There are many differences between artists and designers, this is one of them: When the artist dies, their work and legacy remains intact (it’s not like they are gonna bring someone else to keep on painting Van Gogh’s sunflowers). When the designer dies, he (or she) gets replaced. In other words, the show must go on. Cristóbal Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Gianni Versace, Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, Coco Chanel, Alexander McQueen and Madeleine Vionnet are all up there, in a stylish heaven and will always be remembered for two main reasons: they were ahead of their time and they changed fashion. They became milestones. They brought so much to the table that their names are still around, along with their spirits.
When a large, luxury conglomerate such as LVMH or PPR (or an individual) takes over a brand with so much history, heritage and personality, changes are made: they want to expand the target, they want to renovate the brand, they want to grow, they want to make it more youthful. It’s fair, it’s understandable, but it’s also necessary, out of respect for the house and the clients, that the codes and the essence don’t get lost in the transition. This Fashion Week, that’s exactly what happened with three of the most important fashion houses. It’s disappointing, it’s unnerving and it’s ridiculous. If we feel that way, I can’t imagine how they are feeling up there.
She learned from the man himself, she was a no-brainer when it came to replacing L’Enfant Terrible, the unique, dark and wonderful genius, the late Alexander McQueen. She has a talent that cannot be doubted or denied, she has construction skills that could put anyone to shame, the details and craftsmanship in her creations are always precise, spot on. You might be wondering, “Why is Sarah Burton on the list?” The reason? She is locked up in a theatrical world, almost repetitive, unwearable and gray. Yes, Alexander McQueen was theatrical, but he also was rebellious, unconventional and had a natural talent when it came to pouring his soul into his collections. Watching one of his runway shows instantly sent chills down our spines. That’s how good his drama was, that’s how powerful his clothes and ideas were. Sarah has potential, a potential that is well kept inside her pale gowns, face masks and collars. Unleash the devil inside you, dear. Make him proud, make us feel something, anything!
Money can get you a brand, but it won’t make you a designer (not even a bad one). That’s a statement no one has ever told Madam Ashkenazi. Not everyone has the business gene, not everyone has the creative one. Apparently “Lady Goga” thinks she has them both. She doesn’t. She is a top notch entrepreneur (she bought her first company at 24), but as a designer, the top and the notch are just not there. Yes, she hired an impressive team to translate her ideas into garments but that’s not enough. Apparently, money lets you buy a dead woman’s brand and shit big bird yellow fur on her legacy. Madame Vionnet was all about architectural shapes, beautiful draping, dresses that seemed as if they were painted on a woman’s body, simplicity, elegance. Madame Vionnet would’ve never said “Why don’t we make a black and white dress, but let’s make it more Wintery by putting some yellow fur somewhere”. Madame Vionnet would never drape with fur, because fur is not made for draping and because the result would’ve been a joke, like your last collection. Lady, this is not arts and crafts 101, this is not “let me show you what I can do with my glue gun”, this is high fashion, this is Vionnet. May I suggest you open a book, study her codes, put that glue gun away and with that big, fat wallet of yours, hire a Creative Director. One that can put Vionnet up there, back with the big ones, where it belongs.
I thought it was a bad dream, I thought it was all in my mind. It was already hard to digest the fact that creative persona, Hedi Slimane, decided to drop the Yves from YSL. It was kind of disappointing to see his first collection for the brand, a boring and generic homage to the 70’s. But this, this I wasn’t expecting. Some, the less mean, have called it “Smells like teen spirit” style, a Kurt Cobain homage. Me? Not that Hedi cares, I call it the “I stole from the Bershka archives”. He is a rebel, that we know. He is a troubled and genius mind, he has proved that (before). He kicks ass as a photographer (after this collection, he should stick to that as a day job). But this was the legacy of a man that spent years and countless drops of sweat in building his brand, his trademark, his codes, his signatures. You honor men like Yves Saint Laurent, you pay your respects by whipping up a collection he would’ve been proud of. You don’t shit all over his stuff, you don’t make the man cry up there in heaven, you just don’t. You want to go all grunge on us? YSL is not the right brand for that. You want to actually sell this Taylor Momsen clothes? A leathery dress with sheer panels costs not more than 50 euros at Topshop. Denim mini skirts and plaid shirts? Macy’s has all of that in the junior department. To Hedi, Yves Saint Laurent deserves better, the clientele deserve better. We had just warmed up to the whole Saint Laurent sans Yves thing, this wasn’t the right bomb to drop on us. To PPR, if I were you, I’d sack him, ASAP.