PRÊT-À-PORTER FALL 2012
The Prêt-à-Porter is a busy time, especially for designers, so I felt lucky to schedule a studio visit with Bill Gaytten, creative director at John Galliano, for a preview of Fall 2012. His atelier is amazing–a soaring space, housed in a former doll factory in the 20th arrondissement. And I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see his collection a day before it came down the runway. I wish I could do this all the time–it’s the perfect way to get double exposure.
Bill told me his inspiration this season was an ode to the 19th-century British artist, Aubrey Beardsley. Decadent, dark and sexy were the words he used to describe the collection, which also had an undercurrent of l’équestrienne : riding jackets, breeches and some fabulous feathered hats by Stephen Jones.
It was great to see each garment “up close and personal,” in such an intimate presentation. The preview also provided a new and exciting perspective on the collection, and made the clothes come alive on the catwalk the next day.
The show opened with models wearing short riding jackets and not much else–just leggings and stiletto boots or shoes, topped off with elaborate hats that made everything look finished, but sexy. And there were lots of capes, including one built into the shoulders of a gown, which was rather chic.
One coat I’d seen in the preview, made of hundreds of small, leather points, was a real winner; but my favorite was a sheer, high-necked Victorian gown in pale blue, below. It was sexy, chic and understated, all at the same time.
The show was full of drama: the models started out in day clothes (perhaps heading off for an afternoon ride?), but then gradually changed into sexy gowns for their evening soirées. And the darkened set, with absolutely no frills, provided a perfect opportunity to focus on the clothes. So I did!
Photographs by Stéphane Israël