Indy blogger Sarah Outen is currently on a mission to complete the journey she set out on in April 2011. Her London2London:Via the World journey aims to complete a loop of the planet using a rowing boat, a bike and a kayak. She is currently kayaking the Aleutian Islands and Alaskan peninsula with team mate Justine Curgenven before she sets off on the next stage cross-continent by bike. She updates us here.
A little bit of history repeating: something old makes something new, at Raf Simons’ Dior and Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel
The much-vaunted and oft-debated “point” of haute couture is tied up in history. Haute couture is living history, less a retrograde throwback and more a direct link to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The latter was when “haute couture” as a term was officially incorporated by Charles Frederick Worth, couturier to Empress Eugenie and most of her court; the former was when the idea of a fashion dictator was pioneered by the first celebrity dress designer, Marie Antoinette’s “Minister of Fashion” Rose Bertin. Those are some heavy antecedents, but they’re ones couturiers often bank on. Buying haute couture is a bit like buying a stake in a past you can never be part of.
Chinese Whispers at Versace, Frankenstein’s Monster at Schiaparelli. Haute couture autumn/winter 2014
I’m sure I’ve talked about the importance of individuality in haute couture before. It’s the raison d’être for the thing – couture clothes are complete one-offs, made to the specific measurements and requirements of incredibly wealthy and demanding women. Those demanding women come in all shapes and sizes, with different tastes.
They always have. While haute couture once set the trends – there’s an exhibition about to be launched at Paris’ Musée Galliera titled “Les Années 50, La Mode en France 1947-1957″, which lauds that golden age – it still had room for disparate voices. Balenciaga showed his unfitted suits when Dior-influenced cinched waists were at their tightest. Chanel, Schiaparelli and Vionnet had violently opposed views of dressing women, but they co-existed, and thrived.
Miu Miu gets trippy, Mary Katrantzou loves letters, Roland Mouret throws up. A last look at pre-spring 2015
Miuccia Prada enjoys having the final word. Perhaps that’s why she stole the pre-spring thunder, pitching up in Paris to show her Miu Miu collection on the eve of the haute couture collections and close the season. She does the same at the ready-to-wear, after all. On the other hand, maybe it was her acknowledgement of the new power of pre – the first ever, stand-alone Miuccia Prada-manned cruise show. It’s been dribbled into the menswear shows before, but this was a different thing entirely.
My daughter, Girl Outdoors, turns four later this month. We are deep into birthday party season at the moment – it’s all birthday cakes, jellies, ice cream. I try and try and try to get her to eat more fruit and veg than normal to compensate, but it’s pretty difficult. Actually, she hardly eats any [...]
If you ascend Paris’ Eiffel tower – say, during a free moment during the spring/summer 2015 menswear shows – you can look out on a vista relatively unchanged from the first day the tower was opened in 1889, of Baron Haussmann’s neoclassical façades and wide avenues. French law ensures that: Second Empire plans are in many cases more or less followed, with “alignement” law still in place to regulates a building’s height according to the width of the streets it borders. It’s fabulous for a sight-seer who gets to step back in time, almost. But many argue it’s choking the development of the city as a whole. Personally, I see a parallel with much of Paris fashion, where tradition can often choke creativity.
A silly label, I know. I don’t really have a Chateau with a vineyard, but I do have a grapevine and it is one of my life’s ambitions to make my own wine. When I was first offered an allotment in April last year, there were three choices of plot. Only one was completely overgrown [...]
The coupling of great clothes and a great show, where neither one outshines the other, is very rare. It’s all the more remarkable, then, that Raf Simons’ formula for his eponymous label seems such a sure-fire hit. I tried to think back to a Simons show that hasn’t worked, gloriously. Then I realised this was his business’ twentieth anniversary. I couldn’t think of a single instance.
Follow Kevin Carr’s extraordinary ultramarathon as he runs the Australian Nullarbor Plain
Given that shows, by and large, have scaled back from the flashy theatrics and set pieces of past fashion spectaculars, the quarterly reinvention of the Prada show space on Via Foggazarro is hotly anticipated by the fashion world. That’s because everything Miuccia Prada does about, around, before and after a collection is rabidly unpicked, scoured for hidden meaning. This season, Rem Koolhaas’ AMO created a space reminiscent of either a grand ocean liner or a suburban leisure centre, with a suspiciously cobalt-blue pool shimmering bedside thick, chocolate-brown shag carpeting and around the central pillars that are the only constant (they’re supporting, presumably).
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