In Alexandre Vauthier’s showroom, an NFL football occupied the corner of a glass table otherwise topped with his accessories and evening clutches, all gleaming with hardware. A few days before, hotshot photographer Mathieu Cesar had captured models Hana Jirickova and Anna Selezneva sporting the Spring collection in the company of American footballers on a field outside Paris. This season marks the first time the ready-to-wear images have appeared in color; Vauthier believed that black and white would make too serious a statement this time around.
If haute couture furthers Vauthier’s skills, ready-to-wear tests his game, forcing him to figure out how those impeccable made-to-measure dresses and jackets can be modified for retail production and pricing. Ideally, the changes are imperceptible. The best example: a delicate, Astroturf-grazing dress that combined panels and inserts to fully sheathe the body even as it accentuated every curve. But even when the difference was obvious—python strips like electric tape placed atop lace had given way to a fine-gauge knit that echoed the motif—the result was less dilution than redevelopment. While Vauthier’s seductress leathers are fine enough (or else, sufficiently revealing) that they neither look nor feel out of season, his lingerie-style underpinnings suggest he is working through various attitudes toward femininity. For every football-inspired pant here matched with a roomy T-shirt, there was a slinky black dress or swimsuit exposing a significant proportion of torso. Some of the pieces were more everyday than others.
Team Vauthier boasts no shortage of MVPs these days: Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Beyoncé have all pledged their allegiance in one sexy form or another. The “E” on the red sequined jersey was Vauthier’s shout-out to longtime supporter and friend Emmanuelle Seigner. To his credit, Vauthier plays down the celebrity exposure. Playing up the body exposure is still where he gets his kicks.