Alessandro Dellacqua’s third collection for Rochas (he took over from Marco Zanini at the end of 2013) this evening marked the house’s 90th anniversary, which meant it was time to dig back into the archives and bring back out some of Marcel Rochas’s favourites and update them.
So out came a swallow print to nod to the 1934 collection dedicated to birds. It took flight on coats and dresses – beaded and black. There was the classic Chantilly lace to make everything Rochas-frothy, pretty and feminine – but this in fact was used more sparingly than we’ve seen before. Instead there was an emphasis on coats with a wartime posterity about them – the Thirties was the decade being brought back to life here. Which made it all rather restrained for a birthday collection – though we had punches of egg-yolk yellow to contrast the shades of brown and last season’s utility belts were given an upgrade to thick, waist-cinching belts.
And for fans of those now signature bejewelled shoes, they came encrusted at the heel this time.
The pop architect Robert Venturi once said, “Less is a bore,” and Jonathan Saunders’s latest collection was a no-holds barred homage to living an amplified life in optimistic technicolor.
Saunders has recently secured investment in his brand, and although most of this collection must have been designed before the cash injection had landed, this was a case of art imitating life; if “life” is sweet and “art” is unfettered joy, that is.
His latest was a complete departure from his last collection. The spring/summer 2015 offering was introspective, conceptual even, and yes, Saunders could be critiqued for inconsistency from one season to the next, but he isn’t interested in repetition and his true talent lies within his ability to shape-shift. Saunders is a generous designer. His collections are offered up with an open vulnerability. If his designs had a catch phrase it would be, “Take me as you find me”, and as such this collection was unmistakably him.
There was that trademark, tense duality between the formalist and the fetishist; the dresses with bracelet sleeves and high-funnel necklines had a prim restraint which was twisted with lace-up, over-the-knee kinky boots. Colour wise this was an ode to outré. The op-art prints were varied and clashing, riffing on a modish Sixties swish. Saunders had been inspired by the artists which he referenced at the beginning of his career: the pop art of Allen Jones and Bridget Reily.
The sound track to the show was George Michael’s Careless Whisper. “I love that song, it makes me happy,” he said backstage. “I went back to thinking about why we do what we do, why I design, and look at my face,” he said, backstage. “I’m happy, that’s what this collection is about. Optimism.”
Jason Wu is a designer who courted a great crowd from the outset – you’ll recall Michelle Obama and a certain inauguration gown. It’s hard not to talk about him without making the reference – such was its career-defining moment, putting him more visibly on the map and plucking him from an overcrowded New York Fashion Week schedule. He continued to court his glamorous troops with Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin among his front row to add a little edge, which was the overall feel that followed in the collection.
These days Wu is moving away from the sensibility he started out with – less gowns fit for a modern-day ball, more utility gloss, a serious working wardrobe with an ultra-luxe overlay. His original Park Avenue princesses have become more fierce in their fashion taste with strong outerwear options (substantial and solid fur gilets and coats, lapel-unfurling jackets, impeccable tailoring as always) and slinky dresses accompanied by a decent flash of leg the mainstay of her wardrobe.
If there’s an event to go to now, she’s more modern in her approach to dressing for it – we could even (in this context and with those dress slits) throw the word risqué out there, though overall this was less the dazzling affair it has been in the past, more edited, streamlined and structured, a sense of the practical and every-day at its core. Which is no bad thing. Wu’s revision of his idea of glamour has simply now just opened him up to more avenues beside Park.
For those of you who don’t know: JOSEPH modernised women. As the sixties drew to a close, Casablanca-born hairdresser Joseph Ettedgui looked out from his salon, a chic King’s Road focal point, and imagined a revolution in the way we buy fashion. With his keen instincts, Joseph created a boutique that was more magazine than clothes shop – somewhere to discover new ideas, new styles and new designers.
Joseph brought Kenzo and Castelbajac to the world’s attention, then as his influence grew he championed Azzedine Alaia and Yohji Yamamoto, chose Norman Foster to design a store, and was the first in London to sell Prada. Even after his own eponymous label was launched to acclaim, Joseph continued to showcase the designers he had discovered and nurtured.
Just as its original stores were places to meet and share ideas, attracting designers, models, editors and photographers, JOSEPH is once again a focus for creativity, somewhere to find inspiration.
At the same time the JOSEPH collection has entered a new phase, drawing renewed strength from the energy around it. Under the creative direction of Louise Trotter, Joseph presents a high contemporary ready-to-wear collection with a strong core of luxury essentials.
On my first day of interning there is always the worry of what on earth do I wear?! For my first day I decided it was better to be over dressed then underdressed seeing as I really had no idea what I was going to be doing. I chose J-brand black trousers, a cute and smart silk top from Whistles and little heel boots from Top-shop. Easy.
The showroom transformed from this:
My role was Showroom Assistant / Wholesale assistant. In this position I was:
Merchandising and remerchandising the new season collections and essentials
Assisting sellers and buys around the showroom
Front of house showroom assistant: meeting clients, keeping rails in order of looks and collections and maintaining the high standards of the showroom by keeping everything neat and tidy.
Dressing models and maintaining the process and consistency of having each of the looks shown to clients in the correct format.
Of course the clothes and looks were absolutely beautiful. Everything I loved and wish I had. Working with Joseph was truly an amazing experience and has taught me so much more about the way that wholesale and buyers work within the fashion industry as well as an insight into Paris Fashion Week.