June 24, 2014 Paris
In an age of neoprene and laser-cut leather, faille is the type of polished, classic fabric that harks back to the days when Carven's founder, Carmen de Tommaso, would have been designing chic ready-to-wear for soigné Parisians. So to hear Guillaume Henry describe a coat as "faille technique" was to understand his sensitivity to the past and the possibilities of the present. More to the point, he gave this offering an overall zing in a way you don't normally associate with the brand, owing largely to color (pylon orange) and material blocking (sporty black inserts that curved from the chest down each arm in a single panel per side). Henry was sufficiently seduced by this moto-meets-mademoiselle juxtaposition to propose it again elsewhere, applying an athletic collar to a slim, cropped graphic jacket offset by a flirty kick skirt, and showing an athletic-inspired dress with sloped raglan sleeves fronted by a sweet springtime flower. Even the Carven logo morphed from the cursive script of seasons past to aerodynamic, sans-serif all-caps, giving the brand name a forward (if slightly less personable) thrust. If a sleeker statement was Henry's goal, a slim-line navy dress that looked like two pieces (thanks to a strategic cutout at the back waistline) was his winning look. And as much as sneakers are a prerequisite today (the ones here were printed), the sixties-era bourgeois flats proved he didn't get stuck in a sporty rut. Sacrificing some of the throwback femininity allows Henry to catch up to his ever-evolving ingenues, which possibly accounts for the broader logo presence—a streamlined Carven is one that is proudly worn.
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