Some people, it seems, haven’t missed a beat. Like Alexandre Vauthier. Enter his sprawling new showroom on Rue Galliera —overlooking the gardens of Palais Galliera, the Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris — and the world gives way to fashion.
Drawing on years of experience, and with support from a community he has built over two decades in the business, the designer introduced 24 looks for the season, pulling French savoir-faire into a contemporary realm, offering it to an audience hungry for fashion.
“What did I do? Paris. Pure beauty — we returned to the essentials,” Vauthier said.
Given the circumstances — coronavirus shutdowns — Vauthier drew on French materials and expertise.
“It’s a very French collection,” he said, looking around the new space, which he furnished with modern design pieces, softening its imposing Haussmannian austerity.
A series of red carpet-friendly looks came in the form of featherlight, Lurex dresses in gold and a hot purple, crafted with fishing wire, with piles of ruffles cascading down a full skirt, or twisting around a tightly wrapped dress and bursting off of one shoulder. More busy, and rather futuristic, there was a bolero skirt and vest combination, with sharp shoulders and rings of ruffles cinching the arm.
Much of the collection carried a timeless feel — a luxurious black velvet dress, for example, lined in bright, duchess-satin in emerald-green, juxtaposing splits with folds, and covering just one shoulder. Bolero jackets came with intricate embroidery and puffed up shoulders, torero style, or in shimmery green and black stripes — Eighties style — with elegantly bulked-up arms, lined in velvet. The tuxedo was updated with an integrated sash and paired with bermudas. Accessories were worked in effectively, scrunched, satin boots with pointy toes were sexy; Philip Treacle hats added extra flair.
“We had to move quickly, we had to do it well — we did what we know how to do,” Vauthier said.
Part of the look book was shot in Paris, by Karim Sadli. The other half was shot in the Hamptons, by Inez & Vinoodh — the clothing having been shipped off to the U.S.
“It was a moment of freedom, with no rules,“ he explained, noting that even with no specific editorial brief involved, he was pleased at how the different points of view came together in a coherent look book. His woman certainly was stylish, leaning against a sandstone building in Paris or standing in a cluttered kitchen in the Hamptons.
Short films showed models wearing the clothing, on the street and in a club setting, the rock chic vibes relayed by scratchy guitar.