Variety Is the Spice – Alber Elbaz, Sonia Rykiel, Antonio Marras, Cacharel and Martin Margiela
Paris fashion this season is a creature of considerable variety. Alber Elbaz, for example, combined moody sophistication with volume for an exquisite Lanvin collection…Sonia Rykiel’s rollicking show featured peppy knits and flower...
Lanvin: Anyone who is searching out that elusive Parisian je ne sais quoi need look no further than the house of Lanvin. Alber Elbaz knows what, and if he could bottle the esprit of his exquisite spring collection, he’d be a gazillionaire. Jeanne Lanvin, the label’s namesake, did just that in 1925, when she launched her first perfume, My Sin. But while he plays off the moody sophistication of that heritage, Elbaz also does clothes there that are thoroughly his own. They’re of the moment, but full of character, like clothes with a backstory.
Elbaz’s main message was one of pumped-up volume, and though inflating their cuts is the way other designers have pushed the boundaries and been burned, with a little pouf here and a little puff there, Elbaz’s vision looked tantalizing. On top, he proposed a featherweight mock parka or a jacket cinched at the waist. Meanwhile, he tinkered with a variety of ample skirt silhouettes — from full circle skirts to those shaped like an upside-down champagne flute — because there are a multitude of ways to dress beautifully chez Lanvin. The original Lanvin once described her craft as a way to “contribute to the spell of femininity.” Come spring, Elbaz’s devoted clientele are sure to think they’ve died and gone to party-dress heaven. His were some of the best of the week, and included intricately sculpted, pleated dresses perfect for any goddess in training and those done in a loose, vaguely Twenties style.
Throughout it all, Elbaz maintained the luxe, the romance and the mysterious chic he’s brought to the brand. Madame Jeanne would have been proud.
Sonia Rykiel: With barefoot models flooding the runway in a love-fest finale, Sonia Rykiel capped a rollicking show that drew on peppy striped knits, frilly dresses and ethnic trimmings, from golden coins embroidered onto sweaters to tassels on knits. Hippie rainbows turned up on the busts of sweaters, while there was flower power in the prints on pretty chiffon dresses. But Rykiel also applied sequins to her signature black sweaters — one emblazoned with “Legend,” another with a skull — and added fluffy feathers to handkerchief skirts. It was upbeat and even a family affair: Three of Rykiel’s granddaughters joined the designer when she came out for a bow.Kenzo: In his second collection for this LVMH-owned house, Italian designer Antonio Marras poetically told another ethnic tale, this time inspired by the patterns, colors and intricate beading of Africa. A patchwork of prints appeared on a flowing dress, while wide ankle-length pants were worn cinched high on the waist and paired with a loose colorful blouse. Other members of his chic fashion tribe wore cropped jackets, teamed with jumbo-sized African jewelry. And to beat home the theme even further, a squadron of drummers filed onto the runway for an uplifting finale.
Cacharel: Inacio Ribeiro and Suzanne Clements have been whipping up young, fresh collections for Cacharel since they started designing for the firm a few years back. This season, their cheery sportswear had zip, too. African-style prints decorated dresses and jackets, and tops came with ethnic embroidery. Bright greens and blues gave pleated skirts energy, while tiered skirts paired with ruffled tops were in step with the trends. Tropical flowers emblazoned other confections and brocade added sophistication. It’s all sure to appeal to their youthful customers.
Martin Margiela: Imagine that you rolled out of bed in a hurry and put your sweater on upside down and your skirt on sideways. You wouldn’t think that it was much of a style statement. But this season, Martin Margiela certainly does. The conceptual Belgian turned his creations askew, creating one very strange — and difficult to wear — silhouette. Dresses, too, were slipped into sideways, becoming skirts with sleeves floating in the breeze on one side and hemlines sagging on the other. Some even came with steel hangers dangling from dress straps. While this was Margiela’s main theme, he also confected a dress out of dozens of pantyhose and cut off the sleeves of vintage-looking majorette jackets. Margiela’s quirky take on fashion has often left his audience bewildered, and is, as King Mongkut sang in “The King and and I,” “a puzzlement.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast