I’m beginning to worry some about the mindset of top designers. First, there was Marc Jacob’s apocalyptic scene in New York. Vivienne Westwood gave us clothes for a world dissolved into chaos. And now, Riccardo Tisci puts a collision of cars, SAAB, Benz, and Jaguar, right at the center of his runway-in-the-round. Is anyone else picking up on a bit of a fatalistic vibe here?
For Tisci, who may at the moment be the most popular designer on the streets of Paris, the scene represents a collision of cultures, Japanese and African, present in his spring/summer collection. On one hand, there was the often intricate and close to the body draping of Africa. Ladies, as beautiful and alluring as these dresses are, you’d best hope they come with instructions. Tisci has taken the concept to new heights, at times draping off a ring at the center of the collar bone, to complicated halter looks, to one that plays off a low-slung necklace. Beautiful beyond question, if you put one of these numbers in your wardrobe, one best add a good 30 minutes or more to the prep time.
Other silhouettes mixed modified kimono styled jackets with loose fitting pants, a look that Style.com’s Nicole Phelps referred to as akin to stepping out in one’s robe and pajamas. I can’t say that description is too far from accurate. Where it works best is early in the collection with Japanese-influenced jackets, with one lapel twisted, sit nicely over full skirts.
Tisci loves jersey material and a significant part of this collection is made with it. When he moves to silk for the evening pieces, the collection looses a level of comfort, but then, since when has evening wear ever been all that comfortable? The looks are paired with flats of one kind or another, sometimes a mix of Roman and African, other times more Asian in influence, but no real heel height to be seen.
Another hit was Tisci’s take on the Japanese make-up styles, his interpretation of which involved hand-applied colored crystals that started along the top of the cheekbone and covered the entire face.The aesthetic was almost a death-mask feel, though certainly one of a very honored and well-to-do person. He only used this tactic a few times, however. For the others, there was, again, hardly any make-up at all, going with a more natural look that has definitely been a trend this season.
If I had to guess, and at this point in the calendar that’s all I can do, I would imagine that anyone who doesn’t have one of those jersey dresses in their closet by May is probably going to be out of luck. Risci’s most popular pieces, such as the sweatshirts seen all over Paris this week, have a tendency to sell out quickly. So, take a good look and consider placing your order now. You don’t want to be caught up in the wreckage of people left out next spring.