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Paris Fashion Week: Fall 2009 RTW: Top 10

May 16th, 2009 (10:50 am)
current song: Tori Amos - Give

Well here it is: the crème de la crème. Sorry this took so long and that my write-ups are of low quality. I find my mind being drawn in other directions. But the design is no less genius and breathtaking than when I first set eyes on it. Without further ado....

10. Haider Ackermann
Part urban, part priestess, part knight. Long fluid lines, rich ruby and violet shades, and supple fabrics bring the mystique of the priestess; asymmetric cuts, racer back tanks, oversized blazers, cutaway tailcoats, uneven hems, daring exposure bring the urban; and tiny chainmail details carry on the warrior theme that has been present season. It is an androgynous collection for an adventurous woman, bold enough for the cutting edge, intriguing collection.
Complete Collection

9. Hermes
Amelia Earhart was the muse at Hermes. Headgear and bomber jackets were the most obvious references, but the whole collection exuded an aviator chic that is simultaneously, rugged, utilitarian, sleek, sexy, with just a touch of femininity to the androgynous look. The outerwear is impeccable, & every little touch - a lining of fur, a row of buttons seems functionally fashionable rather than gratuitous. Fabrics were luxurious yet strong: leather, crocodile, knit, suede, with touches of satin and fur. With the rich colors of purples, reds, and earth tones....the collection had the charming appearance of an old sepia-toned photograph.
Complete Collection

8. Miu Miu
Deliberately awkward, self-consciously haphazard: every slit, flap, strange proportion, exposed lingerie, oddly placed fabric (especially the strange fur) creates a sort of brash sensuality. There is certainly sex appeal, but not the usual kind: it is too strong and defiant. If the virgin goddess of the hunt Diana were alive today, I think she would wear many of the early looks of the collection - her prizes thrown across her breast in a way that is off-putting, but - once one adjusts to it - has a certain appeal. The interesting folds and experimental - but not unflattering - shapes bring the first part of the collection together, and the outerwear is covetable - neither restrictive nor dowdy. And then the textures and fabrics of this collection are so wonderful. I cannot recall animal prints ever being used to such sophisticated effect.
The later section is certainly more Aphrodite than Diana - very sexy. I adore the silhouettes, the sheer tops - I am not usually a fan of bra-exposure, but I find this incredibly appealing, with a revolutionary eroticism. The fact that it is paired with the long skirt makes it seem appropriate for a sensual but intelligent young woman. Finally, the luxurious colors patterns and large colorful gems on silk crepe paired with the striking embellished socks and tights were suitable for any Goddess of Beauty.
Complete Collection

7. Yves St. Laurent
At first I was worried, the opening leather looks were, for the most part, rather awkward. However, what came next was an excellent re-imagining of the classic YSL aesthetic. The looks were composed of crisp white blouses, gray flannel, flattering and ever-stylish pinstripe, and tuxedo-black.

Pilati put [effort] into honing the tailoring into new but accessible shapes. A mannish blazer—big in the shoulder, narrow in the hips—was conceived for adaptability; the designer imagined how it could be worn over a skirt, dress, leggings, or on its own over opaque tights (and no ordinary tights—close-up, some of them had a changeant green-black sheen; others had fishnet fused into the surface). Within this new clarity of thinking, Pilati turned out coats with curviform hems, paneled skirts with a coolly sexy flip in the hem, and crisp white blouses with complex volumes in the sleeve. It was "ordinary," practical dressing, in a way, but done with all the savoir faire of a Parisian powerhouse.
Pilati's concise message left no room for grandiose evening gestures, though there were a couple of short, simple, and desirable velvet dresses, with a subtle sparkle applied through metallic flocking. He had also thought about day-to-night usefulness, weaving a low-shine lamé thread into multitasking charcoal dresses and jumpsuits that could be worn to work or out to dinner. The show concluded not with miles of red-carpet chiffon destined for one-night-only appearances but with a black tuxedo coat-dress, loosely buttoned over: the sort of piece Pilati foresees a woman keeping in her wardrobe forever. "Of course we have evening dresses, always, at Saint Laurent," he said. "But I think timelessness is a good message for now, no?"(style.com)

I see this as classic style for the intellectual woman - a woman with a particular Pilati-esque Frenchness. It is not so much androgynous as appropriating masculine style markers and transforming them for a new feminine perspective. Perhaps the collection is a bit serious, but it is also confident and alluring; it is not dull, but sexy and full of subtle surprises.
Complete Collection

6. Givenchy
Ricardo Tisci began this collection - a varied yet still cohesive collection designed to give ever ywoman what they want: with fierce asymmetrical shapes that had a cubist feel. What followed were suits, coats, and pants that were just edgy enough for a Tisci woman, without being outrageous. Finally a trio of breathtakingly pretty lace dresses introduced a sextion featuring Tisci at his best: giving a modern and beautiful interpretation of gothic romanticism. It was a watery affair: feather and tulle garments, pants with evening blouses draped with ropes, and strikingly, he even gave us gothic mermaids draped in shimmering black nets. Indeed, it was a poetic vision of an Urban Swan Lake with erotic sensual appeal and transcendent beauty.
Complete Collection

