Sub-Saharan Lanvin; Siberian Yohji



What one can do with draping, a few, deft darts and fur sleeves! Of course, I’m thinking of someone special and that’s Alber Elbaz at Lanvin.  This show was moody but somehow triumphant and African, with rich, muddy colors that looked like the girls had waded across the Congo in their eveningwear.  

But first of all, there were the wigs. Everybody in the show, except Ajak, who is black, wore an identical Emily Strange wig (straight, square-cut, shoulder length shining black hair with bangs). This turned the models into a kind of savage chic brigade. The conga soundtrack upped the natives-are-restless feeling. Elegant, uncluttered and very leggy, the clothes are statuesque and absolutely free of external embellishment—up to a point. Elbaz plied marabou feathers, long (one hopes fake) monkey hair and totems worthy of a fashionable voodoo master on the fronts of his sleek shifts to alluring effect.
Yohji Yamamoto closed the day Friday evening with one of his best shows.  It looked a bit tricky at the start though as he kept the entire audience—including the very important people—waiting out in front of the high school courtyard venue for almost a half-hour, until about 9:00 PM. It was so cold. But then he had black blankets on every seat and we used them. LEFT: YOHJI, LOOK 37.
In an era where it seems like designers are zeroing in ever more tightly on a woman’s hourglass curves, Yamamoto is loyal to the loose, voluminous, supersized shapes he began with. These sweeping volumes in trench coats, circle skirt dresses, and jumpsuits in perfect blues and blacks, some worn with fedoras placed mysteriously low over the eyes, ankle socks and men’s lace-ups are romantic, and away from the hustle of modern fashion. By the time Daiane Conterato came out in a big coat with a sweeping train wearing black galoshes and a little black crown and a fishnet veil, Yamamoto had warmed up the cold crowd.