August 20 2014

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2 posts tagged "Paquin"

What’s Old Is New Again?


Following Paris’ couture week earlier this month, there was a general wringing of hands: Whither couture? With a reduced show schedule, Givenchy moving from the runway to an appointment-only salon, and critics like Cathy Horyn decreeing that “Couture is slipping off people’s radars faster than a U.F.O.,” it’s enough to send métier seamstresses running to update their résumés.

What to do? Adapt. That’s what Worth and Paquin, two of couture’s most storied houses, are doing, with fall entries into ready-to-wear—with their traditions, the designers insist, firmly in hand.

For couture, Worth designer Giovanni Bedin showed corseted, “shell-like” redingote coat-dresses overlaid in gold lace and jewels or lavish flora—precursors, as it turns out, to the return of the line (which is known as Courtworth in the U.S.) to ready-to-wear. “We’ll be keeping the ideas, fabrics, and shapes, but expanding them to ready-to-wear,” Bedin noted. The lavish Elizabeth I-inspired dresses are indicative of his direction, a pastiche of historical references but “with more modern details.” (The dresses previewed left and below are from Worth’s Fall ’10 RTW collection.) The launch coincides with a trip into house fragrance archives, too: An updated version of the 1932 scent Je Reviens will be unveiled at Harrods’ Perfume Diaries exhibition in August.

Unlike Worth, which has continued through recent years, the house of Paquin has been shuttered for half a century. But now under the designer and perfumer Libertin Louison, the label is preparing to reenter the market, first with fragrance (updated versions of two 1939 scents, Ever After and 9×9) and then fashion. “Jeanne Paquin was a true avant-garde designer,” says Louison. “She was the first to organize shows in unusual places, like a race track, and the first designer to travel to New York to show her wares. She knew what she wanted, and a century ago—before Chanel—she succeeded as a businesswoman in a man’s world.” He’ll channel the founder’s spirit with “simple, pure clothes with close attention to detail.” (An exclusive sketch of one of his designs for the revived label is below.) Continue Reading “What’s Old Is New Again?” »

Knock-Down, Drag-Out Glamour At London’s Audrey Hepburn Sale Preview


When Kerry Taylor previewed her Audrey Hepburn auction in Paris, 2,000 people showed up, including Hubert de Givenchy, who’d designed most of the dresses on display. Taylor introduced a little crowd control for Monday’s London preview—you had to buy a £10 catalog before you got in the door—but if the turnout was substantially smaller, it was just as avid. No surprises there: Given Hepburn’s unimpeachable style icon status, who could resist the opportunity to own the black cloque silk dress she wore in Paris When It Sizzles, or the Chantilly lace cocktail dress from How to Steal a Million (minus, unfortunately, the lace mask that accompanied it in the film), or a ravishing organza evening gown, embroidered with blue floral sprays? With its estimate of £4,000-6,000, this last item seemed a snip, though Taylor optimistically insisted her conservative pricing would invariably be blown out of the water during Tuesday’s auction.

It’s inevitable when you’re contemplating the wardrobe of a woman like Hepburn that a dozen poignant intimacies rear their tiny little heads. She was wearing the Elizabeth Arden cocktail dress—absolutely flawless after nearly 60 years—when she met her first husband, Mel Ferrer, at a party for her breakthrough film Roman Holiday in London in 1952. The ivory satin wedding dress, also from 1952, was designed by the Fontana sisters for what would have been her first wedding, to James (later Lord) Hanson. After she called it off, she instructed the Fontanas to pass the dress on to “someone who couldn’t ever afford a dress like mine, the most beautiful, poor Italian girl you can find.” A gown in printed summer crepe, which Hepburn may have bought when she was filming Breakfast at Tiffany’s, had tiny cigarette burns, a reminder of a lifelong bad habit. “Buy a dress like that and you become part of its story,” vintage guru Steven Philip of Rellik murmured. He was also taken by the other lots in Taylor’s auction, which include a collection of proto-supermodel Marie Helvin’s Oldfields, Ossies, Prices, and Alaïas from the eighties; a rare and precious handful of Bill Gibb’s spectacular knitwear from the seventies; and some evening dresses by the likes of Balenciaga and Paquin, which backed up Philip’s claim that what people are looking for in vintage now is proper knock-down, drag-out glamour. Eyeballing a luscious Madame Grès in turquoise chiffon, he said, “No one knows how to do it properly now, so you have to go back to the past.”