Unlike the diligent Alex Fury at SHOWstudio or the magnificent Mr Fluff Chance at The Emperor's Old Clothes, I don't have much to add in comment to the haute couture proceedings of last week, which began with a truly horrendous homage to Bassett's Allsorts sweets at Dior and ended with the unwilling bow of the sublime but stealthy couturier Azzedine Alaia, who has over the years just got on with his own savoir faire.
That phrase sticks with me whenever haute couture in Paris comes around. Didier Grumbach, President of the Fédération Française de la Couture's once said "Couture is in fact not an industry, it is a savoir faire, a craft, and is a complement to ready-to-wear" and it is with this quote in mind that I look at Givenchy's latest collections of ten angel skins descended upon earth. Thanks to the talented and generous Kasia Bobula, I've got a different perspective of the collection from the slightly robotic-standard lookbook images. Her photography captures the quiet and contemplative nature of the collection. With only ten silhouettes, you're really given the time to take in every detail, be dazzled and then commit to memory. This was a showcase of haute couture savoir faire/know-how at its uppity toppity height.
An exacting and almost topographic approach is taken with the Lesage embroidery building up beads and pearls that are sometimes covered with diaphanous tulle to reduce sheen, feathers and circles of organza into textures that have wildly different effects when viewed upclose and from afar. The layering of various transparencies is effective in shades of white, which as a colour gives the different laces, organzas and tulles a chance to shine on their own merit.
This is beauty for beauty's sake and for once Riccardo Tisci doesn't seem to be scared to embrace that notion without compromising his heightened dark quirks which he has honed into his ready to wear. Admittedly there's something a bit untouchable about the whole collection with its lofty and celestial ambitions, which is the only slight downer but then again I find it refreshing once in a while to lavish "I'm not WORTHY" superlatives on to clothes. I've already seen the inevitable cries of "These aren't clothes! They're art!" that one expects as reactions to Givenchy's strategically downsized haute couture presentations. Me thinks I prefer savoir faire and in the case of Givenchy, I'm glad that I'm being belittled in the presence of this amount of know-how.
All photography by Kasia Bobula