Olympia Le-Tan: Swish of the Curtain
The would-be ballerinas on point were wearing spindly high heels tied on with ballet-shoe ribbons. But they still managed to do the requisite twirl in their tutu skirts at the Olympia Le-Tan show.
Her forte is, of course, handbags — or rather, embroidered pouches that resemble books.
With an artist father in Pierre Le-Tan, Olympia had a chance to create with her signature charm and with flourishes inspired by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.
I spotted what must surely have been toy soldiers from The Nutcracker, both on the bags and more boldly on the hem of a full peasant skirt.
Another motif was the swish of the curtain, with the full drapery in the show’s backdrop replicated at the collar of a blouse. As ever with this designer, she offered wearable wit.
Elie Saab: A Functional
Wardrobe Fresh and growing greenery, and the trees of his native Lebanon lined the runway at Elie Saab’s January couture show.
The reprise of nature here, but as flat wooden toy trees, spoke volumes about the emotion of the first show, and the business-like line-up for the second.
And so it should be. Couture is to dream. Ready-to-wear is to sell. And Saab could not have made that clearer.
The commercial version started with slim tops and trousers, dresses with short skirts and cut-away bosoms. It was almost office wear, if such a concept works for Saab’s classy and wealthy customers.
These wine-red and olive-green outfits soon defaulted to black, with surface interest of autumnal leaves, ultimately followed by some bold digital prints of seascapes.
There was nothing wrong with the collection — but it seemed like a show on autopilot, as the clothes segued from day through to the cocktail (think lace) and dinner hours.
No sweeping gowns for the red carpet? They are the preserve of couture, where Saab prefers to show the full scope of his creativity.
Mugler: Ice and Heat
It is a cliché of futurism – or maybe a geographic certainty – that the world out there is an icy, silver blue. The same colour is often adopted for cyberspace on screen.
So it seems inevitable that Mugler, the brand founded by a designer whose symbol became a star in the firmament, should take on that vision.
To all of this, designer David Koma added a sexual surge that is not usually so evident with ‘cyber women’ – at least not on the surface. But it was with great skill that he sliced away a snippet at the hem of an already brief black dress, punched a pattern of holes to make miniscule windows on the body, and sliced surfaces into a fine mesh.
In his programme notes, the designer talked of “digital inspiration”, which is undoubtedly a modern influence.
There seems to be a variety of brands competing for this ‘Frozen’ look, and it is to Koma’s credit that he gave it some heat. Everything was in place – silvered stilettos or ring collars, silver lines, gilded, bronze and metallic patterns. No metal was ignored, yet none were overplayed. Graphic geometry ruled.
My issue is that the various futurists from half a century ago are merging into one on the catwalk. Mugler, Paco Rabanne, Courrèges – they have all presented a vague idea of the space age and journeys to the moon.
Thierry Mugler was all that, but with other, deeper channels of creation and invention. You cannot really expect a designer hired to make a powerful perfume business to pursue complex avenues of inspiration for the catwalk. And technically, Koma did the asymmetric-geometric thing very well.
But I couldn’t help thinking of Anthony Vaccarello, relatively new on the scene, whose rendition this season of stars as cut-outs revealing flesh would have been a perfect fit with Mugler’s back story.