Haute Couture Fall/Winter 19/20
A Story in three chapters: Chapter 1: Day
For this collection, I wanted to offer a complete image for the woman as she moves through her day and life, and from the realm of the practical into the realm of dreams. This first chapter offers a vision of compelling and authoritative daywear, one that mixes menswear-inspired tailoring with more fantastic elements often associated with evening wear: wool suits with beaded wool bibs, for example. These unlikely juxtapositions give the looks a sense of friction and, I hope, provoke ideas about how and why we wear what we do.
The other thing we concentrated on was the development of new fabrics and techniques, which continues a tradition begun by Mme. Schiaparelli. One of the innovations, which you’ll see throughout this collection, is particularly illustrated in the looks made in an overdyed silk faille. The faille is dyed by hand in small batches and then beaten to destroy the fabric’s natural character and texture, which changes the texture and toothiness of the material. In destroying the fabric’s natural grain, it transforms it into something unexpected and revelatory.
These first looks were inspired by interiors: the green velvet sofas in the GrandHotel Milano; a gray wool sofa against a burgundy wall. Each look is meant to be an exercise in tonality, a contrast of deep, rich colors, as well as an expression of what the modern uniform should be: something familiar made anew.Then, the palette changes to a wide range of nudes, partnered with saffron, navy, and black for a distinct take on neutrals. The focus is on the body and its transformations, but here I’ve played more with dimensions and ideas of the natural and the mutant: What happens when the body gets embellished?
I was particularly inspired by Jack Whitten’s unsettling, techno-primitive sculptures and Sarah Lucas’s stuffed stockings sculptures, which offer both a wink to and a rejection of the idea of conventional femininity. You can see an homage to Whitten in this chapter’s Deco-inspired embellishments, and another to Lucas in our re-interpretation of the stirrup pant, which is offered in three variations. Throughout, dimensions and tropes of “men’s” and “women’s” designs are upended and teased, especially in the case of the tailored jacket, which is cut for a woman and blooms with a froth of tulle.
Look 1: Gathered-back jacket in navy fresco wool with a tulle back and trompe l’oeil necklace embroidery.
The stocking pant is in nude fresco wool with black satin and organza, and the balaclava is embroidered with crystals.
Look 2: Gathered-sleeve top in double organza; the bandeau is black suede. They’re paired with a nude pleated wool skirt.
Look 3: Gathered-back coat in navy wool twill with gold leaf leather trim, worn with a beaded knit bib.
The gold ribbon is a recreation of a vintage Schiaparelli belt from the Lesage archives. The stocking pant is done here in overdyed lace.
Look 4: Draped-back top in saffron overdyed silk faille with frayed edges. with 80,000 crystals to create the embroidered stocking pant.
Look 5: Navy cashmere coat with a flared sleeve and alligator-skin trim worn over a navy cashmere knit top.
Long trouser in coordinating navy silk satin.
Look 6: Corset-back burgundy pencil dress with silk tulle overlay and tonal lizard-skin details. The corset is closed not with lacing, but rather Velcro tabs.
Look 7: Trench in lichen-green mackintosh fabric with overdyed tonal silk faille sleeves and snakeskin details.
The coat is accompanied by a coordinating compact knit turtleneck sweater and a long wool trouser.
Look 8: Tank dress in yellow ostrich with jet bead embroidery, worn with matching gloves. The gathered belt is black lambskin. For this look, we embroidered each follicle of the ostrich with black bugle beads, replacing one ornamentation—feathers—with another, and thereby emphasizing the skin’s natural variations.
Look 9: Wrap skirt in black box calfskin with a beaded edge, paired with a black cashmere knit top and a python necklace rendered in absinthe-colored crystals. Here we’ve embroidered bugle beads onto the edge of the skin to highlight its natural contours.
Chapter 2: Night
Now the woman has moved into night. But her interpretation of night is both figuratively and literally dark, an unlikely marriage of Deco and twisted Surrealism; Brutalism and glamour. I wanted these looks to feel almost “anti-design.”
Chapter 3: Dreamtime
After day, after night, a third time of our life begins. Dreamtime is not day, not night; not practical, not romantic; not logical, not replicable. It is where we go when our mind wanders, when we forget the rules of how we’re supposed to live, think, create, and
see. In this time, we surrender to the intuitive, to the emotional.
This chapter is a tribute to the sheer fantasy—of expression, of imagination—of fashion, and to the heights of joyfulness and exuberance it can reach. Artistically, it’s a time in which self-consciousness and self-awareness fall away, in which I can create simply for the pleasure of creating. But the clothes also speak to the pure, unselfconscious pleasure of wearing fashion, of dress-up, of adornment. The result—a delirious marriage of color and jewels—is also an homage to the special intimacy that exists between designer and wearer, and how together, they can both share in the same unlikely dream.
July 1, 2019