Fishing for Compliments: On Aura Tout Vu Couture

This has to be one of my favourite collections from this season’s Paris Couture week: On Aura Tout Vu (‘you think you’ve seen it all’ for those of you – like me – who didn’t take French) which, given the Paris-based design trio’s penchant for the wacky, theatrical and – some might say – OTT,  couldn’t be more appropriate in the wonderful world of branding.

Adored by Lady Gaga – rumour has it she has already ordered the entire new collection (save your shock and awe – this label is so Gaga it hurts) and serving up a glamorously distorted vision of an aquatic paradise (replete with bubble wrap monsters, giant multifaceted ‘bubble’ collars and piscine accessories and applique – the stuffed sea-monster shoulder-pads and cuffs were a definite winner for me; totally kitsch), On Aura Tout Vu’s Fall couture collection merges the ironic humour of surrealism with eminently wearable classic-chic tailoring. With a collection this good the compliments require no fishing!

Images Courtesy of ELLE and Trend Hunter

Watch the runway show:

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Jean Paul Gaultier Couture F/W 2010: The Lady & The Vamp

You’d always do well to expect a certain amount of raunch from a JPG collection and Gaultier’s showing for this season’s Parisian couture week was definitely no exception to the rule, showcasing as it did two pieces from the upcoming JPG/La Perla Lingerie capsule collection with a little Parisienne Ooh la la from Queen of Burlesque Dita Von Teese.

Of course it wasn’t all about lingerie…taking us back to his classics – the signature trench coat reworked first in black gabardine with voluminous batwings and then again in ivory silk, the Madonna cones reincarnated in black mink – Gaultier served up a heady dose of provocative Parisian chic with a delectably Deco twist.

Models sashayed down the runway wearing high twisted turbans, oozing feminine glamour and smoking from elegant cigarette holders like achingly cool spectres of silver screen legend Louis Brooke. Structured shoulders, generous sleeves and hobble-inducing pencil skirts all served to supe-up the voluptuous silhouette of Gaultier’s girls to show-stopping proportions. Essentially, this collection was Jean Paul Gaultier doing what he does best: self-assured,  sassy. Sex. On. Legs.

And boy does he do it well…

Images Courtesy of Style.com

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Défilé: Franck Sorbier Haute Couture Paris F/W 2010

Femininity with a touch of humour, quality workmanship, avant-garde creativity with it’s artistic tongue firmly in cheek; Parisian couturier Franck Sorbier didn’t disappoint the fashion tribe at this year’s Paris Couture Fashion Week. With pieces crafted from corrugated card, papier-mache, sweet wrappers, pegs and crumpled brown paper, Sorbier seems to have quite literally pulled the ball gown out of the bin.

Anyone with any knowledge of popular culture (in fact anyone who hasn’t been living in an isolated mountain cave with only goats for company for the past decade) would have noticed a striking similarity between this brilliantly conceived collection and Mugatu’s ‘Derelict’ campaign in the fashion comedy ‘Zoolander.’

Intentional? Well, I’m not well placed enough to say for sure, but if it were kudos is definitely due for an expertly delivered double whammy of a sassy satirical sucker-punch – an impeccably pulled-off takeover of parodic stereotyping with an ironic nod to the upsurge in eco “upcycling” fashion. [Kapow!]


To those who would deride, dismiss or decry the place of corsets fashioned from old M&M and Ritz cracker packets or dresses conjured up from brown paper bags on the runway; well, all I can do is gently point out that to take the humour out of the thing is pretty much tantamount to intellectual, artistic and creative castration. Go on, crack a smile – it probably won’t kill you.

To view the whole collection head over to Nicholas Genin’s Flickr

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Paris Haute Couture week: F/W 2010/11

Ah, Couture…the apple of my sartorial eye. Gorgeous, improbable and quixotic fabric follies. Couture is the brilliantly madcap stuff of dreams and uninhibited fantasy – and be honest, who doesn’t revel in the occasional flight of fancy? Hmm?) It is fashion stripped back to it’s artistic core in a gloriously sinful, hedonistic embrace with the utterly impractical.  Pure, unadulterated indulgence: no pretence required, no situational definitions – couture by nature has no real ’place’ – sculptural cellophane hats are unlikely to catch on as work wear, for instance (although they would make for interesting boardroom meetings).

And so, before I talk myself clean out of literary flourishes, to the home of Haute Couture for a Fashionable Rat’s retrospective of the Paris Couture week f/w 2010.

I think I shall begin with a schedule, tasty visual treats and a few links before fleshing it out with linked posts: a) I am not aiming for the world’s longest, largest and most image heavy post award, and b) even a Rat’s gotta sleep sometime – and work apparently – more’s the pity.  So – to Paris…

…tout de suite!

Monday July 5th 2010

Christophe Josse

Images courtesy of Coutorture

Bouchra Jarrar


Images courtesy of Style.com: head here for their runway review.

Christian Dior


Images courtesy of Thai Catwalk

Review by the Telegraph’s Hilary Alexander

Atelier Gustavo Lins

Images Courtesy of Fashion Windows

Adeline Andre

Alexis Mabille

Images and review courtesy of Style.com

Tuesday July 6th

Giorgio Armani Privé

Images: Style.com

Review: Hilary Alexander for the Telegraph

Lefranc Ferrant

Front row footage over at ELLETV

Images at: Maison Chaplin

Stéphane Rolland

Images courtesy of Fashion Fame

More at: Vogue.co.uk

Givenchy

Images: Style.com

Review: Hilary Alexander for the Telegraph.

Chanel

Images: Style.com

Review: Hilary Alexander for the Telegraph.

