Hybrid Fashion Takes Junya, Celine Does Gloria Steinem

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Published March 7, 2011

LOOKS FROM HAIDER ACKERMANN (LEFT) AND JUNYA WATANABE

Haider Ackermann‘s Saturday-morning show in Paris was a Möbius strip in layers of satin, thin leather, gauzy wool, velvet, and sequins. Tailored shoulders and lapels often morphed into evening dresses below the waist, in saturated combinations of blues and greens, or rusts with oranges and reds.   There’s never just one color here—it’s more like a river of like-minded shades. Ackermann’s tight-sleeved jackets, invariably scrunched up toward the elbows, are a second skin for his fans. They’re equally at home on the back of a motorcycle or out to dinner, worn with narrow, tailored pants or hourglass skirts. Sometimes only one arch lapel showed, for tailoring that mixed materials like leather with satin sleeves, or sliced in the middle with rough-edged wool on top and velvet at the bottom. These were polished with a pair of gauntlet  gloves—a hit this season—and an extra wide, waist-cinching belt.

Junya Watanabe took the biker jacket on a tailoring tour de force, from the hourglass—an echo of Dior’s 1947 “Bar” jacket—to tunics, capes and everything in between. The black leather looks came stiff or supple, and sometimes even fake; nobody seems to care about these things anymore. Watanabe paired the biker mutations with schoolgirl-uniform pleated skirts, of course, and topped them off with wild and wooly fur coats and scarves for gamine rockers. Over at Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo offered her latest take on “hybrid fashion,” which translates as silhouettes that look like a dress on one side and a coat on the other. Particularly beautiful here are the bunched-up silk-scarf dresses, collections of pattern layered like an out-of-control millefeuille.

 

LOOKS BY JEAN PAUL GAULTIER (LEFT) AND CELINE

At a moment where fashion is leaning on sensible classics like some kind of walker, Jean Paul Gaultier let fly with a send-up of the bourgeoisie. His “Bourgeoise Sans Age,” is about those ladies of a certain age for whom an up-do, cardigan, and pearls are de rigeur. Gaultier picked his pal, French comic Valerie Lemercier, to camp it up bourge-style, and what followed looked like a barely-exaggerated snapshot of Paris’s 16th arrondissement, where Parisians still dress like Catherine Deneuve in Belle du Jour. It also looked like they had put everything on at once: jackets over coats over pants, mixed styles and fabrics—about as far away from the flesh bearing of seasons past as can be.

Phoebe Philo’s new minimalism at Céline has been fueling fashion for several seasons now. Philo makes great clothes—notably, this season, her coats—and she throws out a lot of ideas about how to wear the classics everyone has in their wardrobe. So get out the white turtleneck, put it under a graphic patterned sweater, and polish those loafers! Pre-show, Philo described what she’s aiming at as great car design and, it’s true, there is something generic and beyond fashion in these essentials: buttonless tailoring, fencer’s style tops and pants, a panelled skirt in a rainbow of brown leathers. Philo’s Céline is a total rejection of glam, with something almost ’70s about it—in a Glora Steinem way. As Steinem herself has said, “If the shoe doesn’t fit, must we change the foot?”

It’s been a wild season for Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy. First he put Rottweilers all over his men’s collection, and now he’s got black panthers running though his curvaceous womenswear. This is all beautifully made, in intricate combinations of patterns, textures, and beading, but the inspiration is raw. Sweatshirt-like tops and puffy blousons in satin, emblazoned with a menacing  panther and purple jungle blooms, or a Vargas-style pinup with her breasts covered by a censor’s  black slash, show over pencil skirts, some transparent with a second ruffled mini on top in patent leather. Flashy, for sure—and in reserved times, there’s nothing like a little Bettie Page on acid to set the fur flying.