Paris Diary: Day Three

Published March 2, 2012

Peter Copping is in his third year at Nina Ricci and this season he let loose with his best collection to date and the highlight of the Paris shows so far. Copping likes it ladylike, but this time he put a twist in his propriety of delicate shapes and lingerie detailing by imagining what a little girl would do if you let her loose to play dress-up in Nina Ricci’s womanly closet. The result is messy, oversized, sexy like Lolita and utterly charming.

Copping used transparent piecing to give his polite velvet dresses a falling-off allure. Uneven pastel fur collars clung unevenly to sweeping black coats, filmy white satin draped negligently over the body and patchwork stripe textured sweater knit was roughly stitched together for hourglass pieces.

Bouchra Jarrar is probably the first contemporary Parisian designer to enter ready-to-wear on the success of a couture business, but then Jarrar’s made-to-measure has never been a feathers and beads affair. Her paired down, color block and piped shapes are pure and utterly contemporary. The small, ready to wear collection she showed at her atelier in the hart of Paris’s garment district yesterday presents more of the same at a more affordable price with a young girl vibe. A sleek brown leather jacket, self belted with a zip down the front over a romantic full gray flannel skirt sets the tone for this selection of understated, feminine pieces with one perfect handbag.

Delfina Delettrez produces her surreal jewelry in an atelier in Rome’s Ostinese neighborhood and for inspiration this season all she had to do was walk outside her door. “I wanted to work with Rome’s artisan tradition and so I began with the marble cutters and mosaic makers in my neighborhood,” says Delettrez who displayed her pieces on black and white harlequin check mannequins to match the marble floor of the room where she showed yesterday at Paris’s Les Arts Decoratifs.

“Metalphysic,” is Delettrez’s celebration of the “miraculous architecture” of Rome’s churches and palaces from ancient times to the present day, combining neoclassic marble columns with metal and enamel in a De Chirico, metaphysical way. Mosaic fragments, mini marble columns and enamel eyes make a charming, mobile necklace and a cuff presents a rainbow sampler of precious marbles, including Verona red, jet black and Carrara white, edged in fat pearls. As usual, Delettrez likes pieces the wearer can play with. This season it’s amazing accordion metal mesh edged in stones for necklaces and bracelets—a treatment taken from a toy she remembers from her childhood—for adjustable chokers and bracelets that collapse into tight, little columns.

The list of designers who went to church for fashion inspiration this season is growing. Guillaume Henry showed Carven’s spiritual side at Paris’s Couvent des Cordeliers, but the results were anything but prim. Henry laser cuts stained glass patterns for peekaboo holes all over stiff, hourglass skirts, tunics and dresses and the Carven girls look like Renaissance beauties in tapestry and paisley pattern bodice jackets and minis worn over boyish crisp, white shirts, or dresses with an alluring slit over the bust in velvet and prints taken from Hieronymous Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights.”

It’s hard to imagine Balmain in devotional mode, but Olivier Rousteing got religion this season during his first visit to the United States where he looked at a collection of Russian Orthodox priest’s robes in Los Angeles and Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry, including a Fabergé egg Richard Burton have her on display at Christie’s in New York before the sale. Rousteing combined Taylor’s devil may care opulence and Russian Orthodox ornamentation for one of Balmain’s most luxurious and detailed collections to date. The big news here is velvet, embossed like leather in a shadowy Fabergé pattern for pajama suits, and worked with pearlized leather in porcelain patterns on Balmain’s fancy pants which looked just great worn with a simple white crew neck sweater.

Rick Owens worships at his own church and his alluring women’s habits always reach a spiritual plane as he continues to refine his look. Their faces shrouded in spiderwebs, Owens’ women swept in through the show’s fiery backdrop dressed at first in voluminous gray and petrol blue clouds, but what emerged was more colorful, fitted and sleek. Slim wrap coats, cropped jackets over flowing skirts—some spread out like a blanket around the shoulders in apricot shearling—-were followed by graphic color blocking in fur, leather and nubby wools.

The explosive banshee feathered and spiked hair at Ann Demeulemeester yesterday put her girls on the chic warpath in a collection which marks a real departure from her typically soft, languid stance. Tense, constructed and archly feminine, curvy bias cut silk jackets in black and royal blue showed over glove-leather leggings or boots. Sleeveless sheaths worn with elbow length gloves looked like Audrey Hepburn in a goth remake of Breakfast at Tiffanys.

Yazbukery staged her “Pussycat Fight” at Maison Darré featuring a series of blow-ups of Yaz Kurhan herself accessorized from head to toe in her Plexiglas pieces incarnating a series of feminine archetypes from Betty Oops, Patti First Row and that gender bender dame Johnny Beware. Her heart hats, blazing flame cuffs and strap on bustiers are inspired by teen movie style from Grease to John Water’s’ Cry Baby, Yaz’s personal favorite. I wanted to make pieces for girls who like all like same bad boys and I started with the bustiers as kind of trompe l’oeil clothes for a skinny look even if you feel fat on black, “says Yaz who now spends half her time in the US where she designs bright bags for Zac Posen and Diane Von Furstenberg.