Shades of Black

Shades of Black


**EDIT** I forgot to add the video which has a banging soundtrack mixed by Michel Gaubert

I suppose I can't keep talking about Anthony Vaccarello as though I'm lifting the lid on an undiscoverd wonder.  Not when he's had a shit ton of press in the past two seasons (French, American and British Vogue – triple whammy), gained an impressive list of stockists and watershed moments of all watershed moments, Nicole Phelps reviewed his A/W 11-12 show for Style.com.  It's got to be said that young designers showing on the Paris Fashion Week schedule have it fairly tough when it comes to coverage.  People are still shuffling in from Milan on the first day of Paris Fashon Week and in general, it's difficult to get the biggies to the smaller shows.  The talk-up, the hype, the presence of the likes of Emmanuelle Alt, Lou Doillon and of course the Style.com review at this A/W 11-12 show though are all entirely warranted and that is coming from a position where I'm pushing myself to step back, and to look at the collection on its own, free of any personal ties that I might have with Vaccarello. 

Of course, try as I might, everything I say may be tinged with emotion, seeing as I have an overwhelming belief in Vaccarello as a talent who sooner (rather than later) will reach some dizzying heights (rumours of Vaccarello heading up Balmain somehow got circulated yesterday… completely unfounded) and somehow, in spirit or in person, I'm with him in all the highs and lows of this rollercoaster ride of a design career.

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It might be difficult to explain the ins and outs of Vaccarello's latest collection in pure text as many of the pieces in it were based so much on touch, on the exploration of texture in the singular shade of black.  Yup, he ain't giving up on a colour that is notoriously hard to photograph but in a way, that is a challenge for people to seek him out and to look beyond the colour and try and see the meticulous amount of work that makes it all the more exciting to see Vaccarello's pieces in person.  The main starting point was to take the material of a coat (there were two outstanding styles in this collection) – cashmere felt – and to apply them to a series of dresses that in a way would have some protective elements of the thick material but of course reveal the sensuality of women (a recurring theme in Vaccarello's work) through an array of textures.  The Art Deco lines of last season have become chevron stripes and Piet Mondrian-esque blocks and they're drawn on with precise methods by using detailing like rubber strips to highlight zippers, safety pins that mimic the lines of threads holding panels of fabric together devoid of any punk-ridden cliches and Vaccarello's own penchant for suspending parts of a dress on the body using a hidden metal bar, a technique that carries over from last season.  I can personally attest that what sounds like an overly-rigid structure actually sits comfortably on the body as I have the grey-jersey toga dress from the last collection which I will be breaking out when it becomes warmer. 

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The metal prism-like chokers are echoed in the eye make-up…

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The lines of his pieces were also repeated in the set of the show, produced by the legendary Bureau Betak…

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Still, if in-person feeling and touching is largely impossible with Vaccarello's collection (until they hit stores this summer at least…), then from these photos of the show which again played with light, you'll get a wonderfully impressionistic view of the clothes.  That's not to say the vision is hazy but that the silhouette, the lines and the textures of the black all come together so solidly that the absence of first-hand touching can be more than compensated for.  Like I said before, fashion hacks that constantly promote clothes that are 'easy' and 'effortless' have perhaps produced repetitive banality on some level in fashion, so it takes a singular and stubborn point of view like Vaccarello's, one that is resolutely sexy and empowering to send a wake-up call out there, that making the effort is ultimately worth it.  That one's sense of daring in personal attire shouldn't be entirely diminished. 

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(Images not watermarked by Morgan O'Donovan for Dazed Digital, Images watermarked by Daniel Beres for Bureau Betak)

16 comments

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  1. GINGER FASHION MONSTERS

    2011-03-11 at 1:21 PM

    just another proof that black is one of best tones you can work with, the diversity of this collection just proves it. thanks for highlighting the importance of the texture, no internet coverage like photos or videos can really translate it….!

  2. Jo Davies

    2011-03-11 at 1:44 PM

    As believers in black ( http://www.blackwhitedenim.com ) we applaud Anthony on his work and your write up too Susie – thank you

  3. Fashion Agony

    2011-03-11 at 1:50 PM

    Gorgeous collection, would love to get my hands on some of those pieces!
    xoxo
    http://www.fashionagony.blogspot.com/

  4. gorete sousa

    2011-03-11 at 2:43 PM

    Great Post and Looks!!!!
    lovely
    xx
    http://www.ilovenystyle.blogspot.com

  5. Barcelonette

    2011-03-11 at 3:24 PM

    the golden make up is great!!!!
    http://www.barcelonette.net

  6. Olive

    2011-03-11 at 3:40 PM

    Pretty Collections! I always love black dress 🙂

  7. sheisfashionholic

    2011-03-11 at 3:40 PM

    I don’t know why, but the first thing I noticed was make-up! fantastic!
    http://sheisfashionholic.blogspot.com/

  8. Chuck

    2011-03-11 at 6:08 PM

    This is a beautiful collection but ‘the sensuality of women’ as a phrase is something that I’m surprised to see outside of press releases…

  9. susie_bubble

    2011-03-11 at 6:17 PM

    Chuck: Yes, it’s not a phrase I’d normally use either and many collections are supposedly ‘sensual’ but this really is… well, in my opinion anyhow…

  10. Abby

    2011-03-11 at 6:31 PM

    The make-up is beautiful, it almost looks like foil! I love the futuristic vibe with the cuts of the dresses and the bangle, awesome post. xoxo Abby
    http://www.the46thdress.blogspot.com

  11. Ruby

    2011-03-11 at 6:41 PM

    Blacks always look good . Checkout some nautical stripes.
    http://a-lookbook.blogspot.com/

  12. Online Fashion Boutique

    2011-03-11 at 7:30 PM

    Magnificent collection! As always black is the color of sophistication!

  13. Geraldine

    2011-03-11 at 7:45 PM

    He’s genious ! Thank you for posting this !
    Anthony Vaccarello at Balmain ? Really ? Would love to …

  14. Lovely post! Kisses from Paris!

  15. 1

    2011-03-12 at 4:34 AM

    Looks a bit boring. Done decades ago and much better by the Antwerpeners.

  16. chuck n.

    2011-03-13 at 4:21 AM

    the collection seems great though some elements are a bit too similar to christopher kanes’s hideous f/w 2011 collection! the images are amazing too!
    anywho, seeing as you’re probably my favorite fashion blogger, i’d really love it if you checked out my first-ever magazine ALOOF!
    http://thealoofhipster.blogspot.com/2011/03/fashion-is-aloof.html

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