Sunday, 25 August 2013

Paris '99: Fashion at the Louvre!

Hello dear '99ers!
To deviate a bit from my usual bulk writing style, here is pictorial essay of just some of the incredible fashion references one can find at the most famous museum in the world, the Louvre! With the obligatory pic of the Mona Lisa (last time I did see it was 1999, not much has changed apart from the fact we had only film cameras then, I guess a lot has changed then...), I saw everything as being super sumptuous and luxurious; from the rigidity and hardness of the Dutch, to the romance and fluidity of the Italians, there is soooooo much inspiration, and lots of footwear actually! Read my captions or form your own ideas and wow moments, and please excuse some of the glare in the pics, I promise I would never use flash! Enjoy xxx :)

I would use this ribbon as a guide for the fall of the rest of the garment; a coat, a wrap dress, love it!

Those breeches are delicious, as well as the stripe on the puff sleeve and the fit of the vest!

Who could say no to a pair of blue suede ankle boots, man or woman, yum!

And never mind the wrap sandal, add a killer heel and off you go!

I love a peep toe/foot with gold leather in the middle, don't you? :)

Does this not just scream McQueen?!?

Metal mesh garter belt, Versace eat your heart out!

Now there is a gentleman's waist!

Can you say steel blue metal gaitors, seriously!

This is a great Synagogue, how Guggenheim!

There she is thrown in for good measure :S

Her far more impressive neighbour, now there's a painting!

Gorgeous drape, Galliano indeed!

I love the colour combinations of the men, so fashion forward, even if not necessarily intended haha!

The gold trim gets me on this one!

What a gorgeous trim and weave on the carpet/wrap scarf ;)

Just because everyone else was going it too, and though it doesn't appear so, there were heaps of peeps!

That gold gem encrusted vest says Dolce to me!

The above two are here because I love a fur backed embroidered brocade as much as anyone else!

I feel the above the knee pumpkin pants making a comeback!

Now here is a detail loving lady if there ever was one, right up to the light as air serious ruff!

That Mickey Mouse shoulder and her severely high cheekbones put all the Dutch models to shame!

Alberta Ferretti would love this for sure, the queen of chiffon, and the leather armbands, yes!


Baby got back! And scrunchy suede boots too for good measure!

This is a pant everyone, love it!

Anything mink trimmed and I say mmhmmm! And check out the cut on the jacket, triple darts!

Armour gets me everytime, I see this in leather, and the shield is a must have accessoire daarling!

Great detail on the shoulder, Christobal would be proud!

Fashionable nuns, that looks a decent amount of Duchess satin to me, and pearl trim, why not?!

Boys were so much more elaborately dressed and powdered back then, its all very Valentino no?

Stacked heel and total square front, with a bit of tweaking this would work, ribbons included of course!

Gold. Brocade.Enough.Said.!!

If only to have this as one's ceiling, the physio would be ecstatic! :)

Till next time, come and say hi! xxx

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Paris '99 a Paris '13 part 3a: Martin Grant!

All good things come in threes, and here is the third part of my Paris series, and it be made up of three parts which will be presented separately; totally milking the three concept hahaha!!!

As you know, I always try to provide a back story to the actual story that I'm telling you, for the sake of context you know. You may remember that in 2007, along with my friend Beatrice who instigated the idea, I was on exchange from RMIT to AMFI in Amsterdam. On one particular evening I came to learn that Bea's class were to go to Premiere Vision (Visjyon; slurrr your 'n' of course), but of course, the world's most exciting fabric fair, where some people are working on things that will adorn us in 4 years time, wow!
Anyway, to come 20,000kms and not to go to PV was simply out of the question, and with some gentle manoeuvring of my own lecturer I was given permission to skip a design class; of course I would have to catch up on working on my own collection, the horror haha. Et voila, off we set, on the good old Euro Bus, toilet on board and even a lunch stopover in Brussels, fabulous!

To get to the point, we decided to stay on the weekend after PV to do some of our own Paris exploring, which for me meant traipsing up and down the rues Honore (ay) and Av Montaigne, and the Palais Royale, amassing a large amount of fashion catalogues and lookbooks as I do. Luckily we were not flying as I would not have been allowed to board with all the weight! Came Saturday, which was also a double whammy with Yom Kippur, and as such the best thing to do was of course to wander around the Marais, where all the Jewish owned shops were wide open and welcoming...not... But never mind, we had one destination to get to on the Rue des Rosiers... Martin Grant's shop!

Wait! Back story to the back story! In 2005, the National Gallery of Victoria Ian Potter (Australian art space for those unaware), held a retrospective exhibition of Martin Grant's work, including images of his first fashion drawings from kindergarten, very triangular I recall, and of course his precision tailored garments as seen on Cate Blanchett and Naomi Campbell after he was championed by the larger than life Andre Leon Talley then of Vogue and his reputation grew in Paris and worldwide. Luckily for me, the day my family and I attended the exhibition, Martin himself chose to do so too! It was very exciting upon exiting the space to see him coming in!
PS I realise this calls for a photo from the exhibition, but by google I can't find any and I don't want a generic image, so do please do without! It would've been hard to sneaky with a big digital camera back then, more on lack of technology a bit further down...

