Friday, July 17, 2009

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall, Who is the worst of them all?

The Fall 2009 Haute Couture held last week had its share of amazing clothes excellent in concept and workmanship and the "not so brilliant" ones that got passed over as modern, practical, wearable clothes in line with the current stormy economic weather. Is every single haute couture dress worth the six figure price tag?And more importantly, did they all evoke in you a "lust tornado" of similar intensity?Given below are some of the dresses that made me shriek in horror and wouldn't have had me spend even a $100 on them, leave alone anything more!These can be best described as either modern but mediocre or ornate but impractical! Do you concur with me?

Alexis Mabille Fall 2009 Haute Couture

Jumpsuits are a rage this year, but seriously that doesn't mean a shape wear would justify a six figure tag?As for the piece in the center, Mr.Mabille would you please care to explain the workmanship, the skill and the complex thought process involved in the making of the same?While you do give fillip to the tailor at the street corner making him feel that he too or for that matter anyone with a piece of cloth to spare can be a couturier, is that benevolent thought alone worth the hefty price?

Alexis Mabille Fall 2009 Haute Couture

Sweeping the floor as you walk along might be a noble task, but even that nobility isn't sufficient enough to justify itself as haute couture!

Left to Right: (Stephane Rolland, Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier) Fall 2009 Haute Couture

Though Chanel tried to incorporate a "twist" to its signature tweed skirt suits in the form of a tail, Karl Lagerfeld's "New Look" created the image of a girl who took her table cloth with her wherever she went!It was neither aesthetic nor quirky nor sophisticated just plain ridiculous! As for Stephane Rolland's dress, even the word simple is too much to describe his white gown, maybe he wants to give people who cannot afford his clothes a few simple designs to take to their tailor and have it copied! And Jean Paul Gaultier's black dress can be made good use of on a Halloween night!

Left to Right: (Givenchy, Valentino, Givenchy) Fall 2009 Haute Couture

Just when Nicolas Sarkozy got rid of the burka from the streets of Paris, Givenchy to everyone's horror puts it back on the runway! Valentino - little black dress? Yes, classic? a resounding NO, looks like some prehistoric animal inspired horror!And whats with the silhouette of Givenchy's black crystal pants? Horror in black best describes these dresses!

Christian Dior Fall 2009 Haute Couture

"Less is more" is what is missing in these Dior dresses.The center one is nothing short of clownish, as if the lady is carrying two large totes on either arm and the color too is bordering on loud and the voluminous silhouette has become sooooo synonymous with Dior, that it would do Dior good if it could go do away with volume for some time!While the pink dress has all the couture worthiness in terms of brilliant embroidery, it so grossly exaggerates the very part(derrière), which women go to any extent(right from spending millions to starving) to keep minuscule!For Dior its time to do away with theatrical excess and embrace simplicity!!

Haute couture is not just about workmanship and skill, which, perfected over the years, have become second nature for these fashion houses.Real Haute Couture is being avant-garde while still staying relevant to the prevailing times, and not just ornateness clothed by anarchism !!


Monday, July 13, 2009

"Yes, I do.", the Haute Couture way!!

This Haute Couture season held in the wake of an economic recession had drawn mixed reactions from the fashion population, while some termed the simplicity prevalent in many collections as the future of couture which held wearability as its prime focus, others blamed the designers for swimming inside tested waters.Perhaps the stressful life that people led these days added extra weight to their expectations from Couture as a means of "fashion escapism" and perhaps, the equally stressed out designers trying to balance their creativity with their company's bottomline, in an ardent effort to stay afloat, didn't venture much into unknown territories but rather crouched inside a boundary of "guarded optimism" to produce collections that instead of torching a new fashion trail, relished and relived the glorious days of the past.The only exception being Christian Lacroix, the very company on the brink of bankruptcy, that ended up producing the best collection of this season proving that unparalleled creativity cannot be stymied by budgetary restrictions.

The bridal gown of Haute Couture always hold a special place, for, that is the one look that sums up the entire collection. All the bridal looks of Fall 2009's Haute Couture have been summarised here.Tell me which one would make you desperate to walk the aisle?

Christian Lacroix Fall 2009 Haute Couture

Christian Lacroix's show lent credibility to the saying that "All good things must come to an end.".In what could be the design house's last collection(unless it finds a suitable investor), the house has proved that even its financial turmoil could not strip away the finesse it has been known for! The bridal dress beautifully amalgamated all the elements that uniquely identified the design house, namely artfully worked laces, delicate tulle, fine embroidery,rich colors (brought out by roses in bright colors),and flowers.If Marie Antoinette had been a bride today, we know what she would be wearing!

Elie Saab Fall 2009 Haute Couture

Elie Saab's all white collection(similar to Chanel's white collection last season), was a stellar example of what creativity can do with just a single hue, the bridal dress shown here is a testament to the detailing that went into the entire collection.The intricate detailing found on each of the forty six white dresses comprising the collection, makes them all double up as bridal dresses as well!Be it a crystal studded jumpsuit or fur trimmed jackets or short skirts or organza flower decorated evening dresses, the collection had it all, making the brides truly spoilt for choice.

Jean Paul Gaultier Fall 2009 Haute Couture

"Take Fashion, ACTION!" screamed Gaultier's show!! An ode to Hollywood, with images of yesteryear's actresses floating on a screen offered the perfect atmosphere for the uber glamorous collection done the Gaultier way!! Similar to the bridal dress, this collection is not for the faint of heart, heavy fur coats, 3-D geometric dresses in sparking metal with conical bras, overalls in crocodile were all designed to bring out the rock star chic in you, that is, if you dare to reveal that side of you to the outside world.

