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A tale of two cities: sex and sensibility, from Givenchy, Celine and Stella McCartney, Fashion

A tale of two cities: sex and sensibility, from Givenchy, Celine and Stella McCartney

When the models began to take their complex turns at the Givenchy show on Sunday night, whizzing around the venue as if ricocheting around a pinball machine (the hairpin bends, I must confess, made me feel a bit sick), the first thing I thought was: well. It’s been a while since we saw this.

This being sex. Or rather, sexy. or rather, a certain idea of sexiness. “I would be a very rich man if I could make sexy clothes,” said Gianni Versace in 1997, in one of his final interviews. Which, from the long-acknowledged Italian master of dressing to undress, speaks volumes. Namely it poses the question, what is sexy in clothing?

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Tuesday, 30 September 2014 at 6:18 pm

A little bit of history repeating: something old makes something new, at Raf Simons’ Dior and Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel, Fashion

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.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 4:24 pm

Oil and Water: Chanel, Dubai, and the retail phenomenon of “Cruise”, Fashion

Oil and Water: Chanel, Dubai, and the retail phenomenon of “Cruise”

There’s a trend right now for fashion houses to show the collections we still dub Cruise in far-flung locales. I’m writing this in the airport in Dubai, following Chanel’s show; a week ago Dior Cruise-ed to New York and chugged us from Manhattan to Brooklyn on a chic branded ferry; last summer, that house showed in Monaco, coincidentally the site of Louis Vuitton’s inaugural Cruise show this weekend.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 10:04 pm

Couture with clout, by Chanel, Armani, Valentino and Vionnet, Fashion

Couture with clout, by Chanel, Armani, Valentino and Vionnet

The couture schedule, somehow, was packed this past week. Here are a few words on a few shows for the spring/summer 2014 haute couture week, including Vionnet, Chanel, Valentino and Armani.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Thursday, 23 January 2014 at 5:01 pm

In Paris, Chanel goes arty-farty while tricky Saint Laurent trickles up, Fashion

In Paris, Chanel goes arty-farty while tricky Saint Laurent trickles up

Hedi Slimane’s Saint Laurent shows the trickiness of trickle up rather than trickle down, as well as being referential but not reverential. Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel, by contrast, was a masterpiece of really, really great clothes. Simple.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 12:09 pm

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