Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Paris Fashion Week 2012

As regular readers know, I usually only post about men's fashion, but I will make exceptions on occasion and this is certainly one of them. At Paris Fashion Week, which concluded today, there were some stand out collections that need to be seen.

I am not a rabid follower of Marc Jacobs' work, but his SS '13 collection for Vuitton was pretty special. Rather, I should say that the clothing was interesting enough (a fun, and ultimately elegant pop-art homage that felt a tad Rudi Gernreich) but it was the set that did it for me. ESCALATORS? Seriously? How incredible and fantastic is that? And set to a Philip Glass soundtrack? How perfect, like a scene from "Koyaanisqatsi."

And my beloved McQueen showed a gorgeous collection all based on apiculture. Sarah Burton put models in hats reminiscent of bee keeper hats with veils, while honeycomb patterns and bodices, hip rolls, straps, and jewelry made of what looked like hardened, dark, raw honey embellished with tiny jeweled bees appeared throughout. Sumptuous hoop skirts covered in the kind of flowers that bees pollinate (and of course, from which they make honey) rocked to and fro down the runway, while filmed bees swarmed on the giant screen at the rear of the stage. *swoon*

But the most extraordinary show was not showcasing any current collection. It was "The Impossible Wardrobe," a one-of-a-kind, one-woman performance art piece conceived by Olivier Saillard, director of the Musée Galliera, a museum of fashion and fashion history in Paris, and über-talented actress Tilda Swinton. For forty minutes, Swinton, dressed in a plain white shift, walked treasured pieces of fashion history culled from the Musée Galliera's archives down a runway, to a waiting mirror. Due to the Musée's strict "no-wear" policy, she held each piece in her white-gloved hands (acid from skin causes damage to precious, ancient fabric) and posed in front of the mirror, imagining what she would look like in each piece. As she walked, she made pieces dance. She danced with pieces. She made each garment come to life. Using her marvelous emotive powers, Swinton embodied a certain sense associated with each garment, whether it was an evening collar that belonged to Sarah Bernhardt, a tailcoat covered in gold bullion worn by Napoleon (yes, the Napoleon; she sniffed the collar, searching for a trace or a leftover pheromone of its owner, inhaling history itself), a Yohji Yamamoto headdress from 1993, a 1968 Paco Rabanne dress worn by Brigitte Bardot, or a pair of Elsa Schiaparelli-designed gloves with built-in gold talons from 1936.

Swinton holding Napoleon's tailcoat, circa 1805 - 1815.

Swinton holding Sarah Bernhardt's evening collar, circa 1900.

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