Story is a crucial part of the collection process for Adrien Caillaudaud and Alexis Martial, the way in which they infuse freshness into the perky-chic silhouette they’ve established at Carven: Boxy jackets, slim shells, pert A-line minis and slim, cropped pants. The plotline they concocted for spring imagined an heiress of Madame Carven on holiday with her friends in the family castle, discovering old wardrobes and mixing them with her own.
“The most important thing for this collection is to bring the feeling of the heritage of the house and Madame Carven,” said Caillaudaud. Perhaps realizing that the specifics of Carven’s legacy aren’t common knowledge, they zeroed in on four house codes: the Carven crest, the green and white stripes from the Ma Griffe perfume packaging, scarves and Madame’s obsession with flowers. All of these new/old references gave Caillaudaud and Martial ample material to draw from and they used it wisely, delivering a collection with great breadth and capturing the sense of play that’s central to a fashion-loving girl’s approach to getting dressed.
Per the heiress-rummaging-through-vintage-closets inspiration, the designers made bourgeois staples young. Hand-me-down scarves were fashioned into miniskirts lightly wrapped low on the hips like a short sarong, and a classic navy and white Breton striped shirt came as a boxy sweatshirt — the fetish symbol of currency at the moment — embroidered with a spiky chardon flower. The family crest appeared as glittery embroidery on lace sweatshirts, and green-and-white stripes were splashed on a skirt. Crisp white poplin and printed baby dolls heralded the flirty youth-on-holiday mood. Caillaudaud and Martial layered in lingerie, red tights under white dresses and bright plastic denim jackets and pants for an “electric” look. It worked. The more conservative heritage pieces grounded the shock, but the circuit remained live.