If today was any indication of how confused and difficult Paris is going to be this season, we’re in for a very long week. Lack of coordination on the part of Mode à Paris aside (not that they’ve ever done anything beyond publishing a partially accurate schedule), shows were scattered, incredibly late, and too often left even the editors at major fashion magazines scratching their heads. Granted, this was the first day and there weren’t any heavy-hitting major labels on the schedule, so we’re hoping the situation improves as the week goes along. Still, it’s sad when I reach the end of the day and find myself flipping a coin to decide which less-than-thrilling show to review.
Each X Other was actually one of the first shows to walk this morning, and has some legitimate reason for paying attention. This is a new brand showing for the first time and, if nothing else, they’ve put a considerable amount of PR effort into making sure they get noticed. Founders Jenny Mannerheim and Ilan Delouis are the latest to take on the Art as Fashion concept and try to make it into something commercial. They had a poet reading. A band performed an original song. The show itself was staged in the Palais de Tokyo. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Yet, any artistry in the clothes themselves is so subtle, in the stitching, the linings, the interior seams, that from the perspective of the average buyer the collection comes off as rather blah. There were oversized men’s jackets as dresses. There were bulky cable knits whose sleeves were excessively long. There were moto jackets over dresses. Sound familiar? Yes, unfortunately too much so. Not that there’s anything problematic about anything in the collection. Color combinations make sense. Styling is attractive and wearable. But the things that separate this collection from all the dozens of others filling store shelves is hidden.
Given this is their first collection to show, we can be quite forgiving if they don’t get the balance between art and function just right. Others have been trying for years and still wrestle with the concept. At the very least, they made the decision to err on the side of something with some commercial viability to it. We’ll have to wait and see what adjustments they make for next season, hoping they, and the entire week, get better.