Monday, January 31, 2011

50's Haute Couture and Black Swan References

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Last week the couture collections could be summed up into two categories: Black Swan and White Swan. Jean Paul Gaultier taking on the dark, brooding, theatrical side and Chanel reigning in the airy innocence of the other.

In general a much more formal look is taking hold on the catwalks showing long skirts, long sleeves, and bateau necklines everywhere. Elegance is clearly back on the table for the fashion crowd. So much for the influence of all those reality stars of late. Ladies that lunch want a grown up look that is demure, yet at the same time seductive, if not artistic. For all of this, look no further than the creations from Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli at Valentino.

Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy created an outstanding museum worthy collection channeling Japanese robot toys and the dancer Kazuo Ohno. He may not have had the usual 35 pieces required of a haute couture show, but just one outfit necessitated 2,000 hours of cutting and 4,000 hours of sewing.

As fewer and fewer fashion houses are creating haute couture collections it was a pleasure to see John Galliano reference Christian Dior's illustrator René Gruau from the 40's and 50's. Those were the days when rules of dress were strictly followed and sartorial superiority was something to aspire to. When I get dressed up I want to look like this (photo insert), oh-so-haute!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Haute Couture Fashion Week Paris 2011

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Haute Couture Week in Paris is happening this week (Jan 24th - Jan 27th). Pictured left is a stunning detail of Riccardo Tisci's collection for Givenchy, Spring 2011.

Since the late 80's the term haute couture has been misused so often that its true meaning has become mistaken with that of prêt-à-porter in the public perception. In reality, the label haute couture is a legally protected appellation which can be used only by couture houses chosen by the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris based in Paris, France (created in 1868 by Englishman Charles Worth). The fashion houses have to meet certain criteria including designing a made to order for private clients comprising of one or more fittings, have an atelier in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time, and each season the house must present a collection to the Paris press comprising of at least thirty-five runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear.

Today only 2,000 women in the world buy couture clothes, of which 60% are American. Though only 200 women in the world are regular customers. In general, haute couture is not a highly profitable business, but is able to continue its operations even in downturns in the economy.

Today's major haute couture shows during Paris Fashion Week:
Alexis Mabille
Armani Privé
Bouchra Jarrar
Christian Dior
Elie Saab
Jean Paul Gaultier

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Modern Tux

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All those finely dressed men last night at the Golden Globes made quite an impression. Especially Justin Bieber in his three-piece D&G tuxedo..... nicely done, a dressed up look that stayed true to age. Of course the tieless Johnny Depp in Ralph Lauren Black Label and Ryan Gosling, who wore a Ferragamo black velvet suit, also deserve to be credited for keeping it fresh.

I would like to make a suggestion though for next year. As everyone in Hollywood was gearing up for the night of the GG's, Men's Fashion Week in Milan was heating up Italy. I couldn't help but pick out my favorite tux from the Carlo Pignatelli Outside Fall 2011 collection (pictured here). Inspired by any one of your favorite vampires of late, the look is made modern with zippers and a plaid bow tie. Can't you just picture a certain English gentleman wearing it to awards season? - Sincerely, Lex