Hmm. There was a lot going on at Louis Vuitton this season. To let Marc Jacobs summarise, his most recent collection was: "about travelers—the movement that came after punk. Then we were thinking about hiking, trekking, and then denim and parkas—city utilitarianism."
So on the runway, that translated to lots of layers, toggles, drawstrings, brocade biker shorts, army jackets, Japanese detailing and mesh. Striped ruffle skirts on top of shorts, Jackie-O-style short-sleeved coats on top of button-ups, Jacobs brought it all - and topped it off with giant afro wigs and suede clogs with flourishes of fur.
We can't say we saw an underlying theme for the season, but we're sure that in the hodgepodge of garments from every taste, there'll be plenty of sales this season. Which would you prefer? A blue skirt with Native American beading down the sides, or a 'Blossom' frock with a jacket wrapped around your waist, just in case?
There's nothing like a heavy dose of irony to get a John Galliano show going. This season, plenty of attention has been paid to the internet surge of fashion shows. Designers are, now more than ever, streaming shows live online or uploading videos from the runway shortly after the models head home with their goodie bags. That takes away some exclusivity of appearing in person when the lights dim. But this week in Paris, Galliano gave countless reasons to see the real deal: Try a laser-lit runway with bubbles surrounding the models, then turning to vapor, and one of the designer's best show in years. Even so, you could say that his level of spectacle is on the decline.
How fitting, then, for Galliano to reference the Old-Hollywood era when silent-film stars watched themselves be pushed out of their industry. Galliano told Style.com: "It came from a research trip to L.A. I went around the old houses of Hollywood and imagined how stars like Tallulah Bankhead, Lillian Gish, and Mary Pickford lived." So a collection of teensy silk slips, peekaboo chiffon gowns and evening coats lavished with film-gel roses celebrated a dying exuberance that probably would never resurface, if you ask him.
We loved seeing Magdalena Frackowiak and Natasha Poly accessorised to the nines, with lace gloves and black-feather adorned hats seen as second nature. Lace jackets over cardigans, pale folded socks with platform Mary Janes - it reminded us of a time when more careful attention was paid to dress. And yet as much as we were swept up in the fancy, we got that 'Sunset Boulevard' sense of melancholy that times are changing, and people are moving on.
The one good sign we have here? That with designers like Galliano leading the pack, there's still time left to live like Tallulah.
Alexander McQueen went all Al Gore on us this season. The designer introduced a blunt collection that, as he explained, followed an impending eco meltdown that will leave humans more like sea creatures. Or something like that.
Dresses covered in digital prints (mostly reptile designs) showed off plenty of leg and then some. Wasp-waisted silhouettes took over, with the occasional dose of smooth Savile Row tailoring added. A few swirling frocks were something you might have seen in a Rodarte collection, and the whole deal apparently impressed Lady Gaga quite a lot. She Twittered, a half-hour before Nick Knight's SHOWstudio.com was to stream the fashion show online, that McQueen would debut her new single. Having a million dedicated Twitter followers, as Style.com pointed out, Lady Gaga's announcement helped the site to promptly crashed from the influx of viewers.
McQueen's digital prints are geting a lot of buzz post-show, and we love how he's driving his concept home. We couldn't help but think, though, that London has its very own up-and-coming print master (who shares the McQueen sense of architecture in clothing) in its midst. William Tempest, we'll expect this from you someday.
Sometimes we compare rockers to gods. For spring, Riccardo Tisci produced a collection that means we'll never have to choose between the two. Everything at Givenchy went hard-vs-soft: rigid lapels and sharp shoulders contrasting with goddess-draped chiffon, for example. And Tisci's kaffiyeh scarf-inspired graphic print (hey, the man loves to travel) provided just the whimsy to carry it all off.
The expertise in tailoring was clear. Shoulder silhouettes seemed nearly razor-cut, but the same perfection also qualified for tiered minidresses that left models' legs looking a few miles longer than before. Some of our top picks were the semi-sheer draped dresses, though. Never giving us something too 'done', Tisci leaves his Spring '10 girl wrapped in a semi-disheveled cocoon of delicate, pale-yellow fabric. Dreamy? We think so.
Harem pants came back around in the latest Givenchy collection, and sure, we've seen the near-geometric silhouette, in doses, before. But Tisci's elements of Arabic influence, with techniques borrowed from '60s Roman couture, produced a winning set of looks that should be flying off shelves in 3, 2, 1...
We, like most of the fashion community, have a love-love relationship with Phoebe Philo. The woman turned Chloe to gold several years back, and now that she's out of retirement and designing for Celine, we remember just the kind of buzz she can create for a brand.
So let's talk Paris. Philo's runway collection pared down luxury sportswear to its most basic - and sexy - form. Crisp white shirts with voluminous, camel-coloured wide-legs? Yes, please. A safari trench dress that doesn't seem like a cliche? We'll take it. Philo shone in everything from basic semi-sheer jumper and pleated-skirt combos to leather-accented LBDs. With a simple colour palette of white, black, camel and beige, it was the stark cutting alone that stood out.
Philo told Style.com that, for spring, she wanted to create a powerful and contemporary sense of minimalism. A bit of housecleaning, she could say. We certainly saw a selective collection this week - but basic, it absolutely was not.
Hussein Chalayan's spring collection went down as smooth as vermouth in a '40s club. And speaking of nightlife, the designer himself oversaw his fashion show - decked out in a pencil 'stache, slicked hair and a bandleader tux. It was perfect for the retro vibe brought on by a (relatively) simple collection.
But a return to minimalism for Chalayan, who's known for his avant-garde and even technological clothing, isn't as simple as it might be for other designers. Sure, there were pared-down jackets and easy lapels, but those shared the runway with silk plisse gowns that undulated like the waves of the sea. Less complicated than normal? Sure. But easy to copy? Never, at Hussein Chalayan.
Introducing tulip shorts: Karl Lagerfeld chose to show off the leg and emphasise the hip in his Spring/Summer 2010 collection this weekend in Paris. For his eponymous line, the Chanel and Fendi designer impressed front-row guests like Katy Perry and Rihanna with tiny shorts in everything from red leather to white satin.
Lagerfeld said he wasn't going for hotpants or Bermuda shorts, and he dressed up his pieces with frilly white blouses, cocoon-shaped white coats and even prim office blouses. Tiny white dresses were anything but simple, with sequin appliques and rounded shoulders.
We like that Lagerfeld's take on shorts offers something different during Lady-Gaga-pantsless season. You might not get much coverage here, but Uncle Karl is looking out for you.
You'll need a few things if you go camping, according to Dean and Dan Caten. Budweiser 40s, plasters for minor wounds from the elements, and a plastic take on a 'Mad Men'-style halter dress.
Dsquared² rolled out a spring collection that might be a brassy young camper's delight. We're not saying it would be great for camouflage, with neon orange, pink and yellow on offer, but the cutoff shorts and jean jackets could come in handy. Real-life campers might also have trouble with platform booties, but at least with slashed-out bathing suits, they could float down a creek in style.
Even prom dresses, complete with studded belts and lots of chiffon, were deconstructed. Have some of our fashionable campers had a run-in with unfriendly bears? We say, the odds are good.