Friday, 29 January 2010

During long winter nights

I know I've said this a gazillion times before, but...Will someone get me back to the 60's in a time machine?
For some reason we've been singing loads of Beatles songs during the last few days at YSL... It keeps us relaxed during stressful moments. I hadn't listened to this song for so long!

J.D. Salinger died yesterday aged 91. Many people didn't know who he was, I was really shocked at that. Models at work did know who he was though and had read "The Catcher in the Rye" ( whatever you do keep this in mind: female models are far from being stupid. Male models are a whole different thing. I mean you've all watched "Zoolander", right?). Anyway, I read "The Catcher in the Rye" almost two years ago. My boyfriend told me I absolutely had to read it, and to be honest I started it reluctantly, thinking it would be kind of Jack Kerouac-ish (I'm not the biggest fan of beatniks you'll ever meet...) I simply loved it in the end. It's one of the most unique books I've ever read. If you haven't read it, please do! It will change your life.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Give me some Hot Couture!

Is Haute Couture dead? Each season, this eternal question looks actually less like a question and more like a fact. The truth is the French industry has a big problem here, and not just because couture is something that only 2000 persons in the whole planet can afford, but for the struggle of an obsolete way of working to adapt itself to the XXIst century. Don't misunderstand me: I adore haute couture, and I think the work of people like Lesage, Lemarié and all the other artisans that work for couture should remain a reference for the luxury market, (so thanks Kaiser Karl for financing the artisans) but I also think the balance between tradition and modernity is difficult to achieve. And so we find ourselves with two new trends when it comes to couture: there's the self-proclaimed "modern" or "avant-garde" couture, which is trying to be minimal and arty, although it's actually a bit like Nouvelle Cuisine, clichéd and out of fashion. On the other side, we find all these designs that seem to have been thought for "Barbie Princess of a Fairy Tale" (although they are really meant for opulent Dubai princesses and cheesy red carpet fairy tales- yes, I'm talking about Elie Saab and some such abominations). Meanwhile, some of the most elegant and most representative houses have been forced to stop producing couture (Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Christian Lacroix), and some other houses survive, still working in excellence and continuing the European tradition. And very few new designers have the talent to keep up with that (among them, I am proud to say, Italian genius Maurizio Galante, for whom I interned for almost a year and who taught me a lot about fashion. A post about him is on its way).
So...what to do? I guess the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture is managing the issue the best they can... Otherwise all we can do is hope for new geniuses to take over and for Karl to never die. Meanwhile, let's enjoy what is left of True Haute Couture.

Galliano put on a "très Dior" show. and "très très Galliano" as well. Always looking for inspiration in Monsieur and his New Look, and always looking for inspiration in the past (he is known as John Galliera here, in reference to the history of costume museum), he put together the perfect collection for 1890. Exquisite fabrics, exquisite draping and exquisite shapes. After some outfits that would have made perfect costumes for an Oscar Wilde play, some more contemporary but equally sublime numbers appeared. Take off the excessive and beautiful hair and hats, and you have some perfect pieces for Ascot (that is, if the ladies that go to Ascot were that elegant and daring).

I loved the way Karl forgot about excessive ball gowns full of fabric everywhere and went for simple shapes this season. No black, no navy. Only pastel for Chanel. And some of the most beautiful details and finishings I've ever seen. Uber-chic, original and contemporary...It seems Chanel has the recipe for the perfect balance between tradition and modernity. By the way I'll have this last long satin dress, thank you very much.

Its first three seasons made me lose faith in Armani Privé for ever and ever... or so I thought. This last show surprised me inmensely! All the hideous silvery-metallic bustier dresses were gone! So where the undernourished skeletor models Mr. Armani seemed to like so much. Lovely girls and minimal clothes for maximal elegance. Less is more and Giorgio Armani is back to his glory days. Bravo!

Riccardo Tisci hasn't had it easy... Being the creative head at Givenchy and having to undertake both prêt-à-porter and couture under Hubert de Givenchy's shadow must have been stressful. But he has proved to be more than capable of managing the brand. He is now one of the most sought-after designers and his prêt-à-porter often flirts with couture. He is now getting there in his haute couture work as well. His last show had that dark, chic, phantasmagoric quality we love about Tisci's interpretation of Givenchy. Simpler than some of his previous collections, it was really interesting though.
Have you had an eye on the shows? Which one was your favourite?

Monday, 25 January 2010

Through the rabbit hole

So Anna Wintour came to YSL today. Those of you who follow me on Twitter probably know all about it now...Well, not only we all survived, but also appearently she was very interested in the Prefall collection. I'm glad for Stefano and for all the YSL team, everyone worked so hard so that everything would be perfect for the Queen Bee. People have asked me very often my opinion about Ms. Wintour. I always say she is not precisely my hero (that role goes to other people, like Terry Jones and of course Saint Jefferson Hack. I find their approach to fashion, and to pop culture in general, is much more complex and interesting), but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the work she does! She has given Vogue America a very definite identity (a waspy, bourgeois one, but that's merely a matter of choice) and she always works in excellence. And that is no doubt an example to follow. They say she is a control freak. I can understand that; putting together a magazine is a much more complicated work than it seems... On the whole, I think Vogue America has set extremely high quality and taste standards, which is really good. And it's Anna Wintour who is in charge of coordinating all, which is admirable. Apart from that, the fact that I'd rather spend my 8 euros buying Dazed than Vogue (and the fact that I see fashion with a completely opposite eye from hers) is purely personal.
Also, I won't go into commenting her personality. They say many things about her, true, and everyone was on the verge of a nervous breakdown at YSL this morning before she showed up, true as well, but I don't know her and all I've seen of her today has showed a professional, calm, polite woman doing her job. That sort of made me wonder to what extent her terrible reputation has been constructed by all the people who get really stressed whenever her name is mentioned. Anyway, people have talked so much about her I hardly think I can bring anything new to the debate... But I would like to know what do you think of her and her work!
From tomorrow on, keep an eye on the blog, because I'll be reviewing the couture shows! In the meantime, I leave you with the famous "Alice in Wonderland" shot that made history... in Vogue America.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Poupou pidou

Don't you just love the way Marilyn's dress here is completely transparent, except for the sequins covering her nipples? I always wonder how on earth Billy Wilder could so brilliantly avoid censorship during the most puritan decade of the XXth century...
Have a lovely weekend ♥

Friday, 22 January 2010

Je vous trouve très beau

At the YSL headquarters early this morning, during the Prefall presentation, I couldn't help looking at Monsieur Saint Laurent's pictures up on the wall and to remember how handsome and charming he was. Elegance was synonym with his work, and every time he spoke he showed what an interesting and sensitive person he was. Well... maybe they don't make them like that anymore, but, from what I've seen so far, YSL's prefall collection looks rather nice. I'll be working at the showroom for the next week or so, so you can have regular updates about the collection if you follow me on Twitter. I think it's gonna be exciting- among other things, there's gossip about Anna Wintour coming to see the collection on monday with Stefano (I don't need to tell you how the staff are reacting to that, you've seen it all in "Devil wears Prada"). So, yeah, lots of work planned for the next few days.
Have you been following the men's shows? It seems this is the season of short films... I've seen so many already: Marni's (futuristic), Pringle's (hilarious), Prada's (beautiful and mysterious) and of course, YSL's. It's a film by Bruce Weber and I think it's actually really interesting and there's more to it than meets the eye (his talk about nudity reminded me of this picture of M. Saint Laurent I have posted above). I won't post the films here because I guess many of you have seen most of them (unless you want me to, in which case don't hesitate to leave me a comment and ask for it!), but I actually like this film trend.
What I am posting is the sneak preview of the Saint Laurent show that took place earlier today... Can't wait to see the whole collection too!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Over the rainbow

Who wouldn't do anything just to own shoes as glorious as this? Whilst working on an article today I remembered how absolutely perfect Salvatore Ferragamo's shoes used to be. I mean, these Judy Garlands (that's the name of the beauty above) were created in 1938! Just picture yourself sipping a daiquiri by a swimming pool in Palm Springs wearing those shoes (and maybe also a turban, to add a bit more extravaganza). Those were the days. right? But all of Ferragamo's designs back then were colourful, visionaire and somewhat psychedelic. These are some of my favourites.

