paris fashion week: guy laroche

(images via style)

as i think i’ve said in previous seasons, although i’m not, like, intimately familiar with the french house of guy laroche and its current designer, marcel marongiu, over the past handful of seasons (see s/s 2012, a/w 2012, s/s 2013), i’ve come to appreciate its chic, effeminate, and eminently french sensibilities, even if it will perhaps never top paris fashion week as, like, the most flash of the pack. but that’s okay, too, as there are different types of high fashion customer.

i’ve also said (and this particularly as i’ve gotten older) that i’ve a great appreciation for labels that transcend just the season at hand, and offer us pieces that have life beyond the moment. it doesn’t mean they have to be utterly dull or black, only that, yannow, it doesn’t have all the trends of the moment glittered up and onto a single piece, although i can also understand that this might be very compelling to see. anyway, for the upcoming fall, i believe mr. marongiu fairly nicely delivered a blend of pieces for the varying parts of a woman’s day.

in other words, in lieu of picking particularly directional dressing, as we’ve been seeing a lot of these days, whether it be for, like, the red carpet or the club alone, the designer allowed for his girls to get both dressy and more casual, sexified and sober, with a lot of lovely tailored separates that sometimes came (and this certainly was a nod to more seasonal dressing) in some especially bright pops of colour, like amethyst and magenta. but for all of the flash and glitter (and there was some!), i’d say he was at his best when cutting the navy pantsuit worn by ava smith, for example.

other standout items (to me, at least) were the textured (it sort of looked like a mass of roses) black top and smart pants worn by patrycja gardygajo, and for evening, cora emmanuel’s gorgeous black long-sleeved cocktail dress blinged-up with some almost bondage-y criss-crossing crystals along the bodice. and of course catherine mcneil’s vest-like sleeveless navy dress, with a bit of (was that faux fur?) texture along one lapel. and on the saltier side, i liked alex yuryeva’s shining black snakeskin print suit, as well (and alana zimmer’s mesh dress, although i honestly don’t know where that could have a life outside the catwalk).

and so with that, shall we hear with the critics have to say, then, as well? i’m sure this collection will incite some passionate commentary, which should be interesting. thus with that, according to the ap, “‘(i)It’s the story of women, women who don’t need men,’ says Guy Laroche’s designer Marcel Marongiu of his revealing, even kinky, [show]…See-through lingerie shifts, rock-and-roll leather and even fierce bondage straps moved on quite dramatically from the classical codes of the house. The sumptuous evening wear was still here though, served up with a bang in shocking pink and purple silk gowns, and several looks in blinding navy rhinestone.”

“‘It’s taken some time as Guy Laroche is such a famous name, but this is now the real me you’re seeing,’ said Marongiu,” they continued. “His mind seems to be an overly busy place. He cited the style of Jimi Hendrix and Prince as inspirations — seen in the revealing sexuality of exposed nipples. Less obvious in Paris was the reference in the program notes to the the androgyny of 1940s Marlene Dietrich. Men’s tailoring in jackets and aviation gear, such as some large shearling bombers, did, however, get some of the male-female message across. And there were some great statement bombers, another nod to the fall trend: coats as the new accessory.”

meanwhile, wwd related that “(h)is show notes emphasized the contradictory ideas of ‘fierce femininity’ and ‘radical masculinity,’ which came together in an incongruous clash. Robust outerwear, such as boxy shearlings with lots of zipper details and a single, elegant cape, made sense — the look has been current for a while, and Marongiu’s offer was as good as any. But the rest of the lineup jumped from leather wrap dresses to a draped-sleeve blouse and trousers in monochromatic purple to harness tops worn under suits and sometimes plastered with chunky embroideries for evening.”

“It was all about le femme fatale at Marcel Marongiu’s show for Guy Laroche at Paris’ Grand Palais,” declared fashion week daily. “To set the tone, a black knee-length dress with a dangerously high slit and harness-like leather detailing at the top worn with a suede and fur accented moto jacket opened the show. Strappy leather harness bras were a recurrent theme, like a navy pantsuit look worn with nothing underneath but tough-chic lingerie. For evening, sequins surfaced, often paired with wide leg black pants. The contrasting male/female theme continued with full-on fuchsia trou paired with biker-inflected toppers, like a cropped moto or sleeveless zippered wool coat-vest.”

“Vibrant purple was another color that popped on pieces like a silk necktie-framed blouse with big ruched sleeves worn with matching flared pants, thus nailing that pervasive ’70s vibe du season,” they carried on. “Of particular note: Marongiu outdid himself with some of the outerwear pieces. Also on offer: a navy cape dress with high armholes and ponyhair storm flaps, or a leather jacket with exaggerated, layered lapels (also sporting hints of ponyhair) are exquisite interpretations of the cape or leather jacket themes, for those trying to wade through the sea of options this season. Chicly ferocious!”

then we heard the examiner chime in that, similarly to what i’ve said above, “I don’t want you to think I have lost my mind completely but this was a collection in the truest sense of the word and I think it has really redefined what a total collection should look like. There were day clothes, both of the more conventional and of the trendier, there were feminine and tough looks, brights and seasonal black, the de rigeur black leather and most of all it was not boring. It surely had its own brand of chic, sexy and soigne qualities.”

and, finally, there was style, reflecting that the range “found designer Marcel Marongiu putting a noirish spin on frank sex appeal. Marongiu’s stated inspiration this season was Marlene Dietrich and her seductive and very womanly way of wearing men’s clothing. For the most part, Dietrich’s presence in this collection was subliminal—you caught her in the suiting emphasis, and in Marongiu’s range of very polished aviator jackets. But the overall vibe here eschewed Dietrich’s trademark insouciance in favor of a more straightforward and emphatic femme fatale aesthetic. Draped leather and camo-print dresses with forties silhouettes featured plunging V-necks and/or slits up to there. Tie-neck blouses came with high-drama, billowing sleeves and were paired with A-line trousers with legs for days.”

“And then there were the mesh dresses and the halters. Aside from Marongiu’s iffy proposition that women wear leather or crystal halters plain, as tops, the really odd thing about this show was how many of the looks seemed to have wandered in from another collection entirely,” they concluded. “The fuchsia ensembles, for example, had a clean look and sporty mien that were out of whack with the rest of the clothes, while the pieces in a black, rosette-textured technical fabric were winsome and romantic, and likewise felt out of place. Yet these were some of the stronger groups for Guy Laroche this season, which suggests that Marongiu would do well to ease up on his looks. A little intensity goes a long way.” yes. it does. fabulous.

(watch the full fashion show video here)

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