The Fashion Statement: Paris Wraps It Up
Last but definitely not least. Paris provided the grand finale this week to a string of fashion weeks around the globe that began in New York early September.
While not quite as colorful as their Italian counterparts, Parisian designers delivered collections consistent their houses' heritages. In other words, each brands' fans will be happy. Some of the highlights:
Alexander McQueen was one of the most anticipated shows of the season. It was the first full collection for Sarah Burton who was thrust into the head designer role when the designer committed suicide earlier this year. The verdict? There were stunners such as the ombrè gown pictured above as well as white low-rise pants with two buckles on each hip and sculptural dresses. It's not quite the same anger, beauty or arty story that has always defined the label. But how can it be? I would hate to be Burton who must be burdened with endless comparisons to the late genius.
Chanel's show was darker and more deconstructed than usual. Black dresses looked they had been eaten by moths, edges were tattered, and there were much less fussy versions of the signature Chanel suit. Ines de la Fressange modeled my favorite piece-a black sheer floor-length gown with a cutaway skirt that revealed a slimmer skirt underneath. The gown's blouson featured heavy black stripes reminiscent of Maori tribal tattoos.
Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri, designers for Valentino, have been on a quest for the younger customer (yes, they are adjusting their prices a bit). Over the summer, rumors were swirling that Valentino Gharavani himself was helping the new designers out (Someone had seen vans filled with clothes pulling up to Gharavani's manse). Perhaps a sign, Gharavani, who has kept his distance since he retired in 2008, attended the show. If he had a hand in the collection, it showed. Floor-length gowns had a whiff of '70s peasant dress with tiny bows at the neck, small flower prints and ruffles. Some gowns were so light and ethereal (pictured above), they could have vanished into thin air. And yet with all this youthfulness, the Valentino sophistication was maintained.
Finally, a word about Louis Vuitton. Black and beige Cheongsams with exaggerated shoulders, a billowing fuchsia and burnt orange jumpsuit, a floor length zebra striped gown-Louis Vuitton was a feast for the eyes. With recognizable references to his own label, Marc Jacobs looked to the '60s, '70s and '80s to bring us to spring 2011.