Paris Is for Princesses

Published October 5, 2011

Louis Vuitton’s spring 2012 show was an onslaught of sweetness and light. The white venue was a giveaway and the LV maids-as-ushers were pristine in off white dresses and aprons. The aprons were an odd touch, but as fashion goes back to classic, perhaps this was a nod to the essence of ladylike.
 
It looked as if Marc Jacobs had dipped into the Tweedledee-Tweedledum chic of Chanel. The collection was literally a merry-go-round of Easter-parade femininity cast in Jordan-almond pastels. Sitting on a larger-than-life carousel, the tiara-ed models took turns around the circular runway in boxy, cropped jackets and drop-waist pouf skirts. Jacobs enlarged lace patterns and mixed in organza, or silk cellophane overlayers which made what was underneath look like a present under wraps. Skirts were treated to accordion kick pleats and some lace dresses were wide striped, or gradated from white to pastels. Diamond-studded eyelet, edged in contrast colors, recalled Indian “shisa” mirror embroidery, and tweed biker jackets were feathered for a Big Bird fluffiness. Often the focal point was the contrast between the shapes and fabrics, like a sweatshirt gone dressy in nylon tulle cashmere. This was all so decorative, one gets the impression Jacobs is having his own kitschy fun gilding the lily just to see how far sugar can go. Tiaras, wishbone necklaces, the new LV Lockit clutch, mirrored basket bags, Mary Jane mules, and powdery pastel crocodile pumps, or full on Easter-egg croc suits, are sure to bring out the Barbara Cartland within.
 
Froth and pearlized iridescence was in everything from the pastel from short shorts to the undulating, jellyfish stripes on shiny white skirts in the undersea world of Chanel, presented on a bed of colorless sand amidst giant, ghostly pale sea creatures at the Grand Palais. Karl Lagerfeld got fishy with the dresses, some covered with iridescent scales; and tailoring had a standaway stiffness in wet, ocean-sprayed fabrics. Lagerfeld softened up with dirndl skirts and drop-waist poufs; and the Chanel jacket is standaway, like a bolero in back, with a long front—a clever juxtaposition to whittle the waist. Frothy 3D lace has a seaweed look, and halter tops made from transparent strips of flesh-tone organza recall jellyfish. The show’s only ha-ha came afterwards when more than a few chic derrieres left the venue covered in a white film. How the powdery sand got on the seats is anyone’s guess.