Tag: nicolas ghesquiere

The Return of Paco Rabanne

It’s funny how things work out. I made a note on my iPhone of things I wanted to talk about on my blog at some point and one of them said, I quote, “Paco Rabanne is so cool to me and they have been making cool, futuristic clothes since the 1960s”. This thought was initially spurred by seeing Emily Ratajkowski in one of the dresses from the most recent runway collection and thinking she looked incredible. I knew instantly from the chainmail design that it was Paco Rabanne and I proceeded to look up the entire collection on Vogue Runway. As I said before, I really didn’t manage to keep up with things this fashion month so I had only noticed sporadic updates on Instagram, depending on what outlet showed up at the top of my feed. This train of thought then developed further after I chanced upon a vintage design by Paco Rabanne himself during a tour of the Museum at FIT’s “Paris Refashioned, 1957 – 1968” exhibition. The exhibition highlights the revolution that occurred in Parisian fashion, starting from Dior’s New Look and moving into the 60s with designers like Yves Saint Laurent bringing out ready-to-wear, and Andre Courreges and Pierre Cardin rising to prominence. It is easy to associate the sixties with London as normally when that decade is discussed, it is London based designers that are mentioned like Mary Quant and icons like Twiggy. However, Paris was in the same period of change. The exhibition ends in 1968, the year of the student protests and when Balenciaga closed his house. How ironic is it that the current creative director of Balenciaga is most definitely a streetwear designer when Balenciaga himself shuttered his business after feeling that he was unable to create couture due to the increasingly casual and ready-to-wear aspect of fashion. I encourage you to visit the exhibition if you can before it closes (April 15th) if you’re in New York City. Finally, the day I made this note on my phone I looked at Vogue.com, as I often do, and seen that on their homepage there was an article about Paco Rabanne and how the brand was having a comeback. After spotting that headline I knew I was onto something.

 

What I’ve always found most fascinating about Paco Rabanne are the various futuristic, radical styles that would’ve been oh-so-relevant during the space race of the 1960s. The concept of space exploration was so crazy at the time and the breakthroughs in science to make it possible were incredible and a real achievement that we tend to gloss over today (especially due to conspiracy theories about the moon landing). Fashion was inspired by the otherworldly and interpreted this through lots of metallics. Paco Rabanne was mainly known for his use of unconventional materials to make his pieces. I attended a lecture at FIT on the aforementioned exhibition and found out that Rabanne’s pieces were actually made of metal and some had real diamonds. They were very heavy, very expensive, and very unwearable. You see many iconic images of the looks but they were just images. Performers used to wear them on stage to make a statement.

Costumes from the unofficial Casino Royale

Nowadays, Paco Rabanne is overseen by Julien Dossena. I’d say this is his biggest collection for the brand yet in terms of buzz. Dossena’s work first came onto my radar a couple of seasons ago (after I’d heard that he was dating Nicolas Ghesquiere) but he has actually been working in the industry for quite some time, previously working under Ghesquiere’s direction at Balenciaga for many years. He commenced his role at Paco Rabanne back in 2013 so this collection has been a long time coming. Dossena began exploring the iconic chainmail designs last season but in this season’s collections it stood out greatly. It helps that the pieces were worn off the runway by models and influencers, and also that the timing was right in terms of giving the public what they need. We are at such a shitty time in the world that we need outrageous fashion, we need over the top impractical designs to serve as a distraction from reality. This wasn’t outrageous, per se, but it does mark a real shift away from the minimalist aesthetic that reigned supreme until perhaps two years ago. What made this collection distinctly different from Paco Rabanne in the 60s was that Dossena found a way to make the chainmail look fluid. It looked lightweight and almost liquid as it draped over the model’s body. The asymmetric cut was flattering both on the runway and on @emrata as featured below. These looks coupled with the high shine, reflective silver shoes hammered home the new trend. You know that chainmail is back. You know that silver is the color. Zara already makes little silver booties.

I’m excited to see the Paco Rabanne brand being discussed again in such a mainstream way instead of confined to discussions about wacky fashion from decades long past. I think the Fall 2017 collection has given the brand the much needed injection of press and I’d like to see it in the spotlight for seasons to come, especially if the collections continue to be of the same quality as this one.

 

Further reading

“The Space Age Designer Making a Comeback Over All The Fall Runways” – Vogue.com | the article mentioned at the beginning of this post which reflects on Paco Rabanne’s influence on modern day fashion and how the Fall 2017 collection contributes to this

“Paco Rabanne Fall 2017” – Vogue.com | the review of this season’s show by Sarah Mower, click through to see the full collection too

“I prefer fast girls to cute girls” – The Telegraph | an interview with Julien Dossena about the house and his goals and inspirations (also the source of the Casino Royale image)

Fashion Flashback: Balenciaga Spring 2013

I, like everyone else who likes fashion (almost literally), love Nicolas Ghesquiere. I, also like many other, prefer his work at Balenciaga. Honestly, I like him at Louis Vuitton but there I feel that he has been tasked too much with creating a specific look and it’s getting slightly repetitive. You can see that there’s not as much buzz around the shows as there was a year or two ago – probably because it’s all about streetwear like Vetements/Demna, fashion’s current golden child, at Balenciaga.

For the Spring 2013 season, Ghesquiere presented a very safe but beautiful collection. It was clothes that would be worn, and honestly most of the looks are still relevant today, 5 years later (almost). For example, I remember seeing the opening look – the cross over, moulded bra top – and thinking I know this is going to sell, and now you still see girls wearing similar tops and you can still buy similar tops in stores now. The trickle down effect was so real on that item. Some people disliked the ruffles (too flamenco, they said) but I loved them. I’m partial to a ruffle. They’re flirty and feminine, yet I like how they were slightly toughened up by being in black with the contrasting colour underneath (often white or pink).

To me this collection was classic Ghesquiere. There were clean lines, minimalist details with little twists and slight architectural elements. The aforementioned coupled with the micro-mini proportions made for an interesting collection. To put this show back into context, this was the season that Raf presented his first ready-to-wear collection for Dior (highly anticipated) and Hedi’s first collection for (Yves) Saint Laurent, plus Marc Jacobs’ checkerboard escalator extravaganza for Louis Vuitton. Competition was high yet despite all of the noise, to me, Ghesquiere’s collection spoke the loudest. And it’s still influential today. That speaks volumes.

Fashion Flashback: Balenciaga Spring 2003

Instead of going for a traditional show video, I chose this Fashion File by Tim Blanks – a show that he used to do years and years ago. It mixes clips from the show with interviews with the likes of Anna Wintour and Ghesquiere himself. I found this informational as well as fun to watch.

I find Nicolas Ghesquiere so interesting, purely because so few designers are as influential and remain so for so long. This show is over 10 years old, yet Ghesquiere has the same power to mould fashion now as he did then. Take his first 60s-inspired collection for Louis Vuitton; the 60s was pushed as a big trend and was in all of the fast fashion retailers a matter of months later.

I found his use of the scuba fabric interesting as it sticks tight to the body. The plunging necklines of the bodysuits and the mini dress have made a major comeback in 2015 with lots of designers showing them on the runways (Balmain and Alexandre Vaulthier, particularly) and similar bodysuits being available at almost every instagram boutique and stores like Boohoo and Missguided. Finally, the subtle ruching on the sides of some of the dresses is perhaps even more popular today than it was then.

I feel that this show has definitely stood the test of time as a lot of what he’s shown here could still be worn today. I’d be a Ghesquiere girl then, and I’d still be one now. My favourite looks are below:

 

See full collection here.


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Louis Vuitton Palm Springs – Cruise 2016

You don’t expect fashion shows in California. Name a few big name designers who show at Los Angeles Fashion Week. It’s difficult, right? Most people when they think of California, they think of the beach, the free-spirited hippies, maybe even hipsters. But I think that might be changing. For one, Hedi Slimane moved the Saint Laurent offices to LA, but lots of you don’t like him so maybe he’s not the best example. Recently, Burberry put on a grand show in the Griffith Observatory to celebrate the opening of a new store on Rodeo Drive (and Rachel Zoe wore a brilliant dress to the event). And now, Nicolas Ghesquiere, everyone’s favourite fashion designer, decided to show the Cruise/Resort (once again, whatever your preferred terminology) collection in Palm Springs. Perhaps Southern California is the new New York?

The show was held at Bob Hope’s estate, a futuristic home that looks like it’s straight out of a sci-fi movie, and was attended by buyers, press, and celebrities, as you’d expect. I found a few more photos of the venue on The Telegraph website and it is simply amazing. If I had a spare $25 million, I’d buy it.

But the focus shouldn’t all be on the venue, but more so on the clothes. As Nicolas has done since he took the helm at Louis Vuitton a year ago, certain codes have been stuck to. For example, suede, leather, and metal riveting and studs featured heavily. As did an interesting triangle shaped cut-out on the midriff. I think that a triangle cut-out is probably the most flattering as the skin shown tapers to a point. There was also a wonderful leather jacket, worn by Mica Arganaraz, which looked almost weightless, due to laser-cut patterns all over, and created a feminine silhouette, cinched in at the waist. There were slip-dresses, exotic skins, tiny short-shorts, beautiful petrol blue bomber jackets, and a fantastic layered necklace spelling out “Palm Springs” that gave the I <3 NY t-shirts a run for their money. Also, there were wonderful prints. I’m not a print wearer, but I could change that for Nicolas Ghesquiere.