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Show Report

Show Report: Vionnet S/S 15 Womenswear

by Harriet Walker on 25 September 2014

Harriet Walker reports on the Vionnet S/S 15 womenswear show.

Harriet Walker reports on the Vionnet S/S 15 womenswear show.

Since buying Vionnet, and taking the reins as creative director last season too, Goga Ashkenazi has changed the direction somewhat. That's what any incoming designer hopes to do, but it's difficult when a label holds such strong aesthetic connotations within its archive and reputation.

There were obvious nods to that legacy for Spring/Summer 15 in column dresses with pleated swatches that hung chiton-like from one shoulder. A ruched gold minidress too seemed to reference the free-flowing design ideals of the house's founder and namesake.

But little else followed the rules: ungainly sheer tulip skirts and icy optical white outfits that seemed part ballerina, part Dune glamazon sat awkwardly here. They jarred not only with the house's values but also with the currents of fashion right now. They were sharp when the zeitgeist is soft, structured where looseness has won out, and pushily assertive where the contemporary woman has learned to be more casual in her sexuality, wearing it more lightly than was offered here.

Bow-print suspender belts and hold-ups were baffling and a series of gladiator belts only heightened the sci-fi costume drama, rather than pulling things together as good accessories should.

There's no argument that designers should be in tune with each other, nor that clothes should fit into agreed trends. But they should pay lip service to a certain zeitgeist, and these ones didn't.

Madelaine Vionnet once said 'when a woman smiles, her dress should smile with her'. But she'd be unlikely to crack one at the collection produced in her name this season.

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