Monday, August 07, 2006

Procter’s ‘Gamble’

Lynn Hirshberg’s, cover story in Sunday’s magazine section of The New York Times, “Fashion’s Victim, or the strange romance of Olivier Theyskens” was interesting but did not necessarily offer any new insights. The recent closing of the house of Rochas by American conglomerate Procter & Gamble just proves the point that the business of high fashion is more a ‘gamble’ now than ever before, and the current climate is more favorable to those designers and companies that are more ‘mass’, more commercial, more vulgar, more common. In other words, for someone with a vision, high principles, talent, and taste, it’s a hard hard world.

Having said that, my thoughts are now geared to the upcoming spring 2007 fashion shows which will kick off with New York Fashion Week in September. And while it’s somewhat early and things might change, I have gotten some leads as to what some of our most talented young designers (those who definitely cannot be described as commercial or mass driven) have in the works as we speak.

According to a very reliable inside source, (exclusive to The Lookonline)…Peter Som and Thakoon are using old images from Balenciaga, or turn of the century garments, to identify design details. Peter Som is relying on a neutral palette, concentrating on beige linen and white chiffon, and the look can almost be described as ‘Pierrot’ (empire waist lines, high necklines, neutral colors and big black buttons). Pleats and volume seem to be quite popular for the bottom.

Peter Som is also continuing his random ruching dress look: bell shaped skirts/corset top foundations with a ruched tulle overlay, tacked down with Givenchy style bows. He is also planning a few sweet chiffon-y baby doll style dresses, focusing on an empire waist and lots of volume in white. Pleats again, even in the neckline.

The team of Proenza Shouler is continuing with complicated seams and style lines. They are also working in a neutral palette, but are going more sporty, using a grey rubberized linen and black nylon (for separate pieces). In the works are a yellow leather pea swing coat, (look for mustard as a new neutral), and a suspender dress, again with really complicated seam lines, style lines and pleating. They seem to be in love with a somewhat jigsaw puzzle way of patternmaking (as seen in their signature corset dresses); it is very triangular in composition.

Of the group, ThaKoon is using the most color. He has a pea green 4 ply silk, as well as a rose taffeta that has white roses (almost upholstery like). His collection is very drapey, pleat-y, but using really soft fabrics. It has a 50s feeling, since Balenciaga and Vionnet have really influenced him, hence, it is a mix of Grecian draping and Balenciaga volume. In general, as compared with the aforementioned, he is going in a direction that is more visionary, softer, less about the patterns and more about feelings. He is thinking more about the ethereal quality of each garment, and less about the overall collection. It’s about unique pieces that make up a whole, instead of 25 pieces that represent a collection.

Stay tuned!

-Marilyn Kirschner

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