Christian Dior Fall 2009 Haute Couture

Christian Dior's focus, this season, on "innerwear as outerwear" extended to the bridal gown as well.Like the bridal gown, the collection was deft in its artistry and workmanship, the only caveat being the lack of the "unseen", the show like the gown, was too familiar and strongly circled within Galliano territory!

Chanel Fall 2009 Haute Couture

This season Chanel focused on the house's raison d'etre of tweed suits and delicate evening gowns, the only addition being the "Superman like cape" behind the dresses much like the one seen in the bridal dress.Fashion tribes dubbed the extension as "tails", whether they will don one is a bit doubtful but Karl Lagerfeld did use them cleverly to frame his dresses and attract attention to a collection that might otherwise have been passed over as "the familiar".The "tails" were what the corsets were to Galliano, adding a new dimension to a familiar look.

Givenchy Fall 2009 Haute Couture

Ever dreamt of a Celtic wedding? Givenchy might be the answer to that dream, what with their collection loaded with heavy embellishments, chunky jewellery, spiked headgear and bracelets, accessorizing dresses with sharp tailoring and geometric cuts! A warrior princess could essentially wear everything from the collection, for rest its a slim picking!

On Aura Tout Vu Fall 2009 Haute Couture

On Aura Tout Vu's collection says "Get close to nature"! In addition to an earthy palette comprising of nudes and grays, the collection included plenty of colorful accessories in the form of twigs and feathers and dresses embellished with peacock feathers and 3d leaves.An ideal countryside wedding would benefit from this collection, arty and modern.

Stephane Rolland Fall 2009 Haute Couture

Stephane Rolland, the latest addition to the Haute Couture family, maintains a tensile balance between modernity, simplicity and sophistication.This season the focus was on the shoulders with dresses cut close to the body and sporting geometric embellishments accentuating a long slender silhouette much like the wedding dress seen above, a perfect wedding dress for the second time bride!

On the whole, though the melancholy of recession did have a heavy bearing on the Haute Couture season at least in terms of lack of outlandish experiments, it still held fast to the very corner stones of Couture namely intricate and skilled craftsmanship with a paradigm shift towards modernity where couture had transcended from the aristocratic princesses who spent a large part of their time preening themselves in front of the mirror to the power women of today with a strong need to incorporate sophistication into her wardrobe without appearing too made up or archaic!! Long live Couture!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Elie Saab, Snow Whites on the Runway !!

Just when I had accepted that this Haute Couture season was a damp squib, Elie Saab proves the contrary in the form of an ornate all white collection(two dresses were in off-white), similar to what we had seen last season at Chanel(the similarity between the two collections ends with the choice of color). This collection encompassed almost everything that I had wanted in a couture show, complexity, creativity, meticulous detailing and freshness.The asymmetrical shoulders, the big pouf sleeves, delicately worked organza flowers that gently wrapped the body, a number of evening dresses in myriad wraps and volumes some of which sparkling with crystals, fur trimmed dresses, jumpsuits, short dresses - the options were truly infinite.Finally my faith in Haute Couture was reposed by this designer, who had really saved the best for last!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dominique Sirop, can only "Dress" you up !!

Dominique Sirop's Fall 2009 Haute Couture collection comprised only of dresses, and that too of the simplest kind he has ever produced.While extending his draping techniques from Fall 2005 and Fall 2006 couture collections, didn't seem a bad idea, the collection was too focused on wearable clothes almost like pret-a-porter, so much so that the entire collection could have been part of a RTW show.Each of the twenty dresses can be worn off the shelf without any alterations, the color palette was sufficiently varied to include purple, blue, black, red and gray, making the dresses appealing to a wider client base! While Dominique may not be the only one to have embraced simplicity in these turbulent times, churning out practical, wearable(to be interpreted as high on client appeal with a decent price tag) clothes, still a couture show with a very focused collection completely devoid of excess is a bit contrived!!


Monday, July 6, 2009

Christian Dior, Ornate but not Unusual!!

Christain Dior's Fall 2009 Haute Couture had all the elements of glitz and glamour associated with a Dior show.The clothes were in brilliant colors accentuated with ornately worked sequins, the little twist in the show being the focus on underwear.What was essentially missing was the "nouveau" factor!!The show was so boringly predictable, the showstopper gowns were just a little varied from the previous shows.Its a pity that John Galliano has fallen into an endless loop of repetitive fashion!!Its about time he reinvented himself and traded those nipped waist and sheer fabric so characteristic of his shows, with something really path breaking like his first show way way back in 1984!!


Alexis Mabille, Minimalism in Fashion or Creativity?

Fall 2009 Haute Couture began on a damp note with Alexis Mabille showcasing his collection comprising of lacy gowns, pants, shapeless flowy dresses and his typical bows adorning the models' feet, hair and occasionally their dresses.Couture is "The What might have been", i.e unrestrained creativity augured by an almost limitless budget.Unfortunately Alexis Mabille, who a few seasons back had worked magic through his Spring 2008 collection of splendid origami dresses and ornate bows, had few tricks to pull out of his hat!!The dresses were too simple even by pret-a-porter standards, treaded on familiar ground and arrogated a "haute couture" claim!!