2011 March 7

Paris Fall 2011: Vivienne Westwood, Haider Ackermann, Sonia Rykiel, Jean Paul Gaultier

Vivienne Westwood Red Label Fall 2011 Vivienne Westwood Red Label Fall 2011
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(PARIS) Vivienne Westwood
“World Wide Woman” was the title of Vivienne Westwood’s show at the Place de la Concorde, which saw models painted with black and white warrior-type masks as they walked a glittering and golden catwalk. The ladies were obviously preparing to defend against something -- an internet virus or virtual war? With hats reminiscent of army helmets, well the couture version anyway. Looks went from English pinstripe to tribal, with a healthy dose of lamé patchwork, Lurex and sequins, and embellished satins along the way. Front row guests Kanye West and Boy George were clearly impressed by this brand of glamour with a message.  

Haider Ackermann
Rich jewel colors ruled this season at Haider Ackermann, with the Colombian-born designer sending out looks in deep sapphire blues, garnet purples, and London Blue topaz, which mixed elegantly with black satins and leathers. Standout looks included a black knit coat complete satin lapels and elegant sweeping train (as well as the twin version in all white) and clever mixes of knitwear in long skirts and jackets. Karl Lagerfeld predicted in yesterday’s edition of the French newspaper Le JDD that Ackermann is his bet to make the move to Givenchy in the Paris Fashion scene shuffle, so place your bets now! 

Sonia Rykiel
Scottish artist Martin Boyce was the creator of Sonia Rykiel’s mis en scene set: a paved city walkway divided by an urban fence, with blue and white neon trees, an art work entitled “Our love is like the earth, the sun, the trees and the birth.” A fitting sentiment from this house started by a woman who aimed to embody the Left Bank Parisienne spirit, which her daughter Nathalie Rykiel continues to perpetuate to this day. The mood at Rykiel, as always, was playful and ebullient: some models sprang out from front row seats, while others milled about the fence chatting amongst each other after their turn down the catwalk. The collection seemed more of a mixed bag than usual: a little tartan here, some cable and Argyll knits there, paillettes and then beading, in a palette ranging from bright yellow and hot pink to mustard, but if these looks could be pulled off anywhere, that would be in St-Germain-des-Prés, the spiritual home of Rykiel.  

Jean Paul Gaultier
Nicole Richie was wearing her own Jean Paul Gaultier to his presentation on Saturday evening, not a loaner. After a long round of flash photography, she turned around, asking her assistant devilishly, “Just one more?” There was definitely time to kill before the start, which got going almost 50 minutes late, prompting the photo core to break into hoots and chants of “Go! Go! Go!” several times. The show finally got in motion with French comedian Valérie Lemercier’s appearance, sashaying down the runway in a womanly fur-trimmed coat, hour-glass figure and all, followed by a pack of models in shapely trenches, high-waisted camel trousers, sheepskin and fur shawls who stripped garments or accessories, throwing them before the photographers. Also shown were double-breasted pinstripe skirt-suits, cardigan and Lurex pleated-skirt combinations, tartan and fur-trimmed leather quilted coats with the models all sporting grey beehive coifs. Et voilà the message Gaultier was trying to send out: enough with trying to look like the 20-year old celebrities of this world; this collection was about going back to the classics, it was an ode to the sophistication of an age-less bourgeoisie.