Carven: By offering an antidote to the toughened, sportswear-driven mélange that has gripped the advanced contemporary market, Carven has become a hot resource for elite retailers. Guillaume Henry’s excellent spring collection for the label should keep the stores clamoring.
He laced his signature blend of retro elements — the trim Seventies shoulder line and exaggerated collar; the bell shapes of Sixties couture, here modified for the modern wearer — with the inky colors and delicate curlicues of Art Nouveau. Henry name-checked architect Hector Guimard, whose influence could be traced to the crafty lacework, the inverted curve of a hemline and wing-shaped cutouts on the chests of soft dresses and structured coats. Cutouts have become an effective signature for Henry, bringing novelty to the look without feeling forced.
After the show, the designer said he had imagined the adventurous spirit of a woman traveling to new frontiers in the 20th century. “I thought about being delicate in a tough environment,” he said, noting the fabrics: Panama canvases, a thick waffled material, and woven silk and linen that looked like tweed. If it appeared that Henry was anticipating a chilly spring, the heft enhanced the silhouettes’ sophisticated volume and weight.