One of the biggest rumors swirling around Couture Week was that Valentino was
doing his last show. Indeed, with the pas de deux from Swan Lake among
other torch songs included in his production, he was giving us every
opportunity to believe the stories. In the years I have covered haute
couture I have seen Yves Saint Laurent, Madame Torrente, Emanuel Ungaro
and Oscar de la Renta for Balmain retire. Their absences have left holes
in the heart of couture. The season is different now. Less daywear is
being produced. Couturiers like Gaultier, who created
one of my favorite collections this season, showed us that the human
eye can absorb and celebrate as much beauty, detail and luxury as a designer
can care to give us. Lacroix and Chanel showed
us the beauty of discretion, where the fragile, exquisite dress is hidden
under a fabulous but protective coat. Coats were the stars of the season.
Lagerfeld drove the point home with a circular pyramid of models in black
coats. It was almost anti-climactic when the models one by one removed
the coats to reveal dresses and suits of many shapes and colors.
Elie Saab continues
to create wonderfully glamorous gowns for his clientele from all over
the world, (though perhaps most strongly located in the Middle East).
He was not a part of the “coat
conspiracy”, and I am sure he would prefer his elegant dresses
to be seen, not covered up. on aura tout vu showed intricate
and desirable wood “pearl” accessories, including oversized
head combs and necklaces that hung past the knee. These pieces were important
enough that they could be worn over a coat. Dominique Sirop continued
to show daywear including coats, (a “tiger print” coat in
feathers was outstanding) but drew the line when it came to his revered
silk gowns. He too wanted his gowns to show first. Franck Sorbier,
one of France’s favorite couturiers, always shows the short jackets
he is noted for, that can work as well with trousers as they do with
Mr. Sorbier’s beautiful gold lace gowns. He included some embroidered,
heart-stopping coats as well.
As always, John Galliano was
on his own fabulous and interpretive march, this time a “celebration” of 100 years
since Christian Dior was born. He used a lot of intricately embroidered
tulle over amazing corsets to show the nipped waist of Mr. Dior’s
New Look from 1947. His contract with Dior is coming up. This was another
whispered about sensation during the week.
Places to see and be seen---the
bar of the Ritz, as
always, Hiramatsu in the 16 th serving exquisite food
in a small space, with just forty tables, thirty two of which are non-smoking, L’Avenue for
lunch which always has the most beautiful looking people in Paris, and Market on
Avenue Matignon, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first Paris spot.
Cameron Silver, of the world famous Los Angeles vintage store Decades
was overhead asking a couture client if she was planning to buy any prêt
a porter during this season, and apparently she looked at him as though
he was crazy. Hottest items for men—the interlocking CC
Chanel cardigan. And for women, the baby Birkin by Hermes,
preferably in hot pink.
For complete coverage of Autumn 2005 Haute
Couture Collections, please click here: