2011 March 4

Paris Fall 2011: Balmain, Zac Posen, Nina Ricci

Balmain Fall 2011 Balmain Fall 2011
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(PARIS) Balmain
There were obviously many people expecting a spectacle at Balmain, with the rue Scribe leading up to the Intercontinental Grand Hotel flooded with eager street photographers. Once safely passed them inside, there was a second wave standing guard along the path to the grand ballroom where Christophe Decarnin’s Balmain show was due to take place. Evidently the street photographers were expecting more than just Kanye West, stopping one chicette after another with photo requests--or maybe those street photographers already had an inkling that only the most daring fashionettes would be present for Decarnin, who strangely enough, wasn’t even in attendance at his own show, citing physical exhaustion. Whatever the reason, those photographers may not have been able to enter the ballroom, but the Balmain spectacle was definitely a reality: with rock ‘n’ roll jumpsuits, lamé suits and blazers, and strass-beaded mini-dresses. Like the lurex combinations, slinky overalls, and mid-calf high trousers this collection was perfect for the fashion circus, but how many people will be able to carry it off the runway?

Zac Posen
The one consensus on leaving Zac Posen’s show had journalists agreeing there had been some changes chez Posen. Perhaps there was less pressure to live up to for this, his second showing on the Paris Fashion Week calendar, but the presentation was a more confident and unified assemblage, without relying on awkward details like the disastrous feathers from last season. This season’s unifiers were the slim, above-the-ankle, cigarette pant, his structured jackets and blazers, and the array of blues, the color that should be crowned the new “black” by the end of Paris Fashion Week. Posen’s eveningwear was as red-carpet friendly as ever, but it just showed a little too clearly what was missing from the rest of his collection: some va va voom!

Nina Ricci
A winding candlelit pathway took guests through the cold night air from the gated entrance of the Tulieries garden to the tent ephémère, where Peter Copping was about to show his 2011 Fall collection for Nina Ricci. Citing influences by John Currin, Ingrès, Marlene Dumas, John Singer Sargent, Tamara de Lempicka and even Vanessa Beecroft, Copping entitled his newest collection “Portrait of A Lady.” However, even without those references, the clothes said it all: high Victorian collars were made modern with beaded accents, an over-sized silhouette on coats was cinched nonchalantly with braided colored rope belts, inspired by a painter’s model. Crushed fabrics gave interest to a metal radzimir dress and lingerie and corsetry elements ran throughout the collection, which was sent out in pastel colors, ice blues, sea greens and morello cherry. The collection was as delicate and sophisticated as they come, a true lady-like success.