What do critics say? Paris.

Rember the previous What do critics say, Milan & NY? Well, this is the Paris edition. Again, critics Suzy Menkes (SM), Eric Wilson (EW) and Cathy Horyn (CH) speak their minds. Their wit, my picks... Enjoy.

A.F. Vandevorst: “had a sexy schoolgirl look about it” — SM

Alexander McQueen: “used computer images of crushed crystals, wood grains, animals, human skeletons and the iron grid of the Eiffel Tower as the basis for dazzling digitalized prints on silk jersey” — CH
“The rumble from the jungle that has been echoing through the international collections was given meaning” — SM

Ann Demeulemeester: “it was a pleasure to see Ms. Demeulemeester make such imaginative use of standard white cotton” — CH
“This was a playful Demeulemeester in fine form.” — SM

Azzedine Alaïa: “the most exuberant display in raffia and python” — CH

Balenciaga: “It was hard, though, to react to these clothes purely on a gut level. (’I love them — I want to wear them.’)” — CH
“The god of futuristic fashion has spoken: ‘Let there be light’” — SM

Balmain: “If your visual references are MTV and rock album covers, you will understand, if not appreciate Christophe Decarnin’s Balmain” — CH

Chapurin: “captured a bold new energy to create a Russian fashion revolution” — SM

Chanel: “[Karl Lagerfeld] seems to regularly ask himself the question ‘What is Chanel?’ — as if he knows it’s a living thing.” — CH
“It felt right not to be straining too hard to be cool and to offer women — not to mention panicked retailers — a safe fashion haven.” — SM

Christian Dior: “chic, not tribal cheek” — SM

Christian Lacroix: “Nowhere was the new mood for keeping frivolity in check more obvious.” — SM

Comme des Garçons: “filled with wit and extravagance” — CH
“It was weird, but not excessively so. Sober, but not depressing. Good, but not great.” — SM

Gareth Pugh: “The collection will someday look great in a museum, with the white and black clothes making for a walking Op Art exhibition.” — EW

Giambattista Valli: “A more accurate word for this tranquilized mood — and the collection in general — would have been Valium.” — CH
“looked too much like a résumé for someone who wants to take over a couture house” — SM

Hussein Chalayan: “the message felt a tad preachy, like a crossing guard wagging his finger at the Treasury. Hey! Look both ways!” — EW
“did the designer know in advance that the financial world would be a car crash?” — SM

John Galliano: “looked gentle and inviting compared with some of the ugly and overwrought clothes we’ve seen in the last two weeks” — CH
“sweet, pretty, but totally expected” — SM
“the strawlike bangs on the models, their accentuated eyes and glossy platforms (with gold fertility-symbol heels) sometimes just made you think of ‘Desperate Housewives’” — CH

Junya Watanabe: “He took materials that might easily be judged prosaic and down-market... and made the results delightfully appealing.” — CH
“out of Africa, Junya Watanabe’s graceful show took the native practice of carrying items on the head and turned it into a festival of nature” — SM

Karl Lagerfeld: “went ultra-sharp” — CH
“this riff on rigor did not cut it” — SM

Lanvin: “a nonchalant style of draping; hardly D.I.Y., but if you’re wearing a one-shoulder dress in fireball-orange silk with a puff of fabric grazing your face and arm, the effect should be slightly unserious” — CH
“used strong color on dresses, caressing the body to reactivate fashion desire” — SM

Limi Feu: “strong but never simple” — SM

Louis Vuitton: “told a lot about the intensity of Mr. Jacobs’s affections for Paris, and how expressive he has become as a designer” — CH
“a cracking good show” — SM

Maison Martin Margiela: “it was a strange sensation to walk out of a Margiela show with a sense of déjà vu” — EW
"somehow this show, for all the enforced jollity, was under the shadow of questions about the house’s future” — SM

Miu Miu: “the use of paint-splashed burlap was most intriguing” — CH
“Why aprons? Why a symbol of women tied to the kitchen? Why now — when the return of the power woman has been a constant theme of the summer 2009 season?” — SM

Sonia Rykiel: “Could there have been anything more quintessentially French...?” — EW
“spilled over with merriment as the models, wearing jaunty crystal-studded berets, camped up Gallic gorgeousness” — SM

Stella McCartney: “If it is possible for her designs to become any more light and ephemeral, as they have season to season, eventually there will be nothing to see besides Sir Paul sitting across the runway.” — EW
“finally got her fashion mojo working, after a period when her inspiration seemed to be on maternity leave” — SM

Valentino: “struggled to say something new” — CH
“The Valentino woman had stepped down off her pedestal onto a floor-level catwalk.” — SM

Viktor & Rolf: “you could actually get a pretty realistic idea of the dresses, dangling like paper lanterns, and how the loudly graphic tights and shorts combinations gave off a robotic Balenciaga vibe” — EW
“proved that there is no substitute for a live show” — SM

Vivienne Westwood: “the designer who had, for so long, been focused on fashion historicism suddenly showed an interest in coping with modern issues” — SM

Yohji Yamamoto: “a collection that looked as if it were made for a Wall Street funeral procession” — EW
"Calm, beauty and — yes — glamour was the feeling at Yohji Yamamoto’s show, although the designer himself, uncharacteristically frisky as he came out on the runway, said just one cryptic word: ‘Eros.’” — SM

Yves Saint Laurent: “offered a lot of appealing clothes — smart, wearable but somehow missing that real Saint Laurent sex appeal and mystery” — CH
“Stefano Pilati pushed, pulled and tugged at the house’s references and manipulated his own architectural spirit to give a modernist interpretation of a power woman.” — SM

Sweet treats,

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