Harper's Bazaar (Singapore)



- By Jeffrey Yan

The new rules of dressing in the world’s most expensive fashion


Following in Karl Lagerfeld’s footsteps is no walk in the park. His Chanel has been so successful, it’s tempting to try and replicate his formula; but the Kaiser’s genius is inimitable. Cleverly,VirginieVi­ard decided to forge her own path ahead. Her stewardshi­p of the storied House thus far has been marked by a refreshing sense of restraint. For her first haute couture outing, she turned the Grand Palais into a colossal library—an impressive spectacle no doubt, but decidedly more down to earth than her predecesso­r’s extravagan­zas. It was a tribute to both Coco Chanel’s book-lined apartment and to Lagerfeld, whose personal book collection reportedly numbered 300,000. The clothes similarly fused both their spirits—the ease and modernity she championed, and the House codes he endlessly reinterpre­ted.The show opened with slim, elongated lines in the form of ankle-length coats and an emphasis on trousers, worn w with flat shoes and reading glasses. Faces were framed by po portrait necklines, satin bibs, organza lapels and ruff collars. T Things gradually shifted into a more ornamental mood, bu but even the most decorative pieces had an ease to them.An int intricatel­y embroidere­d bandeau, for instance, was offset by a mo monastic white skirt. For evening,Viard proposed columns of mon monochrome velvet, lace and pleated silk—harking back to the libe liberating nonchalanc­e and Modernist lines of Coco Chanel.


Silvia Venturini Fendi Fend is another designer tasked with moving movin a legacy house forward in the wake of Karl Lagerfeld’s passing and she has done it with respect— not by mining his vast archives, but by channellin­g the duality of his creative spirit. Lagerfeld was always enchanted by the past, yet he constantly sought out the new and the extraordin­ary. For this couture spectacula­r staged al fresco in an ancient Roman temple, the artistry she teased out of the Fendi fur ateliers were extraordin­ary indeed.They took as inspiratio­n the ancient mosaics and marbles from the floors of grand Roman villas, and translated them into graphic Art Deco motifs.What looked like prints were actually highly elaborate intarsia; fur strips were woven every which way, sheared to look like feathers, threaded between gauze, or bonded with the lightest tulle.The clothes these techniques were employed on had a ’70s flavour, with flared trousers, bishop sleeves and high cinched waists aplenty.There was also a dazzling array of floor-sweeping reversible coats—under which Venturini Fendi layered bra tops, short shorts and transparen­t pieces to keep things light and modern. Lagerfeld would have been proud.


Maria Grazia Chiuri’s starting point was Bernard Rudofsky’s landmark 1944 exhibitioo­n exhibition at the th Museum of Modern Art,“Are Clothes Modern?”, whhich which explored exp the relationsh­ip between people and the garments garmentts they wore.The w architect’s musings on the form and function functionn of clothing clot led Chiuri to the idea of fashion as architectu­re for forfo the body. b Her main focus this season was therefore on construuct­ion, constructi­on, explored e in the myriad ways she draped and sculpted cloth clothh to the human form, which she further veiled and revealed withh with layers of o opaque and sheer fabrics.The collection itself was executed almost al entirely in black, allowing cut and silhouette to takee take centre stage. As Monsieur Dior himself said about the timelesss timeless hue:“It hue:“I is the most flattering. I could write a book about black.”Taking blaack.”Tak his words to heart, Chiuri wrote a bewitching bewitchhin­g new chapter for the House.


Mr Armani is a lifelong fan of film, with movies serving as a form of escape during his war-ravaged childhood. It’s fitting, then, that his latest Armani Privé collection was a tribute to Hollywood’s Golden Age. His opening section of slim, tailored jackets atop trousers that swished and shimmered dripped with 1930s Marlene Dietrich glamour. Like Hollywood’s shift from om black bl and white to colour, the show sh started in monochrome ome before be blossoming ng into pastels. p stels. The shapes, too, , got more relaxed, rellaxed, softening sof into o frothier fare such suchs as chiffon tiers, flounced hems heems and candy-coloured y-coloured furs.Armani then the segued gued back to black for foor the finale, fin e, but, far from being basic, basic,b the creations were intensely intenseely emmbellish­ed embellishe­d to evoke stars inn in the ni night ight sky. Real-life Tinselto Tinseltown own st stars tars are sure to flock to th them hem in droves.


Clare Waight Wa Keller has made refined elegance el a cornerston­e of her Givenchy Giv haute couture, but this season, s she also threw in a hint of rebellion to shake things up. u Silhouette­s that started rigorously tailored ended in raw-edged fringe or trailing ribbons r on the floor. Despite the t note of punk she inserted—most inserted— prominentl­y in the form of sweeping, spiky updos updo on some of the models—her models— default mode was polish.The pollis silhouette­s were extravagan­t, extrrav but expertly sculpted; the th bursts of feathers and taffeta taffeet were all carefully engineered.When engineeree­d she did use colour, it was in the form of opulent oppu texture—silver embroideri­es, emm emerald brocade, brocadee, plumage in coral and mint. minnt It was a masterful balancing balannci g act between razzle-dazzle and restraint.


John Gallia Galliano had anarchy chy y on his mind. With his latest l Artisanal al collection, col ollection, he shattered what remained of f the gender g binary, sending out boys b in shrunken nken sweaters, sw weaters, hot pants, garter garte belts and thigh-high high-high gh boots. He also torpedoed torp the tropes ropes of couture. co The wasp waists wai and full-skirted skirted looks ks called to mind the mid-century y New Look, k, but their components compon and the e manner in which wh they were employed e were ere resolutely of f the 21st cent century.Things were never quite what they seemed.What hat looked like houndstoot­h houndstoot­h, tweeds and furs were actually prints transferre­d transfer onto shimmery mmery semi-sheer fabrics then overlaid on wool and mohair, like filters. Lace La was alluded ded to by punching holes into garments.Trousers gar sers got cut up and remixed into bustier dresses. sses. A trench coat was twisted into a one-shouldered -shouldered dress. It was all beautifull­y be chaotic aotic and resulted in a sensory sens overload—couture d—couture for the modern n times.


Pie Pierpaolo Piccioli’s latest collection was about self self-expression at the highest level. His ideas of inclu inclusivit­y and diversity shone through not only in th the brilliant casting, but also in the range of pers personalit­ies and needs the collection dressed and addre addressed.The looks ran the gamut from restrained eleggance elegance all the way to pure fashion ion fantasy. In the latter campp, camp, ther there were Adut Akech’s swirl irl of amethyst ruffles and a gown of hundreds of rose gauze uze squares beribboned together. On the quieter side, daywear wear was a standout. There wer were pared-back t-shirts and d trousers in the most handsome materials; a taffeta coat was casually shrugged around the elbows; Lauren Hutton on walked the show in a chic cashmere parka.What tied ed it all together was Piccio Piccioli’s use of intense, searing g colour, often in gorgeously unexpected combinatio­ns ns such as saffron and lilac, a aubergine and pistachio, and nd blush and lime. C Cue standing Os all around. .

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