5. Balenciaga
After years of sci-fi futurism, Nicholas Ghesquiere decided to take a softer, more feminine approach - while retaining originality and couture quality. Lush Parisian style, with an oriental touch. "he designer had mined the Balenciaga archive, examined the structure of a drape-waisted forties redingote, thought over a later sari-inspired collection, and pulled up three late-sixties scarf prints. He took it from there to design a modern translation in satin, printed silk, and fragile dévoré velvet." Fabric clung to the hips with a sensual elegance that was balanced by the masculine tuxedo-elements. At its worst, the prints were too busy and Dynasty-esque, but ats best the collection took a YSL sophistication and injected it with a fresh joie de vivre attitude.
Complete Collection

4. Jean Paul Gaultier
In the back of my mind there resides an awareness of the similarities between high fashion, super heroes, and BDSM: they each in one way or another involve fantasy - tension - exploring alternatives to ones own identity or even airing aspects of identity that are normally repressed. Well this collection from Gaultier makes it impossible to ignore the connections: those masks: superhero or fetish? And those Xs...surely they are taken from XXX, and yet they make me think of the Xmen. With typical Gaultier playfulness (best exemplified by the dollar-bill print dress), Gualtier upturns expectations regarding gender and sophistication. The speakeasy looks are both underground and upscale; the gangster suits are seductive; lazer cut fishnet details add a dash of sex to otherwise high-class looks. Gaultier is young, fun, and all about celebrating life: recession be damned.
Complete Collection

3. Lanvin
At the beginning I was a bit concerned - it was classic, doubtless, but I was hoping for more than a mere remake of past hit. The second half delivered. The shapes are genius, flattering and the fabrics are stunningly rich and romantic. The jewelry introduces simultaneously evokes ancient empires and mechanical futurism - surprising amidst a collection that has echoes of the 40s. There is evolution here - even the most iconic Lanvin looks perfect rather than repeat. While I feel more color would be desirable, but I love the midnight feeling of this collection - gauzy fabric that wraps like mist, metallic and velvet vines winding across fabrics, unsettling and intriguing use of golden studs and strands that hint at something more in the darkness.
I love the image of womanhood created here. This woman is part femme fatale, part romantic princess, part priestess, and a thoroughly modern intellectual with complexity, subtlety, and confidence.
No matter what happens, Alber has designed a collection for a woman who will carry for it with the grace and dignity of a lady (who may have a smirk on her lips and a gleam in her eye). She is entirely herself. Just as this label is clearly entirely itself. It does not need gimmicks or trends. It may always be striving to be a better part of itself, may stumble occasionally (there was a season or two that caused me to doubt) but always emerges with dignity and beauty
Complete Collection

2. John Galliano
Galliano's winter colection created a magical winter landscape on the runway, the perfect scene for an enchanting exploration of Russian-Balkan folklore. Finishing on whisper-like silver-threaded gowns Galliano delivered a collection with all the beauty of a fairytale. Exquisite.
Complete Collection

1. Nina Ricci
"The show might have been his swan song at Nina Ricci, but Olivier Theyskens saw it through with a fierce, surreal poetry no one who witnessed it will forget. Vastly tall, his strong-shouldered women were walking, trancelike, on what looked like an impossibility: a laced-up platform ankle boot with a sickle-shaped hole at the back. No heels at all. Their clothes—everything from strangely flowing pants to incredibly cut suits to probably the best black leather jacket in Paris and evening dresses with swooping, furling skirts—were a tour de force. Between the strange atmosphere, the supersharp, almost Mugler-esque jackets, and the sculpted forms, it rounded up everything fashion-watchers have known Theyskens is capable of, and went even further.

"I was thinking of a nocturnal mood," he said backstage, trying to explain how he'd orchestrated it. "Not nightclubbing at all. Something moonlit—a bit magical." Oddly enough, it wasn't melancholy and never lapsed into the costumey gothic mindset Theyskens once inhabited. Instead, the collection was a proud—if not exactly defiant—series of reminders of the chic, precise way he used to cut a jacket when he was running his own line, a flashback to the corseted lingerie he perfected at Rochas, and an underscoring of the genius he has applied to making grand event dresses during his tenure at Ricci. Backstage, Theyskens was gracious and smiling as he received sincere congratulations for an outing that showcased all his talents, offered many things for many women to wear for many occasions, and was thereby the most mature and salable collection he's designed to date. Quite why he saved his best till last is a mystery, but Ricci's management may just be kicking itself for letting him go." (style.com)
Complete Collection