This black and white number is so chic. I would wear it anytime, it would look so perfect with all of my clothes. Oh well, dream away. Anyway, if, like me, you're a fan of funky wedges, there's loads to choose from this summer. It's silly because it's January and it's about 2 degrees outside and I'm wearing two pairs of socks, so it's not really the perfect time to think of sandals, is it? Still, I believe it's good to start thinking early of summer shopping. That way you know exactly which pieces you're obsessed with, what you will really need and what you can do without, instead of going completely stressed to Selfridges or Printemps and buying anything and everything like a fashion psycho. At least it works for me. So here are the coolest wedges of the season!
I've just posted one Proenza Shouler. But take a look at the whole collection, because all of the shoes are mental! The colours are to die for and I love the shapes.
There's little to say about Givenchy... Everyone wants these shoes. They are magnificent. I wonder wether it's possible to actually walk on the streets in these but they really are magnificent.
This Anna Sui is original and wearable. Love the cowboy feel to it.
Dior is another must of the season. Half Hollywood golden age and half Studio 54... so cool!
If you like a more low key kind of shoe you're lucky, because this is officially the softest, most feminine, sorbet, powdery season in many years, and there are really lovely pieces.

Stella McCartney has a whole range of cork wedges. They are all minimal and easy to wear, and I think they look really comfortable. The ones above would look so cool just with a denim short and an oversized plain t-shirt.
Roger Vivier was, alongside Ferragamo, one of the first shoemakers to design wedges. This number is classic, summery and oh-so-chic.
For really classic ladies there's nothing like Ralph Lauren, is there?

Donna Karan is always urban. And always fashionable.
This shoe is from Viktor & Rolf. You wouldn't say it after seeing the show, which was so excessive and so...Viktor & Rolf. I really like it because it keeps the fantasy spirit of the show whilst being pretty and wearable.
And, finally, yeah! Salvatore Ferragamo still does wedges. The style is simpler, true, but it is still outrageously chic.
So...Which one is your favourite? Will you be wearing wedges this summer?

Friday, 15 January 2010

On fire

I've been thinking for weeks now, and I've come to one conclusion: I need to become a redhead. I know many people think the weirdest things about redheads, but I just loooove the colour. It somehow is so exotic and sophisticated. When I was a kid I was fascinated by one of my aunts, who is a classic ballet dancer and had all the works: flaming wavy red hair, black eyeliner, really long red nails and the most exquisite shoes. Ever since I kind of got stuck on red hair but I have never dyed it because I'm actually quite happy with my "marron glacé" brunette tone. But seeing pictures like these ones have convinced me that I just must do it, sooner or later! So here are some of the most notorious redheads of the last years:

Lily Cole is obviously an iconic redhead. I know opinions about her are kind of divided, but I have always liked her. She has a great personality and that innocent irresistible English rose look. But I don't think I would get her hair tone... too natural.

Then there's Coco Rocha. I mean of course I could not speak about redheads and not mention an Irish lady right? Although I'm actually not sure wether Coco is a natural redhead. In any case I think she was at her best with this colour.

But, incredible as it may seem, also some continental girls have gone for the ginger look; remember Élise Crombez's red hair phase? (remember Élise Crombez actually? Where has she gone? She used to be totally huge).

And yes, Mademoiselle Jessica Stam was ginger too! And several different tones as well! I really like her colour in the first picture, still kind of dark. She looked really special like that.

And I've left the best for the end: Karen Elson is definitely the queen of them all. She is sophisticated, chic and ageless. I adore every single picture of her I've ever seen, and her hair colour is the perfect shade of red.
The matter is one to be though of, but believe me... It is going to happen, I'll be a redhead some day!