OK, back back story done, but you know, let's make all the connections we can, things are meant to be!
 Beatrice had visited before, and as we walked along the street, I blissfully unaware, Beatrice suddenly looked shocked and apalled; the shop was not there!

Now think, dear friends, 2007 was pre smart phones, in fact I, being somewhat of a laggard and deviate, oooo, only got my first iPod in 2008, I know others had them in 2003 or thereabouts, terrible I know! So what were we to do, two strangers in Paris looking for one of our own fellow Melbournian fashion icons. Ask at a gallery of course. A very literal Google search of 'Where has Martin Grant's shop in the Marais moved to...' did yield a successful result, Rue Charlot, which was just around the corner.
Off we set, to discover the 'Institut Martin Grant', beautifully appointed on the second floor of a gorgeous Parisian apartment building coming off a most wonderfully kept courtyard behind a large, looming and mysterious wooden door, such drama indeed!
The Institut, as I understand, functions as the shop, showroom and studio for Martin Grant. One can come up and see and purchase pieces and have a bona-fide Paris fashion experience. If only he did menswear! We had a wonderful viewing of the collection with one of the assistants and I even added a MG catalogue to my own collection! The only thing missing was Martin himself :(.

Now, fast forward 6 years!
On a hot summer's day as Maria and I covered every square inch of the Marais by foot, we reached the Rue Charlot and it all jigged back to me. I asked if she was ready to have a most fabulous fashion experience, and so we walked through the courtyard and up the flights of red carpeted stairs till we reached the closed door. A light buzz on the doorbell and a few footsteps later a young assistant opened the door and in we went.
Timing is everything folks, 5 minutes either way would've seen a vastly different scenario unfold result. As it turns out, and really as I should have remembered, Haute Couture fashion week was on, and of course many designers present their women's Spring pre-collection also as a hangover of men's fashion week having just finished, Martin Grant included.
Right then Martin Grant stepped out from the kitchen and started towards us, with great surprise on his face. Turns out we had arrived minutes before the appointment with his buyers. Thinking quickly on my feet or somehow or other I managed to get us from the doorway into the showroom, for a super quick preview of the upcoming 2014 collection. Now for discretion's sake I shan't reveal exactly what I saw, but lets just say it was mostly black, and technically and structurally it was some of the best I've ever seen of Martin's. DiiiiViiiiinnnneee!!!!!!

Not taken by me, thanks The Australian from 2 years ago! :)

A little chatter followed (and don't worry, I strategically neglected to mention my sighting at the exhibition 7 years earlier, but did speak to him of a recent event that I was at where he was discussed in reverence, relevance please haha), the swapping of business cards, and let's just hope the next time he is in town he will make an appearance for GnT's in Elwood, I think I sold it well haha!
 And just like that we were in and out, and in fact we passed the next guests on our way down the stairs. What a rush indeed!
Now have a look at some pieces of Martin Grant that I have floating around right now. These must be seen in the flesh, and on the flesh, as this is when they really come alive and the immaculate construction shines brightest. Of course throughout Paris '99s existence many more have come and gone on to have homes in the most gorgeous wardrobes of the most gorgeous women. Will you be one soon too?? :) xxx

Here is the darkest of green satin, the shine is very muted and subtle. So is the allusion to both 40s drab utility and 30s slip like lingerie dresses. I see it on a woman who is serious and demure, strong yet feminine. Add a sparkly clutch and heels and off you go to the party. Throw a blazer over the top and it's the perfect work dress. A piece for all times, thanks Martin Grant :)

This is probably my favourite piece of Martin Grant at the moment. It is unusually patterned when much of his work is single coloured or blocked. The pleating and chevroning lends a strange asymmetry to the dress but this has been perfectly considered. For such a large amount of fabric it is amazingly sexy thanks to the absolute cinching of the waist with the belt. It's not a piece for grand gestures, once the belt is fastened the arms are restricted but this completely holds the poise of the wearer. The other trick is that it is actually rather misleadingly petite, as the horizontal cut bottom panel has no movement and therefore can only fit over a finite hip width. Wow I've written a lot about this dress, the rest I'll leave a mystery, come and see it for yourselves, perfect dress for the races I must say!

Black chiffon strappy tiered gathered dress with bodice ribbon to add structure. You can't see but the edge of the chiffon is left raw but crimped in a way that it doesn't fray, tis rather amazing!

This is such a stunning leather silhouette, tres 70s if I may say so. Soft lambskin zip up jacket and tiered skirt. Rather intense when worn together but jacket over a dress and skirt with a fitted top tucked in are pure elegance!
Note! Just before going to press, the skirt found a happy happy home! Amazing! :)

Till next week, part 3b, an exhibition in Paris, stay tuned, come say hello! xx

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Paris '99 in Paris 2013 pt2: Fashion Daaarrrrling!!!

