Christian Lacroix and Givenchy Perform the Not-So Same Old Song and Dance
It of course cant be that every single show that has currently held lineup at Paris' Couture Week could be something short of spectacular, as was the case at Dior and Chanel. There of course will be a few misfires each season, and unfortunately, two misfires from this round of shows just so happen to be two of my favorite designers.
Starting with Christian Lacroix, a label that is as much known for its impeccable detail and style ingenuity as it is its quality and "never let ya down" looks. This season, Lacroix published a collection of clothes that were about as cohesive as the bandage-bondage dresses being showed at Givenchy (but I'll get to that shortly). The theme of the show was "The Designs of Her Nature", which is an attempt at some form of ode to what my guess would be Mother Nature. The collection itself, just like Mother Nature,was scattered everywhere. It showcased a full scale lineup of patterns and assortments of color, including polka dots, stripes, birds, bows, and flowers. The problem however, was that the patterns were so under and sparsely used that they quickly became forgetable, leaving the audience in a whirl wind of pattern overload. What was even more unfortunate was the non unity of the clothing themselves, from the silhouettes to the color and style alone. It was as though the designer had tried to dip his toe into every possible lake of concept, and came out drowning in a sea of un-impressive ideas that left the audience feeling cold and wet with let down. Even though there were a hint of Marc Jacobs-Esq layering here, and a nice satin polka dotted trench there, that was in fact the problem; it featured too many ideas. From form flattering skirts to military jackets and overly masculine pant suits complete with vests, it was a hodge-podge of ideas all fighting for the spotlight. The evening wear portion was a mere parade of ruffled silk taffeta and chiffon, and the final piece was a wedding gown complete with sculptured embroidered Edwardian blazer and bustier. It would have been more appropriate to design a final gown that was made for that of a funeral.
Givenchy also had its share of mistakes, though not as brash as Christian Lacroix, I might thankfully say, seeing how this is my personal favorite between the two houses. The collection, which was inspired by painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and dance costume makers Pina Bausch, featured an overall saturated hue of colors, from mid whites, to light pinks, to pastel yellows. Some of the things shown were the now always popular exaggerated shoulder and form flattering skirts. The beginning of the show, which was noticeably stronger and more impressive than the middle, featured what appeared to be very Lanvin-inspired evening and cocktail dresses, which were by far the highlights of the collection. These unarguably delectable yet now-growing-stale pieces were beautifully sculptured, tailored off the shoulder dresses that could make any woman look like a million bucks. After the disappointing mid-part of the show, came the evening portion which was quite a bit better, and seemed to get the collection back on track to where it never should have veered from in the first place. However, the evening portion did begin to showcase the bondage themed detail that the house is so now used to, season after season. It wouldn't hurt to try to bandage up the wound of the bondage dress, and appropriately move on.
It would be all too easy, not to mention merely a fantasy, if every house of fashion put out an extremely ingenious and progressive collection of apparel season after season. That's why we face the reality, and understand that sometimes a designer slides off of their path, and may make a mistake or two. We can only hope however, and never lose faith, that by the next collection the designer will once again re-claim their position as a force to be reckoned with. And hopefully Lacroix in particular will learn that Mother Nature is not a force to be reckoned with, at least when your trying to do so using only some fabric, thread, a needle and an idea.