Carven Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Paris Fashion Week
In a season of this much industry shift and change, one might do well to remember the following: 1.) It is certainly not easy to be an entrepreneur, to break out and create your own brand. 2.) But it may in fact be harder to take up the reins and attempt to steer somebody else’s. 3.) This industry necessitates both situations. The result is that, increasingly, young designers tasked with taking storied (read: old) brands into the (young and fun) future seem to instead turn to the past.
At their Spring show for Carven, Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud imagined “Madame Carven’s imaginary heiress” traipsing with friends through her family’s stately pile, digging around in the designer’s archive and reinterpreting the old classics. This had been Anthony Vaccarello’s take on Saint Laurent, too: thrift-shop finds from the house’s halcyon days in the 1980s, cut and customized by the young, hip, girl-about-town of today. At Carven, it meant stripes and florals and crests and narrow cargo pants, a thickly bejeweled belt around the waist, and scarf-patterned silks worn as asymmetrical skirts. Several items were meant to conjure the image of a girl draping herself in an old wedding veil, à la Miss Havisham.
The problem with reinterpreting the classics is, well, sometimes you just want something new. At Carven, bits and pieces did come through: The odd baby doll dress was charming in tiered cotton poplin, and the chunky, wide-heeled mules in kooky leathers (animal print! snakeskin! a glittery crest!) were something that everyone could agree on. While clear plastic trousers felt a little close to Jonathan Anderson’s experiments with the same at Loewe last Spring, placing a largely useless item like a transparent pink-tinged plastic miniskirt over an otherwise shapeless printed dress was a good styling trick. At the end of the day, playing dress-up is all well and good, but with ample talents like Martial and Caillaudaud’s—which they proved again here, in the case of the buckle-front black felt coat worn over a tiered lace skirt—one hopes the future holds clothes that will also make the transition to real closets.