Monday, February 7, 2011

Spring 2011 Haute Couture Report

Chanel Haute Couture by Karl Lagerfeld

by Christine Suppes, Editor at Large
If Chanel and its brilliant seer Karl Lagerfeld are the arbiters for the times, we are in a simple post-depression mode. Out came the glamorous “Mom” look, a term my then twelve year old several times applied to Soccer Mothers—leggings and tunics with not a high heeled shoe to be seen. Bouchra Jarrar, a designer supported by Neiman Marcus, also did a simple sheath-like dress draped with some floating movement and strategic cut-outs, mainly at the back. Jarrar had the January cover dress in French Elle. This will be a hot look. Galliano gave his usual history lesson for Dior. Galliano said that his collection was inspired by the late fashion illustrator René Grurau, who adored the classic Dior of the fifties. The look of pencil- shaped skirts paired with voluminous jackets and little tilted hats, or else ball gowns in dozens of yards of fabric have little to do with reality of women, but for advertising fantasy, Galliano has it nailed down. The show was gorgeous escapism, and the fact that everyone is still talking about it proves that we still need to dream. Armani Privé’s shiny new fabric was very metallic and uncomfortable looking but the gowns were simple and the palette was supposedly inspired by jewels. The movie stars like Jodie Foster (Jodie Foster)? in the front row suggested Mr. Armani is still bucking for center stage, Red Carpet that is. It will take courage to wear these creations.

Bouchra Jarrar Presentation during Paris Haute Couture

Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano

Giorgio Armani Prive Haute Couture

Givenchy was a very private walk about in a salon on the Place Vendôme. Riccardo Tisci produced a small collection inspired by Japanese Butoh and created works of art. Slim gowns, some with obi belts, some embroidered top to bottom with seeds pearls, in colors from barely there to light fuchsia, gave no immediate reference to The House of Givenchy, although there was little doubt in my mind that the original Givenchy muse, Audrey Hepburn, might be slender enough to have worn this extraordinary look. Jean Paul Gautier did not disappoint. With Catherine Deneuve’s sultry recorded narration (she also sat as she always does front and center), the Glamazons (models who look like women, not waifs) strode the catwalk in classic Parisienne ensembles, some evening gown take-offs of his famous trench, all modern, hot and sexy, all very Mr. Gaultier. No history lessons here except the history of this one and only original designer left in the pantheon of Haute Couture. Last and certainly not least was on aura tout vu, who although are not the only designers creating for Lady Gaga (the afore-mentioned Mr. Armani is another), have the spirit of the moment, which means Gaga…lightness, angels and feathers. The Smoking ensemble with transparent lace trousers, and the lime green and black chiffon gown were stand-outs, but anything this team does with lace is collectible. This collection is so cool and of the moment that the audience walked away shaking their heads. Everything else seemed a little---bourgeois? ----this season.

Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci

Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture

On Aura Tout Vu Haute Couture

Photos by Yannis Vlamos and Umberto Fratini/

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