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· Fashion Notes: Best in Show, Pre-Fall 09 (Part I)

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Fashion Notes: Best in Show, Pre-Fall 09 (Part I)
by The Kindly One

For this round of collection reviews, I've chosen Givenchy's show as best all-around/most likely to wear. For this collection, Riccardo Tisci concentrated on directional basics, featuring coats, pants and dresses that are essential to the wardrobe, but of enough interest to do more than just fill in wardrobe gaps. The clothes are dramatic, austere, and minimal, the three words I would use to define my own style, with enough sobriety mixed in to be comfortably worn out and about. In addition to its wearability, this clothes could almost serve as a capsule wardrobe for any of the more high fashion/avant-garde editors and stylists on the scene due to its emphasis on the requisite stovepipes, avant-garde coats, and elongation regularly seen on the likes of Emmanuelle Alt, Carine Roitfeld, and Barbara Martelo. But overall, and through no conscious thought, my pre-fall collection picks are more based on my fashion ideals and fantasies of working as a Vogue Paris editor than they do wearability or practicality.


I love that this is a very young look. I don't know how it's happened, but recently it's only teenagers who know how to dress, and I love Givenchy for taking their cues. I also appreciate the mix of fashion-forward with basics. The peacoat isn't audaciously cut. It's even in a subdued hue. Add the peeptoe boots and sheer dress, though, and it's instantly updated from some standard urban winter wear to something youthful, feminine, and fun.


For a more directional coat, wear this one. I love the architectural cut of the lapels, which frame the face beautifully without overwhelming either the face or figure. Despite the strength of the lapels, this is still a very wearable coat, primarily because the length of the coat is boxy and nondescript. Were it more feminine or avant-garde, this would become both unwearable and an instant period piece. I also love the cut of pants with the coat. Clearly not a cut for everyone, but it punctuates the point of wearing one well-chosen accent and letting everything else blend in.


Perennial themes for fall include the thirties and fur. No matter what else is going on in fashion, you'll always see these themes, like the nautical, floral, "ethnic," and safari themes of spring. This is one of my favorite iterations of the theme this year. It's not literal and again contrasts one great piece (the fur coat) with items already found in your closet. The overall effect is ladylike, quite the opposite from many fur-themed iterations emphasizing wealth, sex, or, as we'll see in the second part of the Pre-Fall review, the Grey Gardens effect.


What surprises me about this look is the fact how Tisci was able to turn two traditionally bulky items - the parka and the fur coat - and slim them down to the point of layering them. Wearing a fur coat under a leather jacket is an intensely Fashion look (capital "F") regularly seen on the likes of Alt and Roitfeld and rarely seen on anyone else. It takes the imagination and technical knowledge of a stylist to pull off this look, as the layering could easily degenerate into bulkiness and eccentricity. This look avoids both due to the super slimness of the outfit's cut. Though intimidating to pull off, this extreme slimness and verticality can be quite elegant as it eliminates bulkiness and requires a certain gracefulness of movement.


This look is my every Goth girl fantasy come true and probably why I fell in love with this collection. It is elegant in its stark minimalism, requisitely Goth black, and dramatic in the extreme. Despite the severe styling (and this show is notable for its clever, marketable styling), the pieces themselves aren't overtly Gothic or extreme. The dress is just simple and Empire-waisted, so simple and feminine I'd hate it if it weren't styled like this. The inner jacket is a very cool take on the sweater coat, infinitely wearable in terms of cut and temperature control. And the overcoat, independent of the gloves and feathers, is a light, basic enough cut to almost act as a very fashionable rainjacket. But pulled together? This is where the magic happens. As much as I love McQueen and Galliano, if I am ever in a position to wear a very expensive gown, I will choose Tisci's designs in a heartbeat for their overall eccentricity and stark Goth glamour. I won't fit in, and I'll look good doing so.

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