Deja Vu versus New Minimalists in Paris for S/S ’11

by Katie on October 6, 2010

There was a sense of Deja Vu at Chanel’ s S/S ’11 show.  As in quite literally.  The show was based on French New Wave 1960’s classic, ‘Last Year At Marienbad’ which takes as its central motif, the leading character’s sense of ‘already seen’ and the audience watching her’s similar sense of experience.  But then again, Delphien Seyrig, the leading female character in this cult classic had her outfits designed by Madame Chanel so, in the truest sense of the word, Monsieur Lagerfeld cut to chase and sent his final tranche of models down the runway in a cloud of black lace, echoing the severity and beauty of the film’s cinematography and Delphine’s original wardrobe.


The genius of Lagerfeld lies in how he manages to reinterpret and re-style classic Chanel pieces to  a whole new generation and still make these highly relevant and covetable with no hint of staleness.  So OK, The ‘Last Year at Marienbad’ schtick was a bit Paula Pretentious especially as the movie’s actually a bit ‘meh’ in terms of its sledgehammer meaningfulness but Meister Karl always manages to wow in some form.  This season his reinterpreted raw edged seaming, distressed chiffon and monochrome prints, stripped back plain grey dresses and skirt suits reeked of minimalism…well, as best an attempt at minimalism as Chanel can muster in all its sophisticated swagger.


Yet still pretty three quarter sleeve jackets with wide lapels held their own as did 60’s style cowl neck versions.  Chanel shorts were key to ‘the look’.  There was even an attempt at street style jeans with jacket.  Hair and make-up was suitably clean and severe with heavy lidded eyes.  Karl pulled out all the stops to tread a new Bourgeois line while ensuring Chanel’s obsession with tweed.   He has darn fine dandy steps and can literally, cut a swathe.

At Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs’s trail of Chinese Mandarin meets 1920’s disco vixens sashayed while stuffed tigers and zebras watched on (we’re talking actual real taxidermied animals here, folks, not the fashion spectres who sit front row). 

Sleek is the word at Louis Vuitton and this was a show where any self respecting woman on earth could find a sexy piece or three.  New flappers shimmied in black, red, fuchsia and emerald beading while sexy see through dresses and skirt where played out with modern day geishas with fans.  The beauty was in the culture and fabric clash which shouldn’t work all at once but someone Marc makes it happen.  He lives on a disco knife and he rocks it hard.  Chain mail type lurex with large bandeau belts worn by girls with discofied Human League hair cuts.  I know!  But honestly, it really works.  I loved it.  If only I could afford it.  (Main picture also Louis Vuitton).

Now say aaah!  It’s Valentino.  Designers Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri have listened to the heartbeat of a new audience. 

The prettiest organza dresses had bow details and seemed to float while guiere lace versions were as intricate as inspiring.  Ruffles, chiffon and flounce abounded but demure versions that could be worn as easily for cocktail as for day.  There was a fresh vitality to this collection.  I’m loving this modern new direction.  There’s a Spring in its ladylike, studded, kitten heel step.

Part of the new breed of minimalist covetistas is Hannah MacGibbon at Chloe.  Hannah took a few grand jetes and leaped into balletic form.  Pleated chiffon, ballet wrap tops, split front blouses teamed with A line skirts and evening dresses worn with ballet flat shoes as well as lots of clean cut white on whiteness typified purity.

Chloe (and the other covetalist contender Celine) sparks frenzy amongst fashion directors and editors but I have to say, I don’t always get it.  It’s minimal to the point of ‘why spend all that money to look this plain?.  Beautiful fabrics (yes), wearable (yes) but is it sexy?  Would you tear up your credit rating, throw minimalist caution to the wind and think, “hmm, I look hot in this?”  Doubtful.

The young pretender to le grand throne of Paris, Phoebe Philo at Celine showed a collection that eschewed artisan fabrics, detailing and above all, sparseness.  No sex here please we’re British. 

Frayed yet luxe ponchos were thrown atop white long vests and flowing trousers.  The tunic and top as well as the leather vest and wide trousers look was a theme.  Celine does serious in droves.  I don’t know, but this economic situation is serious and unsexy enough without spending heap loads of dollah that spells ‘I am a sophisticate and I take myself v seriously’.  And there’s the very irony.  If you can work this in real terms, you are doing rather well for yourself and should be clicking your heels a al Dick van Dyke, not trussed up and reeking of doldrums.  Perhaps that’s the secret messaging of the brand.  Get this, buy this (even with editors’ discount) and you too can play act at being austere.  Who knows?

Let me know what you think of the S/S ’11 Paris shows by leaving a comment in the box below.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

DA858550 October 15, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Hi. I was checking through blogs that feature photography and found this, was compelled by the title…
Its great! Just wanted to say that. Keep up the good work!

Yael

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