It's interesting to look through the collections I didn't see first hand and gauge the reactions from other members of the press. It's something to do while waiting for the next show to start, at least, or when one wakes up three hours too early for Chanel.
Givenchy puzzled me. It also angered me a little - as regurgitated ideas generally do (I get quite angry at a lot of fashion shows, to be honest). There distinct airs to me of Christopher Kane's A/W 2010 collection, and Prada's ever-influential 'Lace' show of 2008. Semi-transparent pencil skirts with opaque peplums? Check. Prim collared shirts contrasted with peekaboo panels? Check. Jewel-toned floral embroidery glowing like neon from a predominantly black offering? Check. Miuccia and Christopher have moved onto fresh pastures of their own - Tisci should do the same.
I understand Tisci's urge to move on from the gothic, androgynous and diaphanous look he's been hammering home for a few seasons. I'm just not sure this collection was the right way to do it. That said, in the showroom the pieces looked wonderful with eye-popping print and an intricate set of intriguing textures - in one example, felt printed with panther faces was cut-out and appliqued in a wreath to a chiffon sweatshirt, which served as a windowpane onto a Swarovski-crystal embroidered pansy-print shirt underneath. That workmanship, and intricacy, was stunning. It certainly warranted the couture salon the Givenchy re-sees were held in.
Indeed, the Botox, bumper-to-bumper Benzes, and acrid whiff of hairspray mixing with Christian Dior's 'Poison' and just a whisper of embalming fluid (maybe I'm making that bit up) told me I was in the hautest of couture territory for that Givenchy close-up. As I was exiting the building, I poked my head into the Emanuel Ungaro couture salon downstairs where Giles Deacon's sophomore offering for the house was luring in the punters. In truth, I rather enjoyed Giles' Ungaro collection: in fact, the more I think about it, the more I like it. Deacon has a terribly British eye for trash - his models had what is colloquially known round my way as 'Croydon Facelifts', truly savage nails and sported the kind of clobber normally reserved for, well, the inside of select 'Gentleman's Clubs' as opposed to the storied salons of French couture.
That's what made it so much fun: in the eighties, Ungaro dressed the mistresses rather than the wives, in fattened folds of thick satin suggestively sprouting ostrich feathers. Your basic couture concubines. They'd probably have waited until bedtime to don Deacon's wares: but they would definitely have worn them. Incidentally, to a British audience, these clothes didn't summarise a slightly stale air of frou-frou Frenchy seduction. Instead, there was an unavoidable comparison between the Ungaro models and the ostentatiously tarted-up Traveller brides captured in the Channel Four documentary series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. I'm sure Giles was grinning from one spectacle-arm to the other backstage at the thought of that. It made me crack a smile.
What else? I thought Stella McCartney's daywear shapes were ungainly and unwearable, I though Giambattista Valli's skirts were far, far too short, and although everything at Hermes looked like one of the house's slightly hilarious eighties advertisements (especially the shoulders) I thought the lines were clean and the use of pattern interesting. Plus I'm a sucker for a peregrine falcon perched on a model's wrist.