Elsewhere in Paris: Isabel Marant, Leonard, Moynat and Baccarat
The rain from the Bay of Biscay may have engulfed the City of Light, but the mood was sunny and optimistic at Isabel Marant and Leonard, quietly confident at Moynat and effervescent at Baccarat.
Isabel Marant: Full throttle beachwear
Not many designers have a bigger heart than Isabel Marant, whose casts treat her like the big sister they wished they always had.
Not for Isabel the agonizing trauma of many designers as they attempt to squeeze a collection out of their imaginations. With Marant creation seems to come far more easily, just like her clothes, which are insouciant, upbeat, understandable and generally very cool.
Though she unveiled her latest ideas in the urban splendor of the Palais Royal, and threw a hectic drinks party post-show, this Spring/Summer 2022 collection had only one destination: the beach. Preferably at sunset, so as to look great in parachute-shaped blouses and pants, floating off the figure in Japanese and graffiti prints.
Marant fully understands the female figure, so her deep-pocket boxing shorts and parachute pants flattered and never engulfed the models. Paired with frilly bra tops, bustiers or hippie-chic Ladakh mini gilets, they made for a great opening section.
Her overall inspiration were the sporty 90s style photos of veteran Swiss photographer Hans Feurer, which managed to marry athleticism and sexiness. Just like this collection did.
Moynat on the move
One venerable brand that had stayed a tad too venerable is Moynat, though the arrival of new creative director Nicholas Knightly in the past year suggests that the house may be about to gather real momentum.
In his first steps, Knightly is keeping it personal, particularly in his debut bag, an elegant shell-shaped bag called the Flori. Nicholas named it after his horse, a dressage stallion he keeps in his country house in Gloucester.
Made frequently in the house’s Art Deco, multi-"M" toile, and finished with precision steel buckles, they had a precise, attractive style. Better yet, the brand provides an in-house artist free of charge, who can paint on clients’ initials and stripes of their choice. The Paris store’s artists can even paint remarkably concise retro styles with great grace. Classy customization at its most intelligent.
"It’s a tradition that dates back to when liners docked at a port, and there were literally hundreds of huge trunks. So, the only way your staff could recognize your trunk was thanks to a bright stripe and decoration," explains Knightly, an English gent who spent almost 15 years at Vuitton, before being hired last year to revamp Moynat.
"I love working at heritage brands like Moynat" said the designer of the label, which was founded in 1849 on nearby Avenue de l’Opéra. When one editor admired and photographed a smart new black graphic logo tote, the designer politely explained that its his own personal one.
"There’s lot to do, and quite a lot in the pipeline. Though creating great bags and accessories involves a long lead time," explained Knightly, who, when asked why there was no Moynat wheelie, explained that, as top-notch brands like to design every individual piece, that should appear in about 12 months.
However, the brand still desperately needs to change its flagship store, whose dull burgundy glass exteriors remind one of a dental clinic with surly dentists on the inside. Plenty to do, even if Moynat now seems to have been pointed in the right direction.
Leonard: Nefertiti in the Loire
The French have always had a thing for Egypt, ever since Napoleon’s expedition there in 1798, and Jean-François Champollion subsequently becoming the first person in the modern world to decipher that land’s ancient hieroglyphics.
That admiration continues today chez Leonard, where designer Georg Lux references the land of the pharaohs in a party time collection. And video, in a shoot capturing beauties frolicking around a pool and chateau down the Loire Valley.
Lux took great Coptic Egyptian prints with jagged friezes and desert flowers and whipped them into V-neck poolside dresses, tops and pants.
He also dipped into the archive for a fantastically bold dahlia print for several uber-bright Lycra cocktails. The house also developed a new interlocked "L" monogram print, seen in polo shirts for boys and soft jersey blazers for gals. There’s even a barely-there chain metal logo top.
"If you wear it when sunning yourself, it will leave you with a logo graphic on your torso," chuckled Lux.
Baccarat: Brilliant with the baby designers
One can never fault Baccarat for not taking risks. Like this week in Paris, when it unveiled a series of surrealist and pop-cultural crystal glasses by an eclectic gang of creators in tribute to its famed Harcourt glass.
On Thursday, it revealed the link-up featuring 11 bright young things and their visions of the Harcourt – a six-dimple goblet that is celebrating its 180th anniversary this year. We're talking about creatives like the coolest after-party DJ, Honey Fucking Dijon; Benjamin Benmoyal, the star of La Caserne Paris’ new creative center; or Festival de Hyères winner Tom Van der Borght.
Catching the light on display in Baccarat’s beautiful mansion in Place des États-Unis were pieces by Victor Weinsanto, whose Harcourt Queer goblet looked like a beating heart, or Charles de Vilmorin’s Harcourt Family, which had beautifully illustrated fish practically swimming off cut glass. While Lebanese-born, Paris-raised Mira Mikati chimed in with Harcourt Pop, a series of neo-Memphis looks covered in crochet.
Other innovators to have participated include Imane Ayissi, Clara Daguin, Jarel Zhang, Kévin Germanier and Yoshikimono. A witty and faintly wild project put together by Laurence Benaïm, France’s most famous fashion historian.
The display comes two weeks after Baccarat announced solid bounce-back figures, as first half 2021 revenues exceeded pre-pandemic levels, rising 19.9 % to 86.6 million euros. Good to see the grand dame of glassware in such fine and fighting fettle.
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