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Monday, July 16, 2012

Paris Haute Couture 2012: Ulyana Sergeenko, Stephane Rolland

It didn't seem possible to see any more beautiful clothes on the morning of Day 2, but I was off to do just that.  I started the day by seeing the first couture collection of Ulyana Sergeenko.  A Russian photographer, couture collector and street-style star, Sergeenko has turned designer with a passion for her homeland's traditional dress and culture.  

Ulyana on the street
Apparently, she is on the radar with Vogue magazine and the fashion world.  Her collection was very interesting - I've never seen anything like it.  Extremely editorial.  It was as if we were traveling through the Russian past, outfitting all the characters in Anna Karenina. There were the peasant blouses with ankle-length skirts, the Russian military came through in striking coats adorned with brooches looking like that of military medals, and then there was the Russian bride.  The show ended with a long dramatic black coat that could have been the same coat that Anna wore in her final moments.  

The models were like Matryoshka dolls (of the same size) marching out in various colors and babushkas, furs and mittens.  With sounds of Peter and the Wolf playing with the music, the designer transformed the Théâtre Marigny into a Russian menagerie.  Thinking about reading some more Tolstoy now…

Anna's Suicide Dress  

Quickly, I headed over to the Trocadéro for the Stephane Rolland Show.  French-born designer Stephane Rolland is no newbie to fashion.  As Creative Director for Balenciaga's menswear, he left to create his own ready-to-wear line, then ultimately in 2007 his couture line.  My first time to see his work, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  Held at the Cité de l'architecture of the Palais de Chaillot (known as the Palais du Trocadéro), the setting was of yet another world.  There were long wooden benches as seats, and the guest list must have been pages long.

Waiting for Godot: with Christine Chiu, new friend Stephanie and Cameron Silver
Photo courtesy of Ellen Olivier:
Shows are always late.  And this one was no exception.  My teenaged babysitter, McCall, had announced the previous day that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were to be at the Rolland show.  That fact alone almost made me not go.  But there we were, waiting waiting waiting for Kim and Kanye.  

The show finally started, without the couple du jour, with a floor length ivory dress.  The palette of the runway was organic and neutral.  The clothes were simple and wearable.  There was a definite consistency to the collection that you could feel and see.  Mostly in the noodles that hung from the shoulders of dresses or coats.  Everything was extremely dramatic, but the body-conscious cuts could look good on a lot of women.  I loved all of the wooden details, from belts to shoes - it was really cool and original.

The oddest moment came when the bride-look walked down the runway.  Obviously close to tripping on fabric and/or heels, the model walked the catwalk slowly, methodically.  She was spreading her arms out to reveal more of the noodle-capped cape atop the gown.  She walked in slow motion, almost fearful of the altar.  Fashion is in the eye of the beholder, and I was not beholden.  I found it more like a circus….  Cut to Kim Kardashian: she had finally entered to view the final "look".  Shopping for a wedding dress?  The whole thing was just bizarre, the clothes were relegated backseat to celebrity, and the benches for paying customers were as hard as the temperature was hot.  

Not afraid of crow (or noodle) pie, I did like the shoes.  My immediate reaction to the show was, get me those shoes!  I loved the wooden sole and the sexy hug of the instep. Very chic.

And, as for Kim and her couture shopping… I can only say that she made a mess of traffic around the Trocadéro...

1 comment:

Claire said...

Your blog gives new life to the staid descriptions in the traditional press. I guess Ms Sergeenko misses the uniform look of the USSR. Don't you think Yves St Laurent did it better in 1975 or so? And had a great deal more fun. As he would undoubtedly have said, "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose."