Paris Spring 2014: Valentino, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac
What is luxury? Unless it’s Haute Couture, it might be a bit confusing these days. But Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccoli turned out an undeniably rich collection yesterday at the Tuileries. It was a gorgeous melange of worldly influences inspired by The Rome Opera’s workshops, where the design duo had made an impromptu visit. There were skirts cut like a Roman gladiator’s, Grecian column dresses, traditional ornate Russian embroidery that came on pieces fit for a modern day czarina. There were burgundy suede fringe capes, too. The show notes pointed to “decontextualization”, “contaminating different worlds”, and “blending iconographies”. Deep burgundy suedes like a tasseled cape or a mini jumpsuit looked incredibly luxe, especially one dress where the suede had been embroidered with an Asian-inspired print worn underneath a fully embroidered kimono style jacket of the same pattern. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Valentino show without some beautiful lace looks. The typically French fabric was infused with circular Japanese style motifs on the neckline and sleeves of an all white three-quarter sleeved long gown. As for the crowd’s reaction? “That was my favorite show I’ve seen all of fashion week,” we heard Derek Blasberg say to his gaggle of girls as he exited the show. “I mean amazing. The craftsmanship and the vision were incredible,” said Elettra Wiedemann. “I felt like there was a real story.” Meanwhile, we watched Bill Cunningham grinning from ear to ear with enthusiasm, practically giggling with glee as he snapped away in the front row (this, from a man that has probably seen more shows than just about anyone!). We were equally enthralled.
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac
“This is how my style was born out of my dreams. My longest romance is played out in this collection as if it came straight from the pages of my diary,” said Jean-Charles de Castelbajac in his “Poésic” show notes. It was about his love affair with fashion, but also with art and the cross section of the two. It seems art has been on everyone’s mind this season, from Karl Lagerfeld to Rick Owens. Like the latter, de Castelbajac went the performance art route, but here he explored his own art in motion. A big screen showed images of de Castelbajac’s artistic process as he projected himself mid-show painting on a model wearing a canvas floor-length white zip dress, which ended up as the final look. He looked elsewhere to his own artistic endeavors, as his poetry served as the pattern on linen skirts suits and shift dresses as well as white sheer layered floor-length tunic dresses. Arms, hands, and feet showed up on multi-colored dresses and sweaters in Ellsworth Kelly’s color trio of red, blue, and green. White A line skirts were painted in black with big face patterns and big flashes of gold came in slouchy pants with a black sleeveless top and a big gold metal medallion with a cut-out lightening bolt. Gallerinas, eat your hearts out. “I love art and I like to paint,” said de Castelbajac backstage. “I actually have a painting up for auction right now at Christie’s.” As we know with most creative spirits, they’re rarely confined to one genre. Long live the Renaissance man!