8 posts tagged "Didier Ludot"
It’s been nearly two decades since the fashion world has caught a glimpse of Claude Montana. But the reclusive designer showed up and lingered last night at Didier Ludot’s cocktail party in the Palais Royal, where the vintage guru is now displaying his private stash of Montana pieces. The idea to showcase Montana came naturally, Ludot noted. “He lives in the neighborhood so I see him every day, and it occurred to me that it would be an interesting switch from what I usually show—the Dior, Balenciaga, and Schiaparelli.” Montana’s recasting of sporty pieces in hyper-luxury materials was revolutionary at the time, he added, recalling a purple mink tracksuit from one show. Among Ludot’s treasures: a one-off absinthe and mustard-colored mink coat Montana designed for his late wife Wallis, a be-gloved and be-feathered black bodysuit, and a short, Lesage-embroidered couture dress from his controversial stint at Lanvin in the early nineties, a piece that Ludot scored only last Friday.
Montana, who recently published a retrospective of his career, recalled the agony of designing that couture dress: “The studio director didn’t understand what I wanted, so there was lots of back and forth,” he said. “There are so many memories in these windows, it’s touching.” Ludot concluded, “I think of Montana’s place in fashion as a bit like what Hervé Van der Straeten is to design now—extremely refined but also modern.” As to potential Montana heirs among fashion’s current crop, Ludot said, “I’m keeping an eye on Alexandre Vauthier and Maxime Simoens because they have the sensibility and they can do couture. And I saw something by Gareth Pugh the other day and I thought, ‘That could have been Montana.’ “
Season in, season out, vintage couture dealer Didier Ludot creates a fashion week happening by displaying selected couture pieces in his Palais Royal shop windows, often highlighting a young designer’s work along the way. This season, the vintage guru takes a slightly different tack, rifling through the work of artist Thierry Bruet for a selection of paintings of fashion’s demimonde, rendered with a slightly cynical edge and a knowing wink. No surprise here; Bruet modeled for Saint Laurent back in the day, so he’s met a character or two.
“I love Thierry’s work—it’s so caustic and insolent,” says Ludot, who owns several pieces. Together, the two assembled a collection of art and fashion to go with it: sky blue and almond green Dior couture pieces from 1968 offset the painting Fashion Week (pictured), and a 1966 Chanel couture suit with a grosgrain bustier keeps company with a portrait of Mademoiselle Chanel at a certain age. An eclectic quartet—a 1937 silk velvet dress by Lanvin, a 1959 tulle dress by Saint Laurent for Dior, a 1963 Balenciaga dress in red gazar with matching cape, and a 1970 orange dress by Courrèges—stand before the artist’s sly ode to vanity, a portraitist rendering a lady in red much younger and more beautiful than she is. Part of the game is recognizing characters drawn from real life (legendary Bazaar editor Carmel Snow, for example), but even the sharpest eyes may not register that Bruet’s work crops up all over town: His bestiaries regularly grace the windows of the Hermès flagship, and selected portraits hang in the bar of the Shangri-La and the spa at the Bristol.
As 80th birthday parties go, few we’ve heard of were better attended than the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso’s. Clever staging, involving displays of 50 movements used for the watch, a gallery of exceptional timepieces, and artisans demonstrating their craft, were all on view for guests, but they were slightly overshadowed however by the arrival of megawatt fans like Clive Owen, Adrien Brody, Catherine Deneuve, and brand ambassadress Diane Kruger.
For the fashion crowd, the evening offered a break from Couture preparations. What to expect from the haute week? The hints they provided point to a sassy revision of the classics. Maxime Simoens, for one, is tackling vampires—Nosferatu, to be precise. Alexis Mabille said he was polishing a sartorial take on beloved French verses and compiling a collection of ten L.B.D.s’ for Guerlain’s rollout of La Petite Robe Noire fragrance this fall.
Speaking of which, vintage guru Didier Ludot, the owner of a boutique specializing in the L.B.D., is putting the final touches on his traditional windows, which are unveiled at an event at the Palais Royal on Sunday. But this time it’s not exactly about a couturier; it’s about the first of the truly great French chefs, François Vatel, who served Louis XIV. Still, the Couture connection is there: For one thing, Christian Dior once penned a book called La Cuisine Cousu-Main (“Handsewn Cuisine”), inspired by his fascination with eighteenth-century gastronomy. “The gestures are the same, and the desire to astonish is the same,” explained Ludot. “Louis XIV consumed 8,000 calories a day, so there was a real mise-en-scène, with fireworks and sprays of water.” The display features five exceptional Dior dresses from Ludot’s collection alongside Ladurée pastries created especially in the spirit of each one—interestingly, not a single macaron among them.