Nicolas Ghesquière’s Game of Colors

This is Nicolas Ghesquière’s second collection for Louis Vuitton, so I was excited to see what he would come up with next in his resort 2015 collection. Resort is one of the most important collections of the season because it stays in stores the longest. This is also one of its pitfalls: it has to incorporate elements that blend in with almost any season. In other words – designers, proceed with caution. 

It soon became clear that Ghesquière elaborated on his Fall 2014 collection for resort.The ghost of the 60s was most certainly haunting the runway, with a trail of miniskirts, A-line hems, and pointy toes as specters of the past. But the 60s wasn’t the only theme interestingly. The collection still maintained a sort of je ne sais quoi of the future, with daring combinations of colors, prints, and silhouettes. Here, for example:

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See what I mean? The skirt is short, with an unconventional hemline and print. The shoes are Mary Janes, emblems of innocence and tradition, but here they couldn’t be more sexy and confident. And the top has a vintage, almost 50s feel contrasted with a futuristic zipper, neckline, and cut-out.

And the suits! They were perfect. Period.

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Of course, I’m not sure I could pull off this print head to toe, but only one piece would make a significant impact (and cheer you up for the day!).

Ghesquière was strongest when he designed minimally. In this way, his dresses were simple, yet complex. The prints and colors were unconventional and the materials as well. These were two of my favorites: 


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Prediction: they’ll be everywhere this coming season.

Ghesquière also captured the legacy of Helmut Newton with this dress: 

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The black and white is a Newton classic, referencing his provocative,  erotically charged black-and-white photos. The colorful granny neon panties meanwhile – Burberry Spring 2014 flashback – bring the look to life. Perhaps I’m over interpreting, but it seems as if Ghesquière is implying that we often miss the life, and essence of the past. I know I often forget that the world wasn’t actually black and white when I’m looking at vintage photographs (duh! but not at the same time). 

All in all, I think the Resort collection’s first look well summarizes Ghesquière position at Louis Vuitton for the moment: sophisticated, colorful, innovative, and unexpected with just the right dash of expected. 

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The mini logo (look closely) is a nod to Louis Vuitton’s legacy. This is one of the very few cases I’ve seen where a logo on a shirt is not tacky! An impressive feat.

I’m looking forward to see what Ghesquière will concoct next. With the powerful platform and expansive influence that is synonymous with Louis Vuitton, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ushers in a new era of retail-friendly futuristic clothing. Cheers to what’s next in fashion.

xoxo,

Chiara

Charles James: Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears a Crown

The Met Gala has come and gone, and with it, a flurry of best and worst dressed lists, gossip, interviews, and advertising. It is one of the most prominent events on the social calendar of the year, but somehow, the message or theme behind the gala itself is almost never mentioned. This year it was Charles James; often referred to as “America’s First Couturier”. And yes, he totally deserves that prestigious title, so I’ve decided to dedicate my post to this great fashion designer and innovator. 

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I have to be honest: I had never heard Charles James’ name before until a few months ago. So why is this relatively unknown man (unless you really know your fashion history of course 😉 ) credited behind many of this last century’s most important movements in fashion? Dior even credited him with the New Look!

He was born in 1906 in Britain, was sent to the Harrow School, promptly expelled for a “sexual escapade”, and opened his first hat shop under the name “Charles Boucheron” in Chicago at the age of 19. Two years later, he left Chicago for Long Island with the huge sum of 70 cents under his name and a few (wonderful) hats as his only possessions and opened a hat shop once again in Queens, NY. There, he also began designing his first clothes. 

But where did he learn to sew? He spent a bit of time in Paris studying, but he was in fact primarily self-taught. Cue the awe

James regarded fashion as art, and treated it as such. He ignored the fashion seasons and reworked on his designs as he saw fit. I cannot imagine any designer in his right mind doing that now (unless you’re a fashion conglomerate like Zara or Brandy Melville, but they are hardly haute-couture). 

The design of his creations is simply superb, and I’m sure they look even more stunning in real life:

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That, my friends, is fashion’s answer to the Last Supper.

Look at the back of this dress:

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The draping is perfect (and the photography!):

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But James’ perfectionism, the trait that brought him stardom, also proved to be his Achilles heel. He lost most of his money, his wife left him, and Karl Lagerfeld even remarked with his usual unflinching candor that “He was a tiny little midget with dyed hair – the most unpleasant man I ever met. I think he was his own worst enemy”. In the fall of 1978, James fell ill, and as Vogue writes “he kept the ambulance men waiting as he finished primping his face and tenue [..], ‘it may not mean anything to you’, James told them as they waited to take him to the hospital, ‘but I am what is popularly regarded as the greatest couturier in the Western world'”. He died later that night. 

So I hope that next time you read an article about the Met Gala or just scan a best / worst dressed list, you remember Charles James, and notice his ghost lurking behind those beautiful dresses worn this year.

xoxo,

Chiara

p.s. My personal favorite of the Met Gala was Suki Waterhouse’s Burberry dress. Also, if you want to check out Charles James creations in real life, head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC – there’s an exhibit featuring his work running until August!