L’homme Parisien, post-Modern witches and the dazzling eclectic

ysl-slimane-2Saint-Laurent-Paris-Fashion-WeekWe’re with ‘Vogue’ on Hedi Slimane’s  SL show for Paris Fashion Week.

Saying that he’s ‘master of the theatre,’ Jessica Bumpus saw rock chicks with immaculate styling and a rock edge aesthetic honed at Dior Homme, with Seventies billowy chiffon.  Liking oversized hats, with every look,  multiple neck bows, tuxedo jackets,  super skinny trousers with their ‘rock credentials.’ 

Cathy Horyn, banned from the shows, was tentative in her report, for the New York Times.  Viewed from streamed images,  her words lack the tones of a disappointed critic.  I think she really liked it, but isn’t saying! You wouldn’t either, if you weren’t invited, would you?

Business of Fashion loves the idea that Slimane has gone for “commercially lucrative” pieces but hopes the label won’t be too distracted away from its original YSL roots towards a sort of ‘All Saints Laurent!’

Reminding us of Yves Saint Laurent’s controversial 1971 Nazi-inspired show, seen as “a tour de force of bad taste” at the time, BoF thought Slimane’s collection might be a deliberate attempt by the ‘complicated designer to provoke negative reactions’.

For BoF, Suleman Anaya also asks the question about where YSL might be heading under Slimane’s baton. Is it another top luxury brand removing itself from the kind of high-concept fashion that receives ‘lavish editorial praise but performs middlingly in stores?’  Or is it going for ‘money in the bank for retailers.’

Isn’t this what everyone hopes will happen to all Fashion?  Slimane’s tactics can’t be  bad if YSL is also seen as a lifestyle brand for musicians and those who want to hang out with them.   To me Anaya is totally on the button as he winds up with the assertion “It’s tough, but it’s luxury, down to those heavily embellished (and surely expensive) leather boots.”

How is Slimane doing it?  It’s probably the seven years with Dior, designing menswear, which gives him the gift to capture traces from the extraordinary creative and vulnerable masters who preceded him.  It’s also  his schooling in Art History and  Tailoring.  His visit to the offices of Le Monde,  when he thought he wanted to be  a journalist is telling.   For  the creative spirit,I think, it’s all about wanting to communicate thoughts and feelings. It’s what makes Fashion’s heart beat.

 

Mary Quant’s late husband, the debonair lothario, Alexander Plunket Green, supporting his wife’s exceptional talent, told me that sharp, tailored, clothes, rather than peasant looks, are what’s needed to underpin optimism during an economic downturn. 

Slimane, as  a French  Fashion national/natural, is doing it all.  Re-interpreting Yves from beyond ‘peasant,’ through Punk, away from ‘grunge’ through to a democratised high street, to thrill Beats, Hippies, New Wave and Digital Natives.  Keeping us all wanting to join the parade. So why is the Fashion jury still out on Slimane?  The renaming to ‘Saint Laurent’ seems neat and his eclecticism,  dazzling.

 

As  an original Fashion victim, I want to look as much like the post-Modern witches on  Slimane’s Paris Week catwalk, as the cyber princesses in their fluorescent trenches at Christopher Bailey’s  S/S 2013 London show!

http://www.businessoffashion.com/2012/10/a-wake-up-call-for-ysls-pr-team.html

Manchester, Paris and Montauk

The singer and the song
The singer and the song

HAVING appeared in Paris, the night before, Rufus Wainwright told an enraptured Manchester audience  that Jean Paul Gaultier had let him ‘borrow’ the slinky black leather ensemble he was wearing for the show.

Making an entrance in sparkly ostrich feather cape over tails, he told us he would be giving us three opportunities to marvel at Gaultier’s work.   Removing the fabulous feathers after his first two songs,  then the coat and later a short bolero to reveal clinging body-hugging dungarees.   Sitting with some difficulty at the grand piano he described the designs as not too practical for playing musical instruments, adding that was probably why Madonna could  wear as much JPG as she liked!

Why, oh why, after a show full of talent did it devolve into a camp fiasco for a well-rehearsed encore? Well known Jewish singer, song writer, Adam Cohen and Wainwright dressed in short white togas with shiny blonde wigs looked uncomfortable and cold, even with oiled legs!  Backing singers Cristal Warren and Stella Blackman, accomplished soloists in their own right, were dressed as pantomime cut-outs, certainly undermining their contributions to the musicality of the show.  Maybe I’m not sure that ‘glad to be gay’ shouldn’t be tempered with patrolling by the style police. The image of Wainwright, above,  at the piano with the show’s stunning and subtle lighting plots is the one I’ll take home with me.

Audrey Hepburn and the Big Bang Theory

WITH crowned kings and queens and actresses wearing tiaras, no-one’s too sure about jewels as status symbols anymore. But as Sheldon’s girlfriend discovers her, diamond-studded, apology gift, the worlds of fantasy and reality collide.  See video below.

