Friday, 27 August 2010

And so God created The Lady

Who could resist the appeal of Lara Stone striding elegantly through the Louvre, against a backdrop of huge fountains and French cinema, on the Louis Vuitton runway? “And so God created woman” was the pronouncement on the show's program and with her ample chest, tiny waist and curvaceous hips showcased to perfection in the most exquisitely feminine of dresses, she was the ideal poster girl for Autumn's fascination with the female form: epitomising the most luxuriously ladylike and ultimately classic of trends.

Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton's Ready-to-Wear collection offered a refreshing hiatus from the recent high-fashion depiction of 'sexy' (which is predominantly lithe, limby and scantily clad). With shifted emphasis from the legs to the pushed up, corseted breasts; highlighting the splendour of the idealised womanly shape, reminiscent of a bygone era (much, I hazard a guess, to the surprise delight of any heterosexual men in the audience). In order to achieve this iconic 1950's silhouette, Marc recruited some very famous faces (and bosoms) in the form of supermodels, Elle Macpherson, Laetitia Casta, Bar Rafaeli and Adriana Lima.
However, this was no parade of 1950's pin-ups. The mood was kept ultra-feminine and just the right level of demure, with the models' million-dollar manes up in bouncy ponytails and feet clad in the daintiest of bow-trimmed heels. It was clear from the intricate, quintessentially Vuitton detailing to the elegantly simple, frame handbags that this collection was a celebration of the womanly form, to be worn, appreciated and relished by women.

This return to a more womanly look echoed Miuccia Prada's earlier Milan show, where supermodels often shunned from the most prestigious Italian fashion houses (notably Doutzen Kroes rejected for being “too fat” by Gucci) paraded down the runway, in prim two-piece suits, full skirted dresses and the most ladylike of tailored coats. The hourglass silhouette was resplendent of the 'Mad Men' era of classic, elegant dressing whilst and the rustic, muted palette invoked connotations of blustery autumnal strolls and mysterious winter nights. Quirky touches such as the cats eye glasses, bouffant hair and the the thick over-knee knitted socks added a modern and mischievous flair, suggesting that Prada's prim and proper poster-princess isn't all that she initially seems.

Though these two houses wholeheartedly embraced this iconic 1950's/60's style, elements of this return to classic femininity were in seen gracing the runways of many of the world's most influential designers in abundance. The buttoned-up dresses, full skirts and nipped-in waists were unmissable at Dries Van Noten. Here, however the ladylike effect was juxtaposed by military-style hues and contrasting textures: a notable example was a brocade, dirndl skirt being paired with a mannish, canvas shirt. The undone hair and large, dark glasses also gave the collection a rebellious edge.

 Loewe too embraced the return to the a more classic interpretation of femininity, but in darker shades and a less dramatic silhouette, this was a more subtle and wearable nod to the trend. Fendi too provided an impressive array of full, dirndl skirts, juxtaposed by sheer panelling and loose fitted blouses, showing how one could incorporate these pieces into a more youthful, eclectic and thrown-together style.





Even subtle details such as re-focusing on the waistline; evident in innumerable collections from Paul Smith to Prada, is emblematic of a renaissance of classic femininity and perhaps the first tentative forays of the fashion world into the celebration of woman over waif.

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