Couture Past 4
And what do we have here? This is Jean Paul Gaultier’s 23rd exit of the spring 2012 couture show. No, but seriously…what? Is happening? Is this a sequined lined silk track suit jacket/parka contraption? Is this real life? It’s such a bizarre silhouette for couture—more New Jersey than Paris, no? And yet, the ordinariness of its opulence is captivating. We have come to expect this kind of smash and bang of high and low from Jean Paul Gaultier, and this is what lifted his collection above the otherwise quiet couture season.
After reviewing a certain amount of exits from the couture shows, I found myself looking for exciting shoes sticking out from the front row. There was a lot of waspiness, but without the sting. See the styling at Dior, for instance.
A beautiful gown appeared here and there, sure. The final exits at Valli were bold and brilliant. But the overall sense I got from the shows was “decorated” rather than “adorned.” And not decorated like a sweet cake even (which more the sentiment at the spring ready to wear shows), but dressed up like a powder room. To be more specific, the kind of powder room where you are not sure if you can dry your hands on the towels or not, so you wipe your hands on your jeans. At the risk of sounding like I have an untrained and over generalizing eye, I want to make the argument that “restrained” can surely be awe inspiring but “confined” leaves one feeling defeated. To illustrate my point, see these wallpapery dresses from Valentino—very bathroom. Designs throughout the collections were laden with three-dimensional beading that made the model look as though belonged on a high a shelf above a bidet. These one on the right is from Chanel.
At Armani Prive there was pronounced textures and structure without straight lines. But the biggest story there was the arms: accessorized beautifully with bracelets and strangely with barely perceptible and unattached sleeves. I want to call them arm condoms but I actually love them. That thing where covering is more suggesting than revealing is happening—kind of filthy and elegant at once.