Saturday, 6 October 2012

The Great Parisian Fash-Off

'Tuxy subject' Raf Simons version for Dior.

It was the two most prolific shows during the entire international fashion weeks that the tired and weary fashion press had long been waiting for. In February of this year, two world famous French heavyweight fashion houses made headlines after a major shake-up and a new take-up in their creative director departments. Fashion Week's long awaited show down between Dior and Yves Saint-Laurent, or simply Saint-Laurent as the label is now known, had been hotly anticipated and talked about in the months preceding the latest catwalk presentations in Paris. The Style Eye has cast it's beady eye to bring you a brief synopsis of what we are calling 'The Great Parisian Fash Off'.

Saint Laurent finale look which is.......

rather similar to this YsL daytime ensemble from A/W 1988

Hedi Slimane, former Dior Homme designer and more recently, the artsy portrait snapper of indie vocalist Pete Doherty, is appointed as the top creative at Saint-Laurent. Meanwhile, over at Dior, the designer who now gets to sit at John Galliano's old workspace is former Jil Sander designer, Raf Simons. I could get more involved and tell you the ins and outs of his own Raf Simons line, but instead I will give you a brief historical run down of past creative directors at Dior & YsL, where things turn a tad stylishly and fashionably incestuous. In 1957, Christian Dior died leaving his fashion legacy in the safe hands of a young and ambitious designer, Yves Mathieu Saint Laurent. Saint- Laurent stayed six seasons at Dior before embarking on his own label bearing his name. It was here at his eponymous fashion brand that he became synonymous for his groundbreaking creation for womenswear, 'Le Smoking'. It may seem obvious now to see the modern woman wearing a gentleman's formal evening wear suit around and about town, but back in 1966 it was a revolutionary style statement. And this brings me nicely round to the subject of YsL's legendary ladies tuxedos. Since '66 every YsL collection has featured a variation on Le Smoking, and with this in mind, how was Slimane going to tackle the subject of YsL's legacy? When Slimane was creative director at Dior Homme, his tailoring and cutting techniques were so superb that he had women flocking to the boutiques get their hands on one of  his made-for-men suits, bought to wear for themselves. So, in effect he had the job of women's tailoring firmly under his belt. Easy. And the result was, of course, was a sharp, modern, totally desirable and wearable black trouser suit. And a variation on Le Smoking was weirdly how Simons decided to open his debut show for Dior. Now, that some start to a fash-off! Simons played safe here, after all he is stepping somewhat on Slimane's toes, taking the risk that he might ask Simons to 'Fash-off' with his version . At Dior, Simons interpretation was a very simple pared down black suit accessorised with a black chiffon neck tie. Yet, it was at the end of the shows that each of the newly-appointed designers paid homage to the originators of the world famous labels. Slimane must have spent his summer rooting through the 1988 Autumn/Winter archives at YsL to get inspired for his finale look. And for Simons finale looks, he too took inspiration out of the archives from the Christian Dior designed collections era, and modernised it up a notch or two, giving a 2012 touch to a classic Dior silhouette. All in all, two great shows from two great designers of our time, and so here begins the Slimane/Simons era!

Dior by Christian Dior

Final looks from Dior A/W 12

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