There’s more than just a tiara linking Audrey Hepburn, outside Tiffany’s in that hit 1961 movie, and Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler in my favourite sit com, The Big Bang Theory. I can hardly write this blog for wanting to view the Youtube videos below. That’s not part of the connection, although it may be.

Audrey Hepburn frees modern woman to be more herself, than she has ever been before, as she steps out between New York skyscrapers from a yellow cab in the early hours of the day. Gazing into Tiffany’s window, ‘nothing really bad could happen to you there,’ holding her portable coffee, taking a bite from a do-nut, wearing tiara and pearls, we are convinced that anything is possible at any time.

When Amy is offended by Sheldon’s dismissal of her scientific journal article and he is persuaded, by Penny, to give her a gift, he chooses a tiara. For him this will be far more confusing than understanding String Theory! Yet without the Hepburn film moments, from the 1950s and 1960s, none of us would be able to get the ironies in the situation, either.

Before Hepburn in Roman Holiday, when Princess Ann realised she could lead a more ordinary life, even if for only one day, and in B@T’s when Holly Golightly throws off mid American domesticity for the glamour of New York, we did not know we could question status.  From then on we could play with symbols, such as tiaras, to create our own individual personas through Fashion.  We now, no longer, have to be either feminine or Feminist.  We can be both!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JfS90u-1g8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i_WpYc3YI4

Audrey Hepburn and the discreet charms of the LBD

Ever-lasting Elegance: Our fascination with Audrey Hepburn

AT this year’s Paris’ Haute Couture show, July 2012, Hubert de Givenchy re-styled his Little Black Dress. The original, made famous by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961, was iconic in its simplicity and made the LBD the wardrobe staple of today. So, what is it with our lasting obsession with Audrey Hepburn?

She represents simple elegance, ultimate femininity and natural beauty. She is an actress as well known for her style as her films, wearing classic pieces made by top Fashion designers especially for her. What’s not to love? But has anyone come close since?

Apparently not.  In 2011 she was voted by British women as the most beautiful woman of all time. Personally, I think it’s her wonderful expressive smile and her compassion. She won us all over as the Princess Ann in Roman Holiday appealing to everyone’s inner princess. She made the character of Holly Golightly into a new fairy tale figure.  How many of us have that picture of her with the cigarette holder,  smiling mysteriously, on our walls? Editors and stylists love her as well as fans? Her look is truly exceptional; recognised in an instant.

Indeed, on July 22nd  the Sunday Times travel supplement mocked up the image of Hepburn in sunglasses and a hat. That ‘Audrey sells,’ is  a given.  It’s an inner beauty which shines through and yet she’s more known for her commercial potential!  She’s helped liberate women’s sense of identity by being feminine, stylish, yet strong and distinctive.  Let’s hope her sons gave permission to the Murdoch vehicle to use her photograph to copy.  If so, then the newspaper group will need to send a donation to UNICEF!

Picture Ref: Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Givenchy’s: Fashion Media Promotion: the new black magic p. 92 : Wiley Blackwell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urQVzgEO_w8

http://www.hud.ac.uk/research/researchnews/fashionintheageoftheimage.php 

Fashion loves Controversy

Fashion loves controversy.  When the ‘Devil Wears Prada’ came out, in 2003, Lauren Weisberger was regarded as a disloyal spy, who had ratted on her employers.  The New York Times called the The Devil Wears Prada ‘trivially self-regarding’ and ex-colleagues of the fledgling writer, at Vogue, asked themselves the question, ‘Why should we publicise this thing?”

After script-writer, Aline Brosh Mckenna, had worked her magic, on the film version, (2006) and Meryl Streep had given a finely balanced performance as the brilliant Fashion editor, Miranda Priestly, then, perhaps, the interloping intern, Weisberger, was, partly, forgiven.

I did not expect my book to cause any such ripples.  How wrong I was. Christian Dior’s Wikipedia  page is currently running a line, quoting ‘Fashion Media Promotion, the new black magic’, saying that the designer was not the only Parisienne making clothes, for Nazi officers and collaborators, during the German occupation in WW2.  That anyway they were doing it to keep the French Fashion industry afloat.

Fans of ‘Gone with the Wind’ hate the idea that costume designer Frances Tempest thinks the clothes were not democratically designed and that a ‘particularly repellent Salmon pink’ was featured.

A curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art loathes my tongue-in-cheek description of Malcolm McLaren, as a Dior-scholar, and the irritating computer misspelling of Karen Dunst’s name makes one of her fans furious.

These petty squabbles and angst are a stroll in the park compared to the Vivienne Westwood  museum fiasco, filmed on British Style Genius.  We may all be too polite, and subtle, to raise it, but I’m still holding my breath!