(Originally published in Violet7 Magazine, May 2015 Violet7 Archive password: paris)
YSL Insults Fashion. YSL Collection Called ‘Bitchy’. Saint-Laurent: Truly Hideous. These were a few of the choicest headlines from fashion critics following the debut, in the spring of 1971, of Yves Saint-Laurent’s “Liberation” collection. The pieces that so upset Paris’s staid couture audience are now on show in Yves Saint-Laurent 1971: La Collection du Scandale, at the La Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent until July 19th. It took some research on the part of this visitor to understand how a collection of pussy bows, wide lapels, and slinky ruched dresses inspired such vitriol. The emerald green fur coat and sheer halters tucked into high-waisted pants seemed positively made for the bright-eyed ingenues of the disco years, but the touch of luridness wasn’t the culprit behind the headlines. It was, in fact, the blatant reference to the 1940s- and all its accompanying darkness in France’s collective memory- that brought the scandal. In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, show curator Olivier Saillard explained, “To suddenly see on the catwalk a collection inspired by the slightly outré elegance of the forties was perceived as a form of irreverence toward those who lived through this period of restriction.” The critics weren’t off-base in their assessment of his motives. Saint-Laurent himself flippantly remarked, “What do I want? To shock the people, to force them to reflect.” We are used to irreverence in fashion, even expect a few designers each season to toe the line of good taste. But Saint-Laurent in 1971 was forging a new path for fashion, one where couture would become irrevocably linked with street style, and where high fashion could inspire real cultural discourse.
(Originally published in Violet7 Magazine, April 2015 Violet7 Archive password: paris)
From the 8th of March to the 23rd of August 2015 the Palais Galliera is hosting a Jeanne Lanvin retrospective, designed and curated by Alber Elbaz, artistic director of the house of Lanvin. I had the immense pleasure of visiting the exhibition this weekend, and it truly took my breath away. Photos were not allowed, but that’s okay- to only look at photos of the pieces on display would be cheating yourself out of unbelievable grace. With 90 examples of day and evening wear spanning from the aughts of the 20th century to the advent of World War II, the exhibition headily transports you through half a century in a glittering, bygone world. The pieces are dazzling, with an intricacy made organic by Lanvin’s virtuosic eye for line and curve. While the fashion side of me salivated, I couldn’t help but think throughout the exhibition about the world inhabited by Lanvin’s customers before the war crumbled the last vestige of a genteel Europe; then, by 1939 gown, a quote from one Christian Dior: “Paris was rarely more sparkling…People flitted from ball to ball; dreading the inevitable cataclysm, they hoped desperately to avoid it, and whatever happened, they wanted to go out in style.”
(Originally published in Violet7 Magazine, March 2015 Violet7 Archive password is paris)
This weekend in the 1st arrondissement, upscale concept store Colette hosted a pop-up for Glossier, the new product line from Into the Gloss founder Emily Weiss and the rest of the Into the Gloss team. Weiss started Into the Gloss in 2010 and has grown it into the go-to beauty source for the demographic that isn’t interested in just another rote slideshow of products and looks. With long-form interviews and essay-style product reviews, Into the Gloss turns the beauty routines of notable women into stories, allowing interviewees speak without constriction of where their products fit into their lives. As a longtime ITG devotee I was extremely excited to meet Weiss, and in person she was friendly, laid back, and eager to chat with those who came to the pop-up about Glossier products.
The four-piece “Phase One” set, which launched in October, contains the Balm Dotcom universal skin salve, Priming Moisturizer, Soothing Face Mist, and Perfecting Skin Tint. More recently launched is a facemask duo- the Megagreens Galaxy Pack for detoxifying, and the Moisturizing Moon Mask for restorative hydration. The products were there solely to be tested, but Weiss says they are working to eventually sell in Colette (unfortunately she could not give a timeline).
The packaging and type are simple, cleanly color blocked, plastic and tin. A sheet of stickers accompanies your purchase: “Glossier” in a few designs, clusters of stars, the rogue three-eyed smiley face. The small-batch, unpretentious feel of the Glossier products is quite a feat for a company that is working to go multi-national, but to ITG’s readers, raised on the colloquial, wide-open nature of the site’s pieces, it will seem just right.