According to the press notes at the show, the new Vionnet collection was inspired by curves and by dancing. That’s the thing about semiotics, though: To each her own! An alternative reading of Goga Ashkenazi’s latest outing for the label was vestal virgins circa 2500 A.D. attending a postapocalyptic prom. That seemed as coherent a logic as any for this rather daffy group of clothes, what with the gartered bodysuits and sheer, floor-sweeping overskirts, plissé gowns worn with backpacks, and feral leathers and capes.
The plissé and the Grecian draping were a nod to Madeleine Vionnet, of course, and she would have had no trouble identifying her handwriting in a simple column dress of draped nude and ivory silk, or in the bone white draped frock with jewelry embellishment modeled at the close of the show by Saskia de Brauw. She might even have nodded in recognition at a micro-mini plissé dress—an ace look for a would-be modern Artemis. (Ashkenazi herself seemed to be vibrating on that wavelength: The song that played over the final défilé was Björk’s classic “Hunter.”) There were other nice pieces scattered throughout—the fabrics here were choice, and it was hard not to like most of them—but the button-down-plus-bubble-skirt and bodysuit-plus-anything propositions were a seriously hard sell. Ashkenazi appears to want to update the Vionnet formula, make it seem aggressively modern; the trouble with that is, Madeleine Vionnet’s ideas are timeless and look modern still. Witness the appeal of the simplest, most signature Vionnet looks here. They point the way forward—all the way to the year 2500.