Hello '99ers, thank you for coming back when so many times I promise an update and it never comes, I don't cry wolf, it just all takes a bit longer than planned! But here we are, pt2 of Paris '13, where I detail for you what I saw, liked, didn't like and maybe just one or two extra special stories as well. Enjoy!! :)

Ok, so what one sees straight out of the airport is not the best place to start judging the fashion sense of Parisians, but really this is to be expected. Maria and I however did pull off a damn good 'plane outfit'; her in a light chambray mullet shirt, leopard print scarf and leggings, and me in navy blue slim pants, brown Puma cracked leather street shoes and Balenciaga shiny sport coat, I'd say we rocked it in economy haha!

Perhaps the first moment Parisian style becomes apparent is when sitting a restaurant terrace in the evening when most tourists have gone to dinner at some overpriced and overpopulated Champs Elysees eatery, and the locals come out to play, read, boisson et fumer! I didn't remember a lot of smoking the last time I was in Paris, but really I was cooped up in the showroom for most of the time and none of the German girls I was with smoked. Boy was I wrong! Everybody sits or walks around with a smoking stick sticking out of their mouths. And funnily enough, while in London, where almost no-one smokes, I was walking towards two young girls (no more than 14 I'd guess), who were smoking, and lo and behold as we passed, they spoke French!
Anyway, enough about the smoking, it has not to do with fashion, actually... anyway...yes, whatever.
So, ahh, yes, that's right, you know the tourists have gone away because everyone who steps out; man, woman, garcon, fille or chien! is just ever so parfait and fabulous; its the attention to details that makes it special, the way a cuff is turned, a collar is pointed just so, the way the colours blend in ways that shouldn't work but just do! Whenever anyone tells me they don't recall the people in Paris as being particularly chic I remind them that you must venture out of the tourist spots and you will see them in their full stylish glory!

Or of course, you happen to be there during Fashion Week, which look at that, we were! Precollection women's and Haute Couture. One morning in the Palais Royale there was a buzz about, glamorously dressed people rushing somewhere in their towering heels. There was a woman who could've been transplanted from Melbourne, looking very 90s/Now all in black frothy fabulous Miyake something-or-other. All tres exciting indeed! 
In the Marais, where all the designers and agents around were in the middle of presenting the summer precollections and the buyers were running around from appointment to appointment there was plenty of fash-action happening. Above you see my awkward photo of the most fabulously subversively cool Japanese crew that we. With the traffic in the Marais being quite light and all the streets narrow and cobblestone-y, its very common for people to walk double, triple and quadrupley on the road. If I hadn't fumbled around with the camera and we hadn't been just that little bit too far away you would've seen their swirling swathing jersey, leather and drop crotch pants in full effect, but still, you can just read the cool from this image quoi? :):S.


Concentrating on the designer resale stores (so I could compare how I'm doing haha, and very well I might add, lucky you Melbourne ladies ;)) meant that time for studying the insides of the stores on St. Honore, Montaigne, Cambon, Rivoli, George V et al was non existent. But looking at the window displays, and buildings themselves proved to be fun and fabulous in its own right. I am now aware that Damir Doma shares the famous Comme des Garcons courtyard, something I did not know before! Chanel, Dior and Hermes take up whole corner blocks (amazing!!), and Valentino is set to open its doors on St Honore, which is wonderful, but of course not as wonderful as what you see in the picture a couple below this one :)

Blumarine for our friend who has her three 'B's; Blumarine, Balenciaga and Balmain. A purple display on the rue St. Honore.

I particularly love how Valentino have taken to showing off their Haute Couture in the windows of the head office and boutique as a way of connecting us mere mortals to what are undoubtedly the best clothes in the world. This is the opening dress (thanks that was hand rolled and hand stitched onto a tulle base, over 500 hours of hand work, to die!! I remember on my last Parisian tenure in 2009 Givenchy did the same thing at their George V headquarters, but I did excitedly go to see what they would show and disappointingly it was two handbags from the pret-a-porter collection :(...

Dior on the Place Vendome, and on Ave Montaigne. Di-Veeen! Although sadly when we walked through the Place Vendome on the way to the riverside we saw what we thought was a perfectly lined up flash mob about to start, but upon questioning realised it was actually a protest against gay marriage by the far right. What is funny is that the girl first presented herself as an advocate for free speech. I stopped listening, took photographs of the larger than life Dior campaign (a note, the video version of the campaign was playing on the giant screen at the airport) then left her mid sentence. :)

Unfortunately most of the times we walked by shops was either too early or too late, as is the case with the Dries Van Noten boutique on the Rive Gauche. I became very familiar with Het Modepaleis on the Nationalestraat in Antwerp but for some reason the Parisian post had always eluded me. Till this time, when we walked past 45 minutes too early! Pretty shop indeed though :).

Luckily by cutting across a sidestreet we stumbled upon the original Louboutin boutique across the road from a cafe/juicebar where I had a thirst quenching fruit iced tea. Clearly the reds are my favourites :S.

Next time, soon (!), an encounter with a fabulous designer, our visit to one of the grandest hotels in town (oooo) and some sneaky snaps of a wonderful exhibition all about... FASHION! Stay tuned my dears, and come and visit me in Elwood asap of course, to hear all about everything in person, yay!! xxxx