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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Death Of The (Straight) Catwalk

Kenzo, Sonia Rykiel, and Nina Ricci all chose a version of the hot trend: the snaking runway. What’s the message?

11 Апреля 2016

Sonya Rykiel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Sonya Rykiel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Kenzo: Colourful, kinetic clothes 

A Paris theatre was laid out with chairs in twists and turns, its vast walls decorated with digital projections of piano keys in a rainbow of colours. What was the meaning and the message at Kenzo, especially as the first sound of the show was the American National Anthem? Humberto Leon and his design partner Carol Lim had the models criss-crossing the angular pathways. I didn’t really understand the message of the presentation, but I appreciated the dynamism of the show. These American designers of Asian origin instinctively get what is trending in fashion now.

Kenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Kenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Maybe because of their Opening Ceremony stores in New York, LA and Tokyo, “cool” is part of their fashion DNA, and that is how the clothes looked: mini skirts and short dresses with high-rise waists or exposure around the neck for long coats that might be patterned with three-dimensional flowers. The widening of the neckline to a flat, or conversely a high, frill were perhaps the loudest fashion messages. But Leon and Lim do not work like typical designers with a theme. They just know how to use digital skills to upgrade traditional animal prints. And they can transform “old lady” lavender into a cool shade as a full-sleeve satin blouse shimmering above tight velvet trousers.

Kenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Kenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

So what was the story behind the piano keyboard images? Leon explained that they were “designed by these three fifteen-year-old kids we found on the Internet”. And why the complex catwalk route the models took? “It was about this group of people gathering, forming ideas and thoughts,” Leon said. “It was exciting to see all the collision of patterns in the outfits and on the runway — it was nice to see that energy.”

Kenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Kenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Sonia Rykiel: Stepping Into the Future 

Moving the Sonia Rykiel show to under the soaring roof of the Paris Beaux Arts building was a big step in a fresh direction. Artistic Director Julie de Libran had previously staged her shows in Sonia Rykiel’s landmark Paris store, the shelves filled with books, which have become the house’s quirky new symbol. Books? Don’t you mean screens? But the new designer understands the digital age: she is taking elements of the Rykiel heritage and making them modern yet comprehensible to members of the Rykiel family, who were sitting in one of the square pens that the models walked through.

Sonya Rykiel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Sonya Rykiel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Wine-red tailoring illuminated with a fur collar led into well-cut but relaxed cropped jackets and baggy trousers. The mix of mannish fabric and a striding attitude seemed just right, as did furry cardigans with a leather skirt. The idea of tailored knitwear is so forgotten by modern fashion that de Libran could have a real success with a double-breasted, ribbed jersey coat or any of the striped knitwear that followed. It all seemed like a stride forward for the designer who took the helm of the typically 1970s brand just two years ago. And to prove that she really is digitally savvy, she handed out envelopes announcing those familiar smartphone words: “You have a new message.” The Sonia Rykiel press pack continued, “SR stands for ‘Seriously Ravishing’.”

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Sonya Rykiel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Sonya Rykiel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Sonya Rykiel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Sonya Rykiel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


Nina Ricci: Stealthy sensuality

Coats, solid winter coats — although maybe worn sensually over chiffon tops revealing white brassieres — showed the moment when the Nina Ricci look got back on track. Designer Guillaume Henry showed the collection with models walking on a silver-carpeted, X-shaped runway, which added a sense of intimacy important to the storyline. The heroine, as ever, was the Sixties movie star Romy Schneider, and although this very grown-up look of slow-burn glamour was at first a shock after the nice-girl teen looks Guillaume showed previously at Carven, this season his woman got into her stride. The runway angling through the large space gave an intimacy to clothes that were sporty but also sensual.

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Nina Ricci, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Nina Ricci, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Nina Ricci, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Nina Ricci, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


Using slightly “off” colours like moss green, sage, pewter, and eggplant purple, and, above all, by adding the glimmer of satin and discreet sparkles, Henry created an image that was very French. Read subtle sexualisation and sophisticated cut. This is a different look for Nina Ricci from the pretty-in-pink-and-roses style of previous designer Peter Copping. But Henry has his own vision and the look is beginning to meld beautifully with Ricci.

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Nina Ricci, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Nina Ricci, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Nina Ricci, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Nina Ricci, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


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