Anne Valérie Hash has that masculine/feminine thing down pat. For many seasons, her faithful have gathered to observe what she'll do next with her obsessive deconstructions of a man's suit. True, she has developed beyond her first extremes, in which trousers could be inverted as tops and jackets could become pants. For a couple of seasons, she's brought pretty fabrics into play too, making her assemblages more approachable and less self-consciously avant-garde. But while young designers who take care to develop a consistent look should be credited, there comes a point at which a talent needs to show signs of moving on.
For spring, Hash worked semitransparent gypsy skirts, layered tulle dresses, and Victoriana jackets into her mix. Some of these pieces had substance and a design quality that looked believably saleable. Others had the inconsequential air of fragments from a stylist's box of tricks, pulled out just for the show. These were the elements brought in to update Hash's more-predictable tailoring forays, like jackets with the sleeves and one front hacked off, the lining exposed on the other side. The trouble is that Hash appears to have got stuck in her groove. Much of the ground she is covering has already been explored by Belgium's first generation of deconstructionists. If she's to continue drawing attention in a competitive world, Hash needs to start cutting free from her own habits.
Fall 2004 Couture
Anne Valérie Hash
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