Cavalli, Gaultier, Demeulemeester: Paris Days 3 and 4, Part 2

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Published March 10, 2009

The new Cavalli boutique

 

There’s light and there’s dark.

For Fall/Winter Jean Paul Gaultier took his whip out, branding every piece on the runway with an X and fishnet grillwork. There were masculine three-piece suits with X-shaped bondage-strapped trouser legs, Gaultier’s favorite trench coats, and come-hither black silk dresses. Meanwhile Veronique Branquinho dressed her “warm blooded ice queens” in white satin. Branquinho has just been named artistic director of Delvaux, the storied Belgian leather goods house, so she’s set to weather the storm. Accordingly, she covered her entire collection with pale Mongolian lamb—as close as fur comes to feathers—to plump up the front of trench coats, trim skimpy 20s flapper dresses and edge spike heels.

Ann Demeulemeester is in a dark mood—black-on-black satin embroidery-fronted wrap coats held together with her usual system of spaghetti-thin ties and worn over draped leggings to capture the ethnic glam of Afghanistan by night. Like Jean Paul Gaultier, Ms. D was inspired by S&M constructions in the form of torso-encasing bustiers with a solid leather front turning into a cage of small bondage belts in back. Her light touch comes in vests made entirely of small bells to make music when you walk.

Looks from Veronique Branquinho, Ann Demeulemeester

 

 

Requiem, the young Paris partnership of French/English Julien Desselle and Italian Raffaele Borriello, gets better every season. The pair gained their fashion experience in communications at Christian Dior and design at Gucci and YSL, respectively, and the clothes are produced in Paris by a small atelier that works with Dior. Requiem’s spring christening dresses for grown-up girls have given way to a naughty take on 80s couture à la Nancy Reagan. The pair set up a black plexi runway at the oh so chic Cercle Interalliée surrounded by gilt chairs as though a couture show was about to begin. Each piece is an exercise in lily gilding that would make Nancy and her pal Betsey Bloomingdale swoon. One jacket mixes long- and short-haired fur with satin quilting in black; other coats feature detailed geometric fabric insets in jewel-toned satin. Short cocktail dresses channel Oscar de la Renta in his “ruffle king” heyday. “Our inspiration is 80s Thierry Mugler,” says Borriello, “but these constructions are much lighter than the originals so it’s modern couture.” On Saturday afternoon, Colette, the Paris shopping hot spot, turned itself into a fashion and photography three-or rather four-ring circus. The store, whose rue Saint Honoré corner has become a hangout spot for beautiful girl-watchers, hosted four events simultaneously. The biggest draws were fashion photographers Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, who have come out with a portfolio of their greatest pictures with Stern. Van Lamsweerde told me that Steidl will publish the pair’s first book next year, to coincide with an exhibition in June at Amsterdam’s Foam Photography Museum spanning their 22-year collaboration. Van Lamsweerde’s favorite picture in the portfolio is one of her, open-mouthed and orgasmic, entitled “Me Kissing Vinoodh Passionately,” in which Matadin has been digitally disappeared. If you can’t wait, this spring, fashion magazines offer a mini retrospective of the couple’s current advertising—campaigns for Balmain, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Isabel Marant and Giuseppe Zanotti. (LEFT: INEZ AND VINOODH’S NEW TITLE PUBLISHED BY STERN) 

Across the floor stood model Erin Wasson with a rack of clothes from her RVCA collection that launched this spring. Wasson’s favorite piece in the collection is a skimpy tank and leather short shorts with whip stitched sides with “Righteousness is Preferred” scrawled on it in magic marker, but the piece de resistance is a crochet dress with stars that shows off everything a girl has.  “”I got inspired after doing jewelry,” Wasson says, “my clothes are for the hipster crowd.”

 

Roberto and Eva Cavalli, Emmanuelle Seigner at the Paris Boutique opening.

 

Later that evening, just down the street, Roberto Cavalli opened his seven-story Paris palazzo, Roberto Cavalli Saint Honoré, on the corner of rue Cambon, near Chanel. “Paris is the capital of haute couture, the city of glamour and seduction,” said Cavalli. “This is where my adventure began in a little shop on the Left bank’s rue du Four. Now here I am on the Right bank with my own building!” After three years’ construction, the result really is Las Vegas Italia meets gay Paris. The gilt-paneled couture salon upstairs, a first for Cavalli, has its own extra large white mink sofa and features made to measure gowns with corset work from the inimitable wasp wait master Mr. Pearl. Even the store’s ashtrays are over the top. The opening was a starlet blast featuring every bombshell from Patsy Kensit in a silver Cavalli mini dress to Lady Bunny. On the top two floors, Cavalli and his wife Eva are still putting the finishing touches on their own pied-à-terre in a design collaboration with friend Italo Rota.