The house of Rykiel has gone through a lot of change lately. It has a relatively new creative director, April Crichton; new owners (Hong-Kong based Fung Brands just purchased an 80 percent stake in the company last week); and a new look. The only problem is that the clothes were missing all the color, humor and Parisian, girly fun we love the brand for. Instead, the collection featured pared-down sportswear staples including skirt and trouser suits in a neutral color palette of black, ivory, nude and apricot — not a single bright-colored, striped sweater in sight. Sonia sat front row, as always — her hair adding a much-needed shock of red to the setting. But her spunk was sadly missing on the runway. Let’s just hope that the new regime doesn’t lose the DNA of the brand she built.
Haider Ackermann has been on an unstoppable creative streak that heightens with each collection. His Saturday morning show took place against a backdrop of rumors that he would be getting the creative director job at Christian Dior. And based on the clothes he showed, which were an incredible thesis on the art of jaw-dropping garment construction, he could handle the role of couturier with no problem. He showed complex outerwear with curved, sinewy lines that demanded to be studied at every angle. Some came with elaborately gathered peplums, others with beautifully draped backs. These were clothes to be collected as contemporary art —but also to be worn. And that’s ultimately what makes jaded editors give him a standing ovation as they did on Saturday. Haider’s work is artful, complicated and high-brow, without over-intellectualizing things. The clothes ultimately do what most women want clothes to do: make them feel long, lean and beautiful. That’s the kind of skill that can only be developed with time.
Givenchy is always one of the most anticipated shows of Paris. Riccardo Tisci didn’t disappoint with a collection inspired by the equestrian world and the work of photographer Guy Bourdin. Forget the sexless, tweedy hunting set — Tisci’s horsey theme was racy with an S&M sensibility. There were riding jackets cinched tight; riding boots, jodhpur pants and furs (from a successful hunt, maybe?) teamed with leather gloves running high beyond the elbow and hinting toward a different kind of horseplay. All that was missing was the whip. What followed were pleated skirts, camisoles and cocktail dresses with lace applique in striking colors such as blood red and sage green.