Sunday, 7 March 2010

Make do and mend ... while Hamish wore a green carnation

Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière

The contents of my mini bar - Metro map of central Paris

Hamish Bowles may have had other reasons for sporting a green carnation at the shows, but the colour metaphorically anyway seems to have summed up a great deal of the current thinking at Paris Fashion Week. From recycle and reinvention in designer collections, to the gentle encouragements on discrete notices in my hotel room, asking me to reuse my bath towel and think twice before asking for my bed to be changed. Make-do-and-mend, a flash back to the ration book influence on my war time childhood, wove it's way into the collections as if to darn over the holes developing in the industry's perceived ethics in manufacturing.

Hamish Bowles of American Vogue

At Balenciaga, Nicolas Ghesquière's collection was lauded by fashion's hierarchy, and rightly so. In anyone else's hands the idea of  wrapping models up in motifs of domestic ephemera (sweetie wrappers and Sunday supplement advertisements), recycled for their somewhat incongruous purpose of personal ornament, might have come off as yet another blast of pop art retro-recall; but there was no feeling here at all that the clothes were made for anything other than a bang on 21st century wardrobe, albeit it for the few who can afford the luxury and exclusivity of Balenciaga's price tags, (sorry Mrs Moore, we're not there yet!).

Salvage chic for Balenciaga's shoes

Balenciaga's macro textured bodices

At Comme Des Garcons, garments had seemingly been unstitched, rearranged and refitted, in an almost absent minded way, with the double facing poking upwards and out, and the raw edges left unravelling, inviting your mind to to do the same at the resulting shapes of a woman's silhouette, developed here not quite as would be usual in stereotypical form. However Comme Des Garcons' designer and creative director Rei Kawakubo would I'm sure, not have been in the least bit unintentional, her challenging but cerebral approach to fashion's frontier has assaulted conventions on the world's stage since the 1980s and to her credit designers new and established still look to her as they did then as a major source for inspiration.

Comme Des Garcons silhouette rethink

Comme Des Garcons

Tao of the Comme Des Garcons group

Tao also showed heavily deconstructed clothes which had the appearance of garments worn for one purpose but hinted at a by gone other; domestic but not necessarily wardrobe! A quirky often charming look but one that only the grace of youth could win over.

Parisian magazine stands, posing the pressing question ...
...Le Grand Bluff?

Interestingly, I failed my darning and sewing badges as a Boy Scout, but in subsequent years did turn my hand to many a domestic repair or reinvention (much to the dismay of my family) . Those vanished days, when time allowed for, and wallets demanded such conscientious pursuits, do appear to be coming back.....well .. after a fashion. ... now where did I put that tube of Araldite .....?

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