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  1. by Alexander Fury .

    PARIS FASHION WEEK: Bless you Susie!

    Fashion seems to have a fascination with discomfort. Crippling torsos with corsetry, shackling the legs with hobble skirts and stretching tendons to breaking-point with higher-than-high heels: these have been part of the fashion lexicon for decades, even centuries, and are not prone to change. Bless seemed to be on a similar sadistic kick as their show was the very definition of uncomfortable - albeit psychological rather than merely physical. After waiting an interminable eternity in a crowded, dark street in the Marais, then in a crowded courtyard, we were finally herded like bleating lambs to the slaughter up - you guessed it - a very crowded staircase. Only that was actually the label's 'Nothingneath' show. On closer inspection, the crowd on the staircase was a little too good-looking and oddly dressed to be mere attendees. The cold, glazed and slightly mocking stares of the models, half-smirking, half-bored and almost challenging you to hate the clothing, made for distinctly disquieting viewing: I certainly had no wish to be in close proximity to them for any period of time. As for the clothes... I hardly noticed them at all, so astutely was I avoiding catching the menacing mannequins' eyes.Maybe the point was to feel as if you were beneath nothing. Maybe the point was to debunk the fashion convention of the observed and the observers. Maybe the point was the very event as opposed to the clothing. But frankly, to me, it all felt a little pointless.

  2. by Alexander Fury .

    PHONECARTE

    Far from exciting on a purely visual level, to accompany our S/S 2009 front-of-house reportage from the Paris collections SHOWstudio have recruited - well, cajoled - model Lily Donaldson into touching base with us via PHONECARTE throughout the course of the week. Calling from very taffeta-lined trenches of la mode, Lily will be hanging on the telephone on every step of her Paris Fashion Week experience: en route to the shows, during make-up and hair, from midnight fitting to the very final moment before her first look hits the catwalk, Lily will dial in to give us an invaluable and unique insight into the very innards of the machine of fashion. Sit back and enjoy it unashamedly.

    Recent comments

    1. la
      16:40 29 Sep 2008
      How exciting. I love Lilly. I am sure her phone messages will be wild!
    2. BabyAnne
      19:03 29 Sep 2008
      Lily is divine! I'm looking forward to the updates...
    Comment
  3. by Alexander Fury .

    PARIS FASHION WEEK: Day III

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    Recent comments

    1. la
      19:18 29 Sep 2008
      Sounds like a fab day , Alex,but you could have told us earlier that todays shows started later.I have been checking all day.
    2. alex.fury
      22:03 29 Sep 2008
      Sorry la, I had to coax my friend into acting as makeshift camerawoman for me today and then was Metro-ing like mad to make it to Margiela! I'm never one to normally keep my fans waiting I promise...
    Comment
  4. by Alexander Fury .

    PARIS FASHION WEEK: Maison Martin Margiela

    Much mythologised but rarely felt is the true 'fashion moment', where something is so utterly, thrillingly wonderful that it transcends mere seasonal fashion and becomes something closer to art, something timeless, something truly monumental. This evening's Margiela show was such an event. A celebration of the house's 20th anniversary, the collection was a seeming exercise in archival revival, albeit anything but a lazy or emotionless rehash. Each outfit somehow had a tie to Margiela past while showing how that past could be utilised to invent the future. This is of course an idea Margiela have always played with: their 'Replicas', their use of recycled fabric, their meshing of different shapes and features culled from fashions ever-exhaustive history books. But this time, the ideas were culled from the house's own past, revived two-fold and, like a game of Chinese whispers, suitably distorted. Margiela's first jacket of the show was literally the first jacket, a piecemeal revival of a S/S 1989 design, which appeared, then reemerged as a print, then as a plaster cast lashed to the model's torso, inverting, abusing and ultimately collapsing the linear progression of time from inspiration to finished article. If occassionally this is lapsing into art historical criticism, it is because the show occassionally felt like a museum piece or art installation. But this is by no means a criticism. The imagery was powerful, influencial and inspirational. And if that all sounds a bit po-faced, a finale of two models entirely enveloped in a huge wedding-cake dress was enough to crack even the most jaded face into a broad smile. And when the whole house, models and a full brass band took their bows under a hail of silver confetti, it just about brought the house down.

  5. by Alexander Fury .

    PARIS FASHION WEEK: Margiela's Cake Walk

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    I now know exactly what I want for my birthday

    Comments

    1. saint
      23:50 29 Sep 2008
      yep me too, a big double seater cake in silver velour!
    Comment
  6. by Alexander Fury .

    PARIS FASHION WEEK: The Walk Through at Maison Martin Margiela

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    The very definition of a feel good finale!

    Comments

    1. la
      00:00 30 Sep 2008
      Brilliant!
    Comment
  7. by Alexander Fury .

    PARIS FASHION WEEK: The Walk Through at Vivienne Westwood

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    'DO IT YOURSELF' proclaimed Vivienne Westwood's invite and show programme, and while many fashion declarations of 'make do and mend' ring hollow, Westwood's position as punk provocateur gives her more kudos than any other. In the seventies, she declared that she loved the ideas of kids ripping off her SEX and Seditionaries designs, and this season she provided us with her own crib notes on how to get her look,advocating 'necklaces out of safety pins', 'kerchiefs worn as knickers' and 'shawls, blankets, tablecloths, curtains and towels' as somewhat unconventional evening attire. This heady melange all added up to classic Westwood, with straps and flaps dangling around the body, draped cloth slit and wrapped to expose and even create new erogenous zones and plenty of grandiose oh-my-god-I'll-never-find-my-legs-again ballgowns crafted from muchos metres of striped and moired silk. There were hints of Westwood past - touch of 'Witches' in the peak-shouldered tailoring and Keith Haring-esque hieroglyphs decorating evening gowns. And lest anyone forget who did the whole 'Cave Girl' thing first in her 1982 'Savages' and 'Buffalo' moment, we had roughly-hewn leopard-print capes flung like animal carcasses over the models' shoulders. The slogan tees were perhaps a touch House of Holland for a grande like Dame Vivienne, but she's always promoted wearing your brain on your sleeve and scrawling your cultural affiliations across your chest. Essentially, it was classic, irrepressible Westwood; Tracey Emin whooping it up in the front row on Westwood's lap of honour proved it delivered just that.

    Recent comments

    1. lysergi884
      23:38 13 Oct 2008
      Vivian Westwood is one of the of the great Vigilantes of the fashion world in my opinion. The saying "wear your brain on your sleeve and scrawling your cultural affiliations across your chest" to me is just about as close to a perfect illustration of what Westwood is all about as on can say. The tailoring of Vivian's work is always impeccable and mind blowing. Her innovative outlooks along side with her raw perception of fashion and art is a perfect match in my book. Vivian Westood brought a new way of thinking and visualizing into the fashion world. Bondage, Sex, and Punk aesthetics included into Avant' Guard prospective. Also, her use of uncoventional materials is also very impressive because as previously stated Vivian Westwoods work can be described and understood as "Classic Westwood"
    2. dromedary
      13:37 15 Oct 2008
      i love the wig she recently designed for charity-
      http://wigparty.org/bigwigs/
    Comment
  8. by Alexander Fury .

    PARIS FASHION WEEK: Yohji Yamamoto

    Paris, I am constantly told, is a very very small city. Unfortunately it proved far bigger and more confusing than I anticipated this evening, as I managed to miss the first half of the Yamamoto show. Westwood started an hour late, yet before many guests were in their seats: Yamamoto evidently waits for no man, or woman. Luckily (or perhaps unluckily) I was not alone in this unfortunate situation, and thanks to a kind security guard a vertiable throng of us clustered around the photographers to watch Yamamoto's riff on subtle black and white contrasts, oversized twisted and misshapen shirts and skirts hitting well below the shinbone. Of course, these are Yamamoto classics, and there were echoes of his eighties and nineties work that hardcore fans won't mind buying again, and that new devotees are more than willing to discover afresh. The final outfit was a soft, billowing crinoline, bringing to mind a similar exit ten years ago to the season - except this one wasn't so wide as to swipe the make-up off the faces of the front - and second - row.

  9. by Alexander Fury .

    PARIS FASHION WEEK: Day IV

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    Recent comments

    1. TorErik
      11:14 30 Sep 2008
      I really like these reports, though I wish you would film more, especially those smaller ones (like Bless) and those non-catwalk-ones that are done as an exhibition. And, hm, everything else style.com don't report from
    2. 1cal1
      11:29 30 Sep 2008
      yes more filming PLEASE.
    3. friend
      12:11 30 Sep 2008
      GOOD LUCK!
    4. marian
      12:18 30 Sep 2008
      Go alex! I am becoming a big fan of your writing. You've made the fashion weeks even more exciting.
    5. dromedary
      12:22 30 Sep 2008
      i'm itching to hear how they're all going but suppose we have to wait until you're done with your show marathon tonight? :(
      Cant wait! oh and yeah, the more filming the better
    6. alex.fury
      14:37 30 Sep 2008
      I try to get the show reports in after each show - I think that an immediate reaction is the way SHOWstudio's coverage stands out from the rest of the pack, and the beauty of a roaming cameraphone and my heavily-battered bluetooth keyboard is that it allows me to update whenever and wherever. Neverthless, when the shows are back-to-back and you're jumping from metro to bus to taxi it's just not always possible. But I'll do my best!
    7. alex.fury
      14:40 30 Sep 2008
      Whenever I see a great moment I try to film it - I agree that it gives the best sense of actually being there and I love that it is un-edited and quite rough. The Bless installation, unfortunately, didn't give me much opportunity for that - but tonight I'm covering Jeremy Scott and on Thursday Bernhard Willhelm, both of which promise much fodder for footage I'm sure!
    Comment
  10. by Alexander Fury .

    PARIS FASHION WEEK: Issey Miyake

    Primitivism and Futurism seem two overriding influences on the collections so far and although Issey Miyake have always pitched their tent in the latter category, this season they went tribal. If Westwood printed her garments with the estimated $30 billion it will take to save the world's rainforests (plus a few noughts extra for added impact), the design team at Issey Miyake went one further, sourcing the colour hues for their fabrics direct from the jungles of Brazil. Shown beneath a fringed canopy imitating lush foliage, the collection focussed on workwear not too dissimilar to the paddy-workers garb Miyake proffered as a trademark staple in the eighties. Some of the cocooned plisse shapes and organza A-line dresses with floating panels also recalled Romeo Gigli in that same era, both he and Miyake a world away from the hard-edged vixens that stalked the runways of Mugler and Montana. The show, however, lacked a certain energy -the colours may have been painstakingly sourced but on the whole were drab and uninspiring, and coupled with familiar shapes, it was difficult to get excited, for all the work the Miyake team evidently put into it.

  11. by Alexander Fury .

    PARIS FASHION WEEK: Ann Demeulemeester

    Ann Demeulemeester's opening outfits were a revelation - two pleated and gathered short dresses like brief Greek chitons in white silk-chiffon. Standard fare for a Spring womenswear collection you may well think, but from the Queen of androgyny who has previously dressed her girls (and boys) as contemporary interpretations of Patti Smith, such femininity is an unusual statement. Equally unusual were the heavy bead embroideries in jet and diamante, subtley patterned jacquard and a later section of more soft gathering in saffron, tumeric and salmon chiffons. Showing in a Parisian convent, perhaps we can relate these figured fabrics and ornate embroideries to ecclesiastical garb, likewise those colour-saturated gathers in the hues of Buddhist monks'robes. Of course, fans of Demeulemeester's louche suiting were not disappointed, but this time it seemed to have loosened up even more, with tie-ribbon belts softly cinching the back. Her menswear, shown alongside the womens', was especially strong: jacquard knit vests and high-knotted velvet tie like a Victorian country curate, or slick satin suiting again reflecting a new appreciation of the more precious and ornate. Demeulemeester felt no need to hide the richness of this decoration (although it was hardly bling), and while this stood out in a resolutely understated season, this was in the best possible way.

  12. by Alexander Fury .

    PARIS FASHION WEEK: The Walk Through at Ann Demeulemeester

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  13. by Alexander Fury .

    PARIS FASHION WEEK: In the dark at Comme des Garcons

    When people say they are 'left =C3=ADn the dark' at a Comme des Garcons presentation, it usually relates to Rei Kawakubo's ever-cerebral design vision. This season, however, it's quite literal - there isn't a speck of light in the venue. Luckily, Comme's ever-helpful staff - with torches - were on hand to show me to my place in the pitchy blackness

  14. by Alexander Fury .

    PARIS FASHION WEEK Comme des Garcons

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    Rei Kawakubo's collection, like her venue, was dark. Dark in physicality and dark in psychology. Perhaps only she could show a collection ostensibly for summer in a pit of blackness and entirely swathed in that self same shade. There were slight exceptions: silver and white was used for projecting body-amour, part-Space Age part-Dark Age, strapped around the models' shoulders, while their heads towered with powedered white Ancien Regime wigs that Marie Antoinette herself would have baulked at. Attempting to unravel Kawakubo's diverse, complex and even contradictory influences is a fruitless task, but this season there seemed to be an element of protection to her offerings. Marching out to the incessant, insistent, war-like beat of drums, that Marie Antoinette candy-floss pouf was occasionally battened-down with leather or plastic helmets, and tesselated hexagons of fabric formed geodesic structures that rose in a hump behind the neck, as if protecting the models' flanks. Or perhaps as if going to battle. There were military touches too, in flack jackets coiled and twisted around the body, sometimes backwards, sometimes skew-whiff and scissoring across the torso with petals of fabric blooming from underneath. These later ran riot, bubbling out of seams, slits and slats until the final model, from bewigged hairline to ankle, was entirely cloaked. Perhaps it was about the triumph of nature over man, as those petals broke down geometric form and strict tailoring and triumphed. Perhaps it was about preservation, or even about damnation - hence the doomed Dauphin hair and overwhelming blackness. Considering how difficult it is to work out the message of the collection, to say that message was strong seems paradoxical. But Kawakubo, it seems, is always in pursuit of the perfect paradox.

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