Today was wonderful. Big shows, and not a clunker in the bunch. I left Nina Ricci feeling like my feet couldn’t touch the ground. Part of the uplift came from the purity of the staging. The models walked into the blackened tent from a sun-drenched crack at the far end, which opened onto the Tuileries gardens. The music was classical stringed instruments. The show felt pure and impassioned.
Lovely short knit dresses shown with layers of feathers at the shoulder, or with soft leather jackets were a highlight. The hair was savage and earthy with feather headbands. It was a cool look. Not as pretty as last season, but I imagine that was the point. The girls looked glamorously grunge.
A friend later in the evening said she felt sorry for the brand because she felt they would lose some celebrity endorsement this season. It’s true that Ricci was given a big boost when Reese Witherspoon wore a yellow dress to the Oscars. Were the clothes today for Reese? No, no, no. Will this be a problem for the brand? It depends. I’m betting Olivier Theyskens will design a more celeb-friendly look for his resort collection.
Later in the day, when I walked into the Lanvin tent at 5:30 p.m., there were old-fashioned strings of white lights, a runway covered with planks to look like a boardwalk, and men handing out boxes of ice cream. “How Cirque du Soleil!” somebody said.
What fun it was to see the fashion pack sucking on popsicles.
Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz went shorter with his dresses this season, ditching the zippers and mutton sleeves, but keeping the bright jewel tones of his fall collection. The big story was his floaty long numbers, which garnered applause the first time they appeared. The audience was standing for an ovation by the end.
No wonder. There was a happy, chic, fabulous Sex and the City feeling to the whole show—so different from the quietly-moving Nina Ricci. Both were touching in their own way, but Lanvin might be the more popular collection, with its red carpet-ready dresses.
Walking up to Louis Vuitton at 7:30 p.m., through a candlelit archway off of the rue de Rivoli and into the Carée du Louvre, we knew right away that the theme would be sexy—the tent was covered with paintings by Richard Prince (who collaborated on the handbags this season).
I hoped this meant the designer would riff on themes from his sexy Marc Jacobs collection shown in New York a few weeks ago. He did.
It’s noteworthy to mention that the show started late, although it’s hard for me to see why people get so bent out of shape. We’re sitting in Paris about to watch a big fashion show. It’s a privilege. I guess people get exhausted. Things got tense at about 8:30 p.m. (the show was slated to start at 7:30, but they didn’t even let us in the tent until 8:00). The photographers chanted rowdily, there was shouting from the crowd, boos at one point. PR people brought water to those in the front row.
Who was in the front row? From where I was sitting, I could see Victoria Beckham, Sofia Coppola, Catherine Deneuve, Kanye West, Sophie Dahl, Courtney Love, and Dita Von Teese.
At least we non-front-rowers had something to look at.
The show began with a hilarious parade of big supermodels like Linda Evangelista and Stephanie Seymour, decked out in white nurse costumes and black lace masks.
It felt very “They’re coming to take me away!", and so I was afraid the show was going to be, well, crazy. Okay, it was crazy, and dipped in Crayola—taffeta hats, trenches with the backside cut out to show the rear, sheer gloves, bright stockings and shoes, sequined skirts slit up to there—but it was also sexy and brilliant.
Jacobs ran behind the models carrying a Vuitton vanity case with Spongebob Squarepants on it, a comment on what handbags mean to Vuitton, I guess.
Now what Spongebob Squarepants is doing on a Vuitton bag—that I’d like to have explained to me.