Yes,this was a collection full of statement pieces and at the same time a clever exploration of mourning attire,set in a performance that brought in mind some cult black-and -white films (see Dreyer dramas) as well as near death experiences-aka the perfect setting.
Haute Couture has always been,by definition, a matter of exquisite design,excellent stitching and taking care of individual clients’needs.’Haute Couture’ is also a term that enjoys protection of the French Law,since the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Paris determine which fashion houses are eligible to be ‘ haute couture houses’,with this privilege being strictly protected by the Chambre Syndicale.Generally,we find that in order for an atelier to use the term ‘couture’,there must be : ” a couture fashion house that creates unique pieces designed to directly fit on a client’s body or on a dress form replicating hers, with a number of individual fittings being carried out on each client. They must have an atelier in Paris, with at least 20 full time employees, and the fashion house must present a minimum of two 25–piece collections to the Paris press each year.”
Impressive.But,in the era of fashion shows’ live transmission via web and with trends being originating through Instagram “influencers” and pop culture,is there place for Haute Couture to serve its elitist purpose?There is,we think.Karl Lagerfeld describes this evolution as a matter of just changing times:“There is now a different kind of couture for what different circumstances permit. Luxury ready-to-wear is not so far from what couture used to be … The new couture clients are beautiful, young. We have Russians, Indians, Chinese, South Americans. Women from the Gulf countries don’t even come to Paris; the première flies the collections to them.”Can that be Haute Couture? We asked three friends ( and mostly)fashion insiders for their view over this interesting yet critical issue-the future of Haute Couture.
”As long as there are those of extreme wealth there will always be Haute Couture. The question is what will Haute Couture look like in generations to come and who will be responsible for carrying the torch. IMHO the future is not in the hands of a Raf but in the hands of Vauthier, Lemaire, Saab and Valli as it they who understand and remain committed to the tenets and practices of the craft.”
(JF is the international fashion editor for the examiner.com as well as a book reviewer for the New York Journal of Books with the focus being on all aspects of fashion and style.)
”Some brands like JP Gautier stop ready-to-wear to focus on haute couture only, which appears to be much more profitable.Although Haute Couture is not always lucrative, it offers a few brands a worldwide recognition and becomes attractive to Middle East, Russian and emerging market countries clientele.Thanks to these new customers, young brands newly labelled as haute couture brands, start becoming profitable.Today, fashion houses move to the most important capital cities in the world, in order to establish closer ties with their customers.Haute couture goes on evolving with a new generation of designers and keep on attracting journalists and bloggers. It definitly needs to go on seducing this clientele to continue and make people dream.”
(.Monsieur X’s goal is to make discover or rediscover forgotten or badly represented artists.Specialized in the world of Luxury and Fashion, Monsieur X has collaborated with the following brands Dior Fine Jewellery, Chanel Fine Jewellery, Cartier, Boucheron, Chaumet, Kenzo, Céline, Fendi, Balmain and also the young talented designer Alexis Mabille.)
”Nowadays, even though financial crisis forced many Haute Couture designers to either close down their ateriers or make a 360o diversion to Ready to Wear, I still believe that Haute Couture is surviving. Maybe on a smaller scale but definatley it is not vanishing. Yes, Haute Couture is that special creation, the unique piece that is designed for a client’s figure with a special care, hand made, hand embroideries, etc…but that is its whole beauty and magic!!!.I still believe that there is a demand for it even worldwide economy goes through tough times.”
(Fashion designer in both men and women wear. http://www.mariaristidou.com Her last project was a Limited Edition Scarf Line A/W 2014-15. She is now working on her next capsule collections as well as for the collaboration with LIVE AID Symphony Orchestra at the at the SGM Conference Center Roma for a charity fashion show in 2016.)