It’s Paris Fashion Week Theater – Send in the Clowns

Paris Fashion Week Circus Theater - Pretty Cripple dressed as Maison Margiela models

If I wanted to see fashion theater, a theatrical production showing new styles, I would see Cindy Lauper’s “Kinky Boots” on Broadway, once again. Viewing Paris Fashion Week, I watched gratuitous loads of overly stylized, over-the-top productions.

Way too many brands staged highly conceptualized shows highlighting unlimited artistic expression by the stylists. The result was hair, makeup and staging which overshadowed the clothing. What exactly were the designers selling? Clothing? Hair/makeup, music, front-row celebrity image making? As a fashion viewer, I was entertained, but confused.

Surely, I love spectacles and new ideas, but this trend was excessive. Sadly, the fashion world is lacking direction and is desperately seeking relevancy by incorporating outlandish styling and million dollar productions in their shows. Don’t blame the designers since they must placate their corporate backers and customers. Due to the pace set by fast fashion, designers are pressured to deliver collections year round at frequent intervals. This pace leads to design burn-out and consumer ennui.

An example of unnecessary antics was John Galliano’s collection for Maison Margiela. The collection wasn’t my favorite, but the styling stood out. I burst out laughing when I saw the models with their Spazzy-Modo-look (Quasimodo’s inbred relative), dragging their gangly limbs down the catwalk, shoulders hunched, clutching paper bags like bag ladies, swim caps tucked under inside-out wigs and neon punk clown makeup. Thumbs up to Pat McGrath’s clever makeup styling, but, really, was this necessary?

Maison Margiela models from Paris Fashion Week March 2015

Maison Margiela models – Photo: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com via Style.com

Other shows with styling and or sets which detracted from the clothing were Givenchy, Chanel, Valentino, Saint-Laurent, Anrealage, Undercover and Sonia Rykiel to name a few. Just an aside-Karl, we get that Chanel has more money than God, but why did you feel compelled to stage your show in a recreated Parisian bistro, replete with handsome waiters passing Champagne?

Designers are always trying to communicate a visual story, but sometimes the story becomes tarnished with extraneous visual devices. In most cases, simplicity and great editing are more engaging. Alexander Wang’s Balenciaga collection was in my top five. The clothing was beautifully executed. He studied the designer’s archives, and reinterpreted the signature Balenciaga cocoon shape and stand up collars with a dangerous edge. The danger was in the metal staples placed in the seams, small razor blades sewn together and diamante pins, which resembled daggers pierced into jackets. Most thrilling was Wang’s choice to start the collection with avant-garde music group, Laibach’s menacing, trumpeting “Jerzero Der See” track, which jumpstarted my adrenaline.

Watch the Balenciaga Paris Fashion Week 2015 runway video.

In contrast to Wang’s show was one that made me utter, “My God, the fashion designer-cum-celebrity is so arbitrary. Why the hell is everyone talking about this collection? Haven’t we seen this a million times?” Hedi Slimane has been Saint-Laurent’s anointed designer since March 2012 and to his credit helped double their revenue from $387 million to $787 million in 2014. But his collection for Fall 2015 in Paris made me wonder, why is the effete punk trend being recreated YET AGAIN? Do I really need a $3K dress that looks like it was found in a bin at Forever 21? Torn leather pants, ripped stockings and tutus? For whatever reason, the marketing and black and white ads resonate with 20-somethings because they are buying it. Who are these 20-somethings who can afford Saint-Laurent? Aren’t they supposed to be unemployed and defaulting on their college loans?

Saint Laurent Paris Fashion Week 2015

Saint Laurent –  Photo: Gianni Pucci / Indigitalimages.com via Style.com.

For a hot minute, I’ll subdue my snark. There were quite a few inspiring collections which made my fingers tingle. I gleefully created a few storyboards to share with you.

Looks from Paris Fashion Week 2015 Fall

Left: Anrealage – photo by Yannis Vlamos/indigitalimages.com; Yang Li – Marcus Tondo indigitalimages.com; AF Vandevorst – photo courtesy of AF Vandevorst all via Style.com.

Coats from Paris Fashion Week 2015 RTW

Left: Chanel – photo by Alessandro Lucioni via thecut.com; Issey Miyake – Photo: Alessandro Garofalo / Indigitalimages.com; Junya Watanabe – Photo: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com via Style.com.

details of coats from Paris Fashion Week RTW 2015 March

Details from my favorite coats.

Miu Miu shoes from Paris Fashion week 2015 for RTW March

Miu Miu shoes. Is there such a thing as a shoe polygamist? Because I think that is what I am.  I have lusty thoughts about 5 patently lovely ladies and want to make good. I will buy them all and we will live happily shoe-after. Photo: Gianni Pucci / Indigitalimages.com via Style.com.

The take-away on Paris Fashion Week? We are overloaded with sensory stimulation and the availability of everything. So what makes my Paris check list? Do I want black? Plenty of it. Do I want something original with tech fabric feats and retooled mash-ups? Thank you, Japanese designers. Need to wrap yourself in a blanket? Thanks, Céline, for making the blankie chic. Do I dare take a Yoga class where every über competitive suburban mom will down-dog me since I am wearing Paco Rabanne instead of LuluLemon? Possibly. This much I know, it will cost me six months’ salary to look good, but, boy, it’s worth it. The sad news is that Forever 21 will still be around.

Looks from Paris Fashion Week 2015 RTW March

Left: Paco Rabanne – Photo: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com; Sacai photo by: Kim WestonArnold / Indigitalimages.com; Celine – photo by Monica Feudi /Indigitalimages all via Style.com

Fashionable vintage swim cap in orange with flowers

Oh my God, I can’t believe I found a cool swim cap to replace my usual $300 cloche hats. This rubber number set me back $4. Swimoutlet.com.

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5 Comments

  1. Hi, you have a nice rubber latex fetish. Your rubber swim cap looks very good!
    Regards, Thorsten from Germany

    • Hi Thorsten, I would not call it a ‘rubber fetish’ but a love of acting like an idiot and trying to make the most colorful, ridiculous, engaging posts I can. Thanks for your feedback. Magdalena

  2. I don’t own many bags, but fortunately I own the best one ever. My friend Lisa gave me this one Christmas, and it has been my favorite go-to clutch ever since. Listen clown, take it off the head and use it as a purse. (And in orange of course.)

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