Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Too much glitter, and not enough gold at Paris Fashion Week

I have one question, why?

Or maybe “how” is better. How could one of the most respected fashion houses in Paris, Emanuel Ungaro, replace Esteban Cortazar as its chief designer with Lindsey Lohan? Sure, Cortazar, who held the position since 2007, was still finding his footing in his 2008 Spring and Fall collections, but his beautiful Fall 2009 show was an artistic triumph-if not a commercial one.

When told that he would have to share a runway with the star who spends as much time in rehab as she does in films, Cortazar quit in protest. An understandable move; I don’t think anyone would want to be associated with the lumps of fabric that Lohan and Estrella Archs tried to pass off as clothing this Sunday at Paris Fashion Week. Some of the models looked like they had walked straight off the set of Mulan does Studio 54, others like a sultan who’s found Jesus (harem pants and heart prints do not mix). But the worst just looked, well sad, and extremely uncomfortable in clothing so poorly constructed and designed.

Luckily, there were other shows to make up for it. Riccardo Tisci presented a marvelous collection for Givenchy, with zig-zagging prints dripping and draping in innovative ways. His pieces are wearable, but still interesting, which is perhaps the hardest balance to get right.

Alexander McQueen continued along with the same structured mini-dresses plastered with tapestry-like prints that he used in Spring 2009 collection. In keeping with his new theme, “Plato’s Atlantis”, however, his models looked like those strange beings that inhabit the deepest depths of the ocean. As usual, everything was impeccably tailored and fitted, and McQueen made even the lightest, most delicate fabric take structure and form. And all of this pulsated to the tune of Lady Gaga’s new single.

Alas, it was near impossible to avoid celebrities. Even at Chanel, the crown jewel of Paris fashion, Lily Allen gave a surprise performance. Luckily, both Karl Lagerfield and McQueen were able to show such strong collections that the celebrities, rather than eclipse the show, merely became another part of the spectacle.

Indeed, Lagerfield’s gauzy, but not ethereal dresses, superb lacework and the always new classic Chanel tweed, were quite enough to hold the show together on their own; Lily Allen was just a side-show. Thankfully, for some, at least, fashion week is still about the clothes.


mno33 said...

finally something new for Ungaro