Last Tango in Paris: Day 8

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Published March 17, 2009

Real life, post-Paris collections, returned with a thump—like the sound a newspaper makes when it hits the front door—when WWD reported on Monday morning that Olivier Theyskens is officially out as Creative Director at Nina Ricci. During his two year stint, Theyskens produced ethereal frocks that young, glamorous girls want to wear, and Anna Wintour has made no secret she’s a fan. But that couldn’t save him. The very different and very talented Lars Nilsson, Nina Ricci’s previous designer, was also dismissed after three years, reportedly because he’s too classic, even as sales doubled under his leadership. Now Theyskens has been shown the sortie because he’s too… too…je ne sais pas quoi…too interesting? (LEFT: THEYKSENS SIGNS OFF ON NINA RICCI)

The final two days of the Paris collections went by in a flash. Even before Miu Miu and Colette’s 50th birthday party for Barbie last Thursday evening, the fashion press was pulling out its Paris-London-Milan-New York score card—as though pithy one-liners were the last word, with little mind for a woman in a fitting room.

Hermes does Earheart; Louis Vuitton, Gloria von Thurn and Taxis

 

And so it was a dreamy last few days. At Hermès Jean-Paul Gaultier teamed up with Amelia Earhart for crocodile aviator jackets and the satin bias evening dresses that don’t necessarily go with them for a collection of 30s debutantes and World War One flying aces. Next up was John Galliano’s Russian snow scene, a kaleidoscopic blizzard of beguiling folklore, spun from the Balkans and Scheherazade in a swirl of colorful pom poms, embroidery, veils and tinkling coin headdresses. And then it was up to Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu to say adieu—or bonjour depending on whether you think the show’s the thing, or just a preview of things to come.

At Louis Vuitton the show was fuelled by what came before, specifically the 1980s. This time Marc Jacobs looked at the decade from the other side of the pond, so it was Paris in the 80s, specifically the late 80s. Jacobs said he was inspired by Christian Lacroix’s grey-before-her-time house model, the diminutive Marie Seznec. But it looked more like Princess TNT, Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, in a pink Cadillac convertible, her hair as high in a chic punky  up-do as her skirts were short, on her way  to Schloss St. Emmeram, the 500-room palace in Regensburg, Bavaria, she shared briefly with the notorious Prince three decades her senior. That is, before he slipped away in 1990 leaving her and the children deeply in debt. Jacobs mined the period’s archives and settled on a winning combo of black Chantilly lace over pink duchesse satin for some frothy little-bo-peep numbers and extraordinary metallic brocade mid-thigh puss-in-boots. Smashing square coats, short and extra-wide in citrus orange and sunny yellow, reached way beyond the runway stage. The punk meets luxe period was the perfect excuse to put pink ruffle trim all over the LV bags and flash day-glo bras under transparent silk jersey T-shirts. It was all a lot of fun, but maybe the first time is the best time.

It’s odd to think that it falls to Milan’s Miuccia Prada and Miu Miu to close the Paris collections and the fall season. Nonetheless, Miu Miu has become a collection with  its  own identity, and the collection’s maturity was never more evident than in this show. Prada put Miu Miu in aprons for spring, a curious domestic touch and perhaps a premonition of the clean-up in store for this season. This time around it was more about what she took off, or left askew. The coats, in fleshy beige and grey, opened the show looked roughed up, their tailoring pushed to the side and collars stretched for a plunging neckline, as though in the midst of an erotic tussle. Ribbed stockings and X-strap pumps were studded with jewels as though they had fallen from the neck and scattered. And Prada invented a new article of clothing, which is perhaps yet another sign of what’s in store. If you can’t afford  the whole coat next fall, perhaps you can take just the lapels, add a fur tail to them and wear it around your neck strategically placed over a matching bra. As my mother used to say, on a runaway horse no one will notice what’s missing. (LEFT: AT MIU MIU)