Paris Fashion Week Kicks Off With Dior and Gucci

Paris Fashion Week Kicks Off With Dior and Gucci

The Paris collections opened on Monday with a battle royale, as Dior and Gucci, two of fashion’s biggest luxury players, faced off in a surprising matchup that was, in the short term, a bid to capture more eyeballs, and, in the long term, part of a majorly knockout fight for market share.

Designers are notoriously competitive, as we all know, but the luxury conglomerates that own their houses are downright brutal in their efforts to grow bigger, faster, and stronger than anyone else, at any cost.

Case in point: Gucci, the explosively powerful prizefighter owned by Kering, which normally opens the Milan collections, moved its show this season to a prime position at the start of the Paris collections. Not to be scooped, Dior, owned by Kering’s rival LVMH, advanced its show by a day, so it would still be the first big event of Paris, preceding Gucci by six hours.

While this may seem like inside baseball to viewers watching at home, it does make a difference, and Dior — led by artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri — was more than up for the challenge by its Italian neighbor. Chiuri has slowly, methodically, and patiently built a case for her vision of a feminist, sensual, and unabashedly unpractical Dior, where sheer dresses and visible underwear are part and parcel to her aesthetic.

She has faced her doubters. But she has remained true in her convictions and she has ultimately persevered — her spring collection being her finest to date, energized by a mesmerizing dance performance in a stunning black space. Israeli choreographer Sharon Eyal led a troupe, outfitted in leggings and tights embroidered in the Dior style, through a shower of rose petals, as each dancer slowly moved across a vast black tent, erected for the occasion somewhere in the Bois de Boulogne.

They joined into pairs, and then groups, creating hypnotic movements that both distracted and enhanced the clothes being simultaneously presented on Chiuri’s runway.

Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Getty Images

Those designs were inspired by dance, though the reference was loose enough to allow for some fabulous daywear and dresses that really showed Chiuri’s strength of creating gowns that are simultaneously conservative in their full lengths and perverse in their transparency. A lengthy opening of neutral khaki and severely black dresses was interrupted by surprises of tie-die and denim, and textured skirts that looked incredibly intricate, even in the darkened room with so much going on. One favorite look was a sheer dress of black netting with a skirt of multi-colored tulle, worn like an X-ray over a black fishnet bodysuit.

Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Getty Images

Gucci’s Paris debut, meanwhile, was a highly anticipated event, so much so that the entire block surrounding the historic Le Palace theater was mobbed with screaming fans. Gucci’s designer, Alessandro Michele, has so successfully rewritten the codes of luxury over the last five years that it seemed fairly reasonable for him to start a show with a shock film, with a floppy model meandering, or possibly overdosing, in a nice old house

(I worry she may need medical assistance), that might have been inspired by New Wave cinema, or might have had something to do with current horror movies — who knows? It was disruptive, anyway. Inside, the show was laid out around the rows of seats, with models entering from the back of the theater and walking down the aisles to the stage so that most guests got only a good look at their backsides.

While the event could have benefited from a better choreographer, it was still pretty fabulous when Jane Birkin — Jane Birkin, people!

— suddenly stood up from her seat and sang “Baby Alone in Babylone.” And the clothes, as deliriously outré as ever, had a lot going for them as well — particularly the dresses of flip-flapping fringe, and the guys who wore droopy Gucci underpants, and the handbags shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head, and the jacket and the top painted with the face of Dolly Parton, and the lady with the live cockatoo on her shoulder …

well, this is Michele’s personal trip, so don’t expect some sort of rational explanation for what happened here. At best, I noticed more of a hippie vibe in the tailoring of corduroy suits, with their flaring trousers, and disco tops, which I rather liked.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

It’s hard to say exactly who won the day, as the shows turned out to be so different, but I’m sure if you look on social media, you’ll get a better count.

View the original article here

Princess Diana’s Niece Gives a Behind the Scenes Tour of Milan Fashion Week

Lady Kitty Spencer is Bulgari’s latest brand ambassador, as well as an aficionado of all things Italian, and so, for a fresh perspective on Milan Fashion Week, InStyle invited the modeling royal to weigh in on her experience during the recent collections. Here, a page from her diary (or rather, a transcript of her comments during a brief interview at Bulgari’s dinner party last Friday night):

VIDEO: Watch Jasmine Sanders’s Bulgari Campaign

“I got here a couple of days ago, after a shoot for Bulgari in London the evening before. I had another shoot for Bulgari yesterday, and then today I got to see the new collection of accessories — all black and a little bit of pink, which is really cool. The black day bags are not necessarily for evening, although there were couture-inspired brooches that come from the archives of the heritage collection. And they’ve got a 24-karat gold bag here that is spectacular. Tomorrow, I have a shoot again, and then we go to the amfAR gala. It’s been lots of fun, lot’s of dress up.

Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images

“I like to walk around in Milan. There’s a beautiful park in the Brera neighborhood where we walk around, but I really like to walk on my own and put my music in my ears, and you always somehow end up in the right place as long as you look on the map and see somewhere that has a green patch.

“I have a few friends here, so last night we went to Il Salumaio. It’s so lovely. I was thinking I was going to be good because it’s fashion week, but obviously there is burrata and truffle pasta, and, well, you know. The waiter said, ‘I really think you guys should share the burrata as a starter, but we said, no, no, no.’ Perhaps we should have listened to him, as I sit here in this corset, but it was such a beautiful restaurant. We got there at 10 p.m. and I had an early start this morning, but it was worth it. If the schedule gets full, you want to make sure you stay on top of things and rest, but it’s important, too, to get out and explore.

“We went to Grom for ice cream today. I always like nocciala, the hazelnut flavor. Tomorrow I’m going to Giacomo, which is amazing. It’s a nice time to catch up, because it’s all sort of people you meet up with. Milan is a happy place — it’s my favorite fashion week.

“I’ve been here quite a few times already, and I’m walking on Dolce & Gabbana again on Sunday. My fitting was this morning, so that’s coming up, and then Domenico’s 60th on Sunday night, and then I think I’m going to sleep all next week. I’m an owl at the moment, nocturnal. But I love it, both brands are so colorful and fun — so Italian. Bulgari parties are always the most fun for the dancing, and everyone stays. It’s rare to come to a work thing and have so much fun. You always think you have to behave, but here, I just make sure I can sleep in the next morning.”

View the original article here