1. by Alexander Fury .

    Haider Ackermann

    Haider Ackermann's collection, shown in almost monastic silence, managed to make nothing new at all seem very exciting indeed. This was again his vision of a modern - even futuristic - nomadic woman, transcending boundaries of nationality, era and even gender with her clothing. The models had an odd air of Tilda Swinton, perhaps as Orlando in the meshing of male and female into a form of androgyny which managed to throw up a different slant on the old boy-girl shtick. The extremely attenuated angular silhouettes were emphasised by high shoes and severely pinned-back hair, but the layering of fabrics and touches of luxury in tautly draped meshes and wafting, almost aquatic ostrich feather fronds gave a distinctly delicate, feminine touch. And the fabrics were extraordinary - translucent films veiling otherwise opaque-wrapped forms.

  2. by Alexander Fury .

    YSL: we are not men!

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    Tonight Yves Saint Laurent can be summed up in a single word: perfection. Absolute, utter, total perfection. It's actually difficult to articulate the high this show has left everyone on - we lapsed into hyperbole and accosted passers-by to solicit their opinion. And what triggered this? A concise, precise vision of laser-sharp clarity, articulating exactly how women should look right now, and single-handedly redefining the season to come into the bargain. As with so much of Pilati's work, the elements he borrowed from veered into what our pedestrian perceptions consider 'bad taste' - peplum jackets, dirndls, hooker-heft shoes and goth makeup. His absolute genius is that he could make a packed-to-the-rafters room at the Grand Palais audiably heave a sigh of wanton, blatent desire at every single exit. Nothing else in Paris - or indeed in all the Autumn shows - has been as right, as unutterably, unequivocally ideal, as YSL. We have seen the future: buy everything, question nothing.

  3. by Alexander Fury .

    Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

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    Jean-Charles de Castelbajac's longevity has oft been dismissed as part of that particularly French affectation of revering as national icons that which pretty much the entire world has deemed irredeemably kitsch - in that respect he can perhaps be dubbed fashion's Johnny Halliday. Frankly, this is not without fair reason: his collection today was a classic romp through Castelbajac camp on a red-and-white minnie mouse polkadotted runway. Minnie herself made an appearance as a black-yoked red-bowed confection with comedy puffed sleeves, alonside gags like party hats, oversized sunglasses and a sequinned cigarillo (didn't really get that one, Jean). Unfortunately my decidedly dodgy camerawork didn't catch the riotous all-jiving disco dance finale, although the eye-popping colours give you the general gist. All very Castelbajac. Them again, when Giles is emblazoning sequinned shifts with Castelbajac-obean cartoon eyes and superstylist Katie Grand is heralding Minnie as a style icon, maybe his legacy should be reassed. Certainly the crush at the Carousel for his standing room only show and the opening of a London shop next month are ample indication of his enduring popularity, not just with the French. Carry On Castelbajac!

  4. by Alexander Fury .

    Moncler Gamme Rouge

    Two shows within 24 hours is a tough call for any designer: perhaps that is why Giambattista Valli chose to present his first Moncler Gamme Rouge collection as a series of artisan-inspired tableaux a way away from the maddening crowds of the Louvre in the 15 arondissement. The Moncler collection was closer to home when it came to Valli's designs: his puffas came in black, virgin white and rich, Goya-esque red, cut in taffeta, duchesse de soie and gazaar. Setting the collection in the Bourdelle museum and juxtaposing the clothes with statury underlined the sculptural qualities of the garments, which were memorable for the manner in which Valli interpreted his trademark dramatic shapes within the restrictions of Moncler's puffa product. If Valli's own label could be criticised for its lack of reality, the comparative success of his Moncler range was how Valli worked to make his unmistakeable touches of haute couture, his feathers, bows and furbelows, work in a luxe sportswear context. A beautiful, assured debut.

  5. by Alexander Fury .

    Boudicca Showroom

    Visiting Boudicca is always a wonderful experience, not only for the intellect of the clothes but also the intellect of the company. Zoe Broach, one half of Boudicca, was on hand to guide us through both the ready-to-wear and Boudicca's exquisite couture pieces. Inspired by the image within an image, collages plastered the walls as inspiration while the garments explored ideas of sliced-away facades, fusion of disparate themes and images themselves. This was best demonstrated in their spectacular '3-D 2-D' print, where roses jut out from garments as flat images - witness this Penny pap-snap of me seeing this virtual decoupage first hand.

  6. by Alexander Fury .

    Eugene Souleiman talks heads at Rue du Mail

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  7. by Alexander Fury .

    Rue du Mail up close

    Busying ourselves backstage, we managed to sneak a few pictures of 'the look' at Rue du Mail away from the drama of the runway. Martine Sitbon's longstanding collaborator, the art director Marc Ascoli, told us that she wanted every model to be 'a set of eyes, intense blue eyes, floating down the catwalk'. What this equated to was Charlotte Tilbury's smoky pewter shadowing the whole socket on an otherwise barely-there face. To offset these eyes, hair was slick, clean and, s Eugene Souleiman so aptly dubbed it, sharp as the crack of a bullwhip.

  8. by Alexander Fury .

    Rue du Mail by Martine Sitbon

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    The deep, smoky eyes we saw backstage set the scene for Martine Sitbon's Rue de Mail collection, which was a dark but by no means sombre affair. Each outfit was silhouetted by light as it emerged onto the runway, the shadows emphasising the graphic qualities of solid A-line coats and floating, diaphanous chiffon panels. The mood was a darkly romantic take on sixties revival art nouveau, it seemed. What that scrabble of words equates to is easy, wearable shift dresses with dramatic applique details, cruciform seaming and flyaway panes of silk. Throughout, the clothes had a slouchy elegance: the silks and satins seemed washed to dull their lustre, and when paillettes were used to add interest to otherwise severe dresses and coats, their glisten was dark and subtle. The colour palette, like the applique designs, drew on the art nouveau staple of the peacock feather for inspiration: an interlocking colour scheme of pewter, emerald, teal and amythyst dominated, Sitbon's skill being such that, remarkably, almost no black appeared. Devore tunics in jewel-like ombre shades, starkly unadorned or veiled with simple cocooning coats in cellophane-like synthetic organza made a striking finale to a show where the crowd's roar of approval really needed no explanation.

  9. by Alexander Fury .

    Alexander McQueen

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    The title of Alexander McQueen's show turned out to be something of a misnomer: although a tree loomed large over proceedings, these were by no means clothes for bough-scrambling tomboys. The show was divided into two distinct sections, opening with ostensible daywear and what equated by and large to the commercial core of the collection. This focussed around the trademark taut tailoring so many women rely on from McQueen and which will no doubt be expanded exponentially in the showroom. Rendered in an inky palette of predominantly black along with a wonderful oversized mohairy tartan, McQueen showed his classic waisted suits with a fin-de-siecle spin: cutaway coats, curved frock revers and high white collar and cuffs gave a Wildean air, one tailcoat even coming replete with green carnation. It was mere infinitesimal adjustments to the skinny cut and proportion that kept the look modern, and that is a mark of McQueen's skill.

    If the dandy is the black prince of elegance, it's natural that McQueen should turn to princesses to inspire the latter section. He took us on a historical jaunt through the sadly bygone days of the Great British Empire, from the Hartnell heydays of Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth via the Edwardian Raj back to the pomp and circumstance of the Georgian court. Of course this comprised of the crowd-pleasing (and editorial-packing) flash and dazzle McQueen is known for, all couture-standard and all exquisite. Frogged Victorian velvets, lashing of ermine, silk-mousseline Empire-line gowns, lace, embroidery, indeed all the regalia of a reigning monarch past and present. As the models paraded slowly in jewel-encrusted slippers manipulating yards of tumbling train and jewelled headresses, it seemed a constant search for modernity. Of course it was there, in the jagged asymmetric hemlines, sliced militia jackets pieced into tulle, and a museum-quality pearl-and-glitter quilted bolero thrown over a slender jumpsuit with navy satin tuxedo-stripe. These were the elements that stood out as the future amongst the finery.

  10. by Alexander Fury .

    The walk-through at Chloé

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    After a busy, busy Paris fashion week, sitting in the overheated tent in the Tulleries, it was really quite difficult to stay awake at the Chloé show. Paulo Melim Andersson, three seasons into his tenure, offered a collection which will no doubt be quickly dubbed 'eclectic,' a popular fashion euphemism for disjointed and unfocussed. The frankly cretinous programme notes only served to scramble the message even more: the Chloé girl suffers from 'urban ennui', apparently, with an 'aristocratic past and a walk on the wild side present'. How this equates to the clothing shown, I haven't yet figured out. The collection tried to hit every possible trend on the head - masculine tailoring, embellishment, black-is-back ad nauseum - but in its desperate attempts to appear 'branché' it came across as stilted as the show music, jumping violently from euro-electronica to plaintive violins with no explanation inbetween. There was an oddly summery feel to the prissy, sprig-print chiffons, chintz and paisleys, perhaps because we saw them done by so many others this spring; likewise the high-necked blouses, dubbed Victoriana, but with definite shades of Prada's 'Sincere Chic'. The oversized, tweedy masculine tailoring was nice (albeit already a cliché), but as quickly as it appeared it was gone, with no development of aesthetic. It's not that the A/W 2008 Chloé collection was particularly bad, or especially offensive - indeed much of it was very, very good. It's just that throughout one had the feeling that we've seen pretty much everything offered before, and done with more conviction, something we should never feel at a major Paris show. That may seem harsh, but when the only hyperbole a review can possibly muster is 'nice' and 'good' to describe a collection, something has to be awry.

  11. by Alexander Fury .

    John Galliano

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    The ghost of haute Hollywood costumier Edith Head and her auteur set the scene at Galliano

  12. by Alexander Fury .

    Galliano's set #1

    I hoped for a full-out Galliano spectacular, and he's pulled out all the stops with a fully-fledged night-of-a-thousand-extras production number. The opium-hazed mise en scene is a thirties Hollywood epic of the de Mille variety, with yards of suspiciously gold ruched lame, a multitude of sets and the Galliano crew on hand to ham it up for all they're worth! It's already great, and he hasn't even shown a frock!


    1. GalileosUniverse
      21:51 6 Mar 2008
      This is a far better and more beautiful decor idea compared to the actual pics in ! Had the decor indeed been done in this hues and with the beautiful lighting as shown here ... then indeed the decor would had been absolutely fantastic and a feast to the eyes , but that is as a matter of fact another story .......
  14. by Alexander Fury .

    John Galliano: Poetry in Motion

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  15. by Alexander Fury .

    The walk through at John Galliano

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