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Saint Laurent, Ready to Wear, Fall Winter, 2013, Paris
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Saint Laurent Paris FW13: runway review “Walk of Shame”

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Hedi Slimane finally crashed the legacy of Yves Saint Laurent after carefully burning down the archives with respect last season. And along with that, he succeded in two manners: one having us editors start our papers with no choice but his name, two killing the historical idea of a singular Parisian Woman.

Conservatives will of course enrage that their iconic French House of Fashion has finally embraced a globalized universe of inspirations instead of focusing on a proud national ideal. The fact that this new collection repositions the style of Saint Laurent closer to classics of brit punk Vivienne Westwood and stares into the imaginations of contemporary glam-trash authors like Breat Easton Ellis means that Saint Laurent is now a real worldwide brand with connections to pop culture in a way only top competitor Chanel has ventured in earlier.

But what worries us most is not these new grunge inspirations. We always knew that could be expected with Rock and Roll Pope Hedi Slimane.

What really worries us is the manifesto behind the attitude and styling the models showed on stage. Disfigured and washed out by a dark and dull make-up, they look like venturing back from a night of abuse. Even Cara Delevingne looked incredibly hungover. Although we’re not patronizers on contemporary morals, how should parents look at this show? A blunt statement about the irresponsible life of their children? A warning call to attention for a depressed youth?

As fashion is concerned, we’re pretty amazed at how darkest designers like Rick Owens might (or not) feel challenged by this unsubtle but smart posture. Times are dark, and designers work their way either through it or around it. The truth is now alight: Hedi Slimane drove right through them on a blazing chopper.

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Carven RTW FW13
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Paris Fashion Week review: Carven FW13

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Guillaume Henry has been raising constant praise from both experts and fashion addicts for a couple of seasons now. What we loved in this latest runway show is that while most coolifying brands (Kenzo we’re looking at you) are mimicking the graphical taste of young hipsters for exotic fauna (Urban Outfitters issued a range of OhhDeer products last season), Carven has dived into the possibility of elegance while printing full-sized animal patterns. So here we bring to you… the Bambi coat.

Carven RTW FW13
Carven RTW FW13 (c) Nowfashion.com
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Shopping Top French Brands #1

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Every week or so, follow our editor slash pro-buyer VQ into the depths of the Internet to single out your best shots at stylish and promising french brands and designers. When it comes to contemporary fashion, we tend to overlook what Frenchies can do. Quite an error, shall we say? Here’s a first style why.

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Brooklyn We Go Hard Baholo Shirt – 88£

This shirt by young label BWGH is all about mixing the comfort of vintage denim to two eye-catching details: the very graphical indie patterns on the breast pockets and a very streetwear-inspired hoodie.

Etudes Locomotion red-dyed denim
Etudes Locomotion red-dyed denim – 87,5£

These red-dyed jeans by Parisian-New Yorker label Etudes is a must-have. The fabric is incredibly reliable and the dying technique is perfectly mastered. The cut is a perfect mix of vintage higher waist and contemporary fitted lower legs. Eagle eyes will spot the subtle two-colored waist, a signature move of the label since it was called Hixsept.

Veja Frenchtrotters High Top Sneakers
Veja Frenchtrotters High Top Sneakers – 140€

French sneaker-maker Veja teamed up with parisian concept-store Frenchtrotters to create this pure high top pair. All Veja materials are ecologically elaborated in Brasil, from cotton to leather and tint. This burgundy reference is dark enough to be elegant and stripped of any streewear feel. It matches the level of desirability of cult Common Projects, with a much easier price tag.

###Instagram us @vuquan if you shop the look or part of it!

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DRS - Spring Summer Capsule Collection
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DRS: a new project by Warmi’s founder

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Colombian-born french designer Sylvia Toth started Warmi a few years back, developing quite a desirable line of delicate knitwear made in South America. Moving from that first contemporary success, she has started a new brand called DRS. Following the very graphical path set by Warmi’s designs, Sylvia now creates dresses like paintings. All pieces are silk-screened near Paris. First drops of this more than sexy capsule collection can ben seen in the US but also at Cancan30 in Paris or online at L’Exception.com

DRS - Spring Summer Capsule Collection
DRS – Spring Summer Capsule Collection
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goyard
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Goyard – Le Rendez-Vous [clip]

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We can’t really afford them (yet!), but we Boulevardiers are really fond of our national treasures of savoir-faire. Among those, trunk maker Goyard in Paris. This new short movie shoes glimpses of glamour and a handful of technicity. Or the other way around. Beauty is seriously crafted as style is forevere made in France.

Goyard – Le Rendez-Vous from Sam & Raph on Vimeo.

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Domaine des Hautes Glaces x Le Dixieme by atelier Xavier Forêt

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When it comes to good taste, your very own editor here VQ believes that it’s not only a matter of being trendy, it’s really a state of mind. So when we tasted [MINIMUS], a strong yet very fine and delicate single malt from french organic distillery Domaine des Hautes Glaces and discovered a liquor conceived with a modern style, we decided something had to be done to make a statement about its true quality.

Via LE DIXIEME for art direction, we asked craftsman and designer Xavier Forêt to come up with a sleeve that would suit both a bottle of [MINIMUS] or a 13″ laptop/documents, as we were convinced in a contemporary gentleman’s/lady’s lifestyle, spirits are spilled into fine work at day and into fine glasses at night, but should be equally adapted into an everyday part of an outfit. So we designed this singular item that will be sold on a limited quantity starting mid-November in a short list of concept-stores Europe-wide.

 

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Saint Laurent, Ready to Wear, Spring Summer, 2013, Paris
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Paris Fashion Week review: Saint Laurent Spring Summer 2013

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While commentators and editors here and there remain skeptical after the parisian show (watch the feud between Cathy Horyn and Hedi Slimane), we went after any reason to foresee a bright future for (Yves) Saint Laurent (Paris). Did Slimane bring any decisive twist to the legendary house of fashion?

 

Everything started with a comical move  of the studio to Los Angeles. Then came a bold re-branding. Yves Saint Laurent should now be called Saint Laurent Paris, all thanks to the gracious will of the new captain on board: provocative and reckless Hedi Slimane, a while after having reset menswear silhouette at Dior Homme in the early 2000s, has now as mission to develop his  own vision of La Femme Saint Laurent. Many have now perceived the distinct hommage to Yves