Monday, February 15, 2010

Haute Couture Week is Over

They say, there's no future in Haute Couture, some say, yes there is.
But I think if they keep this ugliness happening, I don't think couture will last longer.
Seriously, I browse through the pictures on websites and I found those collections to be slightly... what's the word... questionable... And I'm really sorry, perhaps I need to be there to see it firsthand, but as a person who's watching it from my laptop screen, it looks like what I quote from Tim Blanks to be a "creative burnout".

from left-right (Chanel, Valentino, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexis Mabille, Givenchy, Christian Dior, Elie Saab, Giorgio Armani, Anne Valerie Hash)
pictures collage from

Let's start from Chanel. I'm always looking forward for a Chanel Couture show, because I know it's always going to be a technical feast. And yet somehow Karl managed to disappoint me twice in a couture season row. The hair is like.. Lady Gaga celebrates valentine's day, with acid color pops here and there. And the show was stuffed with Chanel jacket combined with matching shorts... SHORTS!!! Talk about sophistication gone wrong. There's no really interesting pieces, the shoes were ill-looking (i'm so sorry), and the finale was flat... Basically for Karl's standard, this is a hot pink mess.

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli for Valentino was another hot mess. Excuse me, but it seems that they wanted to be fired or something. If the house of Valentino fired Allesandra Fachinetti who created an interesting ethereal couture collection for the house with the two people (who are actually really good with the ready to wear collections), who in a way insulted the brand by going to an avant-garde-but-not-there-yet-since-it's-a-classic-label-but-I-want-to-try-something-new-and-avatar-inspired, maybe they should re-think. This collection failed to deliver, failed to inspire, and most of all, failed to represent the house of Valentino.

Jean Paul Gaultier on the other hand, unlike many other didn't disappoint, though I believe he could've taken it a step further. Inspired by Mexican culture, he showed craftsmanship that many other decided to restrain themselves from. Lovingly done, but yet, it felt like he's trying to focus too much on his theme that it has become not-relate-able to current fashion. But still it's nice to see someone push the boundaries in some way.

Alexis Mabille, Alexis, Alexis, Alexis... Took bi-color inspiration for his latest couture collection. Was it a disaster? No, but was it original? No. I seem to remember other designers did a much better collection within the same theme. It did though, showcased what he did best, which is his ability in cutting. But it seems a bit forced somehow, and he was trying to prove something, grab some attention you might say. As far as grabbing my attention, it failed, but do I hate this collection, not at all. It was just... OK...

Christian Dior Couture by John Galliano was always be expected as an extravaganza. Whether it met my expectations? Somehow, but not entirely. It's a bit off putting to be honest to see Galliano playing with this historical theme all over again, picking up the whip and the equestrian theme, it's all like sort of, overdone, in a way, like trying to have the craftsmanship of a mega-haute-couture house to create something that's so simple. Galliano stripped most of the elaborate beading and decorational ornaments, and switch to extravagant drapery, which is something that we know he can do really well. But then again, I really miss his extravagant beading, I think the collection is a bit too safe for my taste.

I never really like Elie Saab's sense of ultra femininity, glamazonian, princess, ultra luxurious, mega beading dresses, it's all a bit passe for me. This time he tones it down a bit, threw pastel colors which helps creating the softness for what otherwise will be his regular collection. But the thing is, he's not the kind of designer you see and be inspired, or to find your one of a kind pieces. You go to Saab to get beautiful red carpet or evening dresses, which is exactly what he delivered yet once again, only this time is pastel.

Giorgio Armani for Armani Prive was inspired by the moon. Though I'm not his biggest fan, I somehow like this collection. The shaping and the color and the fabrication is very much couture, which I can say was lacking a little bit on a lot of these collections. But I just wished he wouldn't have taken it a bit to literal with his inspirations by putting crescent shape moon brooch everywhere in his collection, or literally creating a full moon dress that just look moronic. But on and on, the collection is full of fabulous pieces that couture consumers can love and wear it in her own way. That's luxury.

Ann Valerie Hash took couture to a different level this time. True couture, one of a kind, and you can never create the same outfit ever again. Why? Because it's true fashion recycling! Alber Elbaz's pajamas, Tilda Swinton's t-shirt, Daphnee Guiness Chanel jacket, et cetera, mixed and re-tailored to create a collection so cool and so edgy it's fabulous. But edgy and cool doesn't say couture now, is it. I found the collection to be fresh and youthful, though unfortunately fresh and youthful is not what the couture customer with a lot of money are. So though kudos to her creativity, her sense of real couture and luxury still remain questionable.

My favorite collection of this season is courtesy of a gentleman called Ricardo Tisci who design for Givenchy Couture. It was the most powerful collection, I think of them all. Ricardo showed his ability in overseeing the details. A lot of the garments themselves very much reminded me of what Hubert de Givenchy did back when he was designing, but with this hot and steamy youth injected and polished with a little bit of goth aesthetic. His sense of colors expand as well. He used to just do black and white, but now you get a collection that for his standard, very much colorful. The collection was inspirational and makes you just want to touch and oversee all the detail, well that's just the genius of him, I guess.

I know this time my review is a bit harsh, but it's true. In my point of view, if haute couture wants to survive for another fifty years, the players need to step up their game. Pret-a-porter has become so expensive and exclusive and equally creative that it makes people ask whether at this day and age haute couture is still relevant. Haute couture with it's price range will still be relevant if it remains to be pieces of clothing with strong point of view and taste and fit that is not questionable and understandably luxurious, it needs to be that.

As for me, I wish the world of haute couture lives forever more... I can't imagine world without the ultimate luxury...

1 comment:

  1. i agree!!!! I think Karl is getting old the shang hai collection was...hmmm i don't know...some of it was cool but it was defiantly a step down since the paris moscow collection which was AMAZING!!!!