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.
1 Октября 2015
The one-night-only exhibition to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Rochas offered food for thought. There was a fine selection of archive ads for fragrances, one called "Femme", with the perfume bottle set against a photo of the Eiffel Tower. Elsewhere at the same time, the Mayor of Paris and the French Federation of Couture were celebrating a special 30-minute illumination of the famous Paris landmark in honour of Fashion Week.
I walked past other fragrance images from the original Marcel Rochas, who died in 1955, all of them with a sensual but simple glamour. I then visited the display of vintage clothes. But these were not really historical pieces. Instead there were dresses with fluffy embellishments, or prints of zooming black that were recent creations by Alessandro Dell'Acqua, the current Rochas designer. He had shown his summer 2016 collection earlier in the day.
I spotted other refined pieces, from previous Rocha designers Marco Zanini and especially Olivier Theyskens, whose dark fairy tales made a real impact in the early part of the millennium.
But what about all the other archive clothes from the founder's early years? A book celebrating the anniversary had striking pictures of Rochas in the 1930s and 1940s, including the movie star Mae West in 1935 with frills at shoulders and knees.
In the Dell'Acqua show there was not much fashion inspiration from the past — except for Dalí's wife Gala. The designer used that connection for inventing orange giraffes stretching their necks towards a golden sun on skirts and dresses. There were other surreal signs in giant bows making up the bodice of a dress, or a colourful print veiled by white chiffon.
The Italian designer is not doing a bad job at Rochas, now that he has loosened and lightened up his work. This season's collection was credible and showed off intense workmanship just as much as golden coats and those sun rays.
But the feeling remains that Rochas is in the fashion game to sell its fragrances. Will the new one be called "Giraffe"?
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