Wednesday July 7th

On Aura Tout Vu

Images & Runway review over at Fashionista.com

Franck Sorbier

Images: Focus on Style

Review: Yahoo News

Elie Saab

Images/ Review: Style.com

Jean Paul Gaultier

Images/ Review: Style.com

Maison Rabih Kayrouz

Image at Life.com

Valentino


Images/ Review: Style.com

Thursday July 8th


Boucheron


Chanel Joaillerie

All images courtesy of Susan Tabak

Chaumet
Mellerio Dits Meller
Van Cleef & Arpels

Phew! I’ll update as soon as I can (and get down to some internet super-sleuthing to find those pesky missing images).

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The Incroyable Monsieur Galliano

Article first published as The Incroyable Monsieur Galliano on Blogcritics.

Four times British Designer of the Year, with a sell-out graduate collection, his own label, and the top spot at the helm of French couture flagship Dior: the “mad genius of fashion” has more than enough credentials to justify his position as one of the most influential and dynamic designers of the modern age.

Born in Gibraltar, raised in London, and educated at Central St. Martins, Galliano’s ascension to the upper echelons of the fashion elite has played out like a modern-day fairytale, with Fairy-Godmother-come-editorialista Anna Wintour helping to iron out those tricky financial creases and propel him from creative darling of the demi-monde to a critical and commercial design behemoth.

Galliano’s collections give us a vision of fantasy toying with reality, inspired by everything from Bollywood kitsch (s/s 2003) to the frontiers of American Gothic (a/w 2006) and on to the film noir glamour of his s/s 2010 collection for Dior. Harking back to the dawn of cinema, the era of the silent movie—powdered doll-like faces, vividly defined Clara Bow lips, and gossamer-fine dresses layered with a powerfully nostalgic laissez faire—Galliano’s signature line for spring 2010 conjures up a kind of art-house vintage beauty, an image of faded yet enduring bohemian allure played-off to perfection against the trappings of modern-age technical wizardry.

Given the often dizzying juxtapositions, left-field muses, and overarching theatricality, ‘fantasy’ in Galliano’s work is about as far removed from a namby-pamby Disneyfied fantasia in soft-focus as it is possible to get. Rather, we are presented with a visceral, vivid, brazen self-awareness which decimates conceptual barriers between often disparate themes and ideas and reconstructs them as a histrionic nonesuch of elaborate brilliance accented with a needle-sharp irony which is sheer magic and sheer Galliano.

Inspired by the “attitude and anarchy of the London rock scene” and promising to inject some quirky chic back into urban street style, his hotly anticipated (and utterly wearable) menswear diffusion line ‘Galliano’ is due to hit stores this Fall: head over to fashionfame.com to view more of the collection. Here’s hoping that womenswear will be next on the agenda…keep those fingers crossed ladies!

All images courtesy of Style.com.

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Strut Your Stuff in Zandra Rhodes’ Début Shoe Collection!

Award-winning atelier extraordinaire, sixties sartorial pioneer and Commander of the British Empire, no less. It has to be Zandra Rhodes – she of the brighter than bright barnet (attention-grabbing green, punchy pink, pillarbox red) – is that rarest of flowers, a true-blue home-grown fashion virtuoso, and boy does she have flair…

Her trademark colour clashes, mind-boggling print combinations and penchant for blow-your-pretty-little-eyes-out (whilst simultaneously knocking-your-socks off) brights, and feminine yet outrageously dramatic aesthetic are hitting all the right buttons trend-wise this season, so it seems only fitting – auspicious even – for the release of the shoe collaboration of the summer.

Teaming up with high-end shoe brand Strutt Couture, Zandra’s collection is everything you would expect…and just a little bit more. Seasonal style favourites – wedges, platforms and stacked peep-toe booties – all feature, as do voguish intricate lazer-cut details, sorbet soft pastels and au naturel wood finishes…

Zica Tan/Gold

Zimra Pink/Gold

Zafira Grey/Fuchsia

Zanna Aqua/Gold

Zemena Tan/Gold

Zanya Aqua/Gold

Zamora Fuchsia/Pink/Aqua

Zerrin Light Grey/Mustard/White

Zinnia Tan/Gold

These utterly stunning, gob-smackingly beautiful booties are my out-and-out favourite…Wear with a super sleek-casual silk jumpsuit a la DKNY (look for peg-leg effect ties at the ankle for a neo-sports twist), or a pair of Alexander Wang-inspired joggers a slouchy racer-back and an oversized varsity jacket for totally covetable catwalk  appeal.

To say I’m excited about this collection would be a grave and monumental understatement: Zandra Rhodes PLUS couture footwear?! Frankly, I’m surprised I haven’t wet myself in a tumultuous flurry of feverish elation.

Shop/browse the collection at Zandra Rhodes Footwear.

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Look du Jour: Dramatic Theatrics from Juli Santini

I had to share this gorgeous ensemble from Juli Santini’s Autumn 2010 collection…

The playful vintage theatricality and raw edged romantic styling is reminiscent of Meadham Kirchhoff’s gorgeous 2010 capsule line for Topshop, but with added boutique appeal. The dreamy golden-toffee taffeta jacket is simply stunning! I love the couture-esque detailing and those leg-o-mutton sleeves; 18th Century tailoring brought bang up to date with a nostalgia-inducing scalloped collar, striking Breton stripes and fussy layering. Brave and undeniably beautiful – this really is museworthy stuff!

To view one of my previous posts on Juli Santini click here, or, head here to view her full collection and find details on online stockists – she really is a wonderful designer and well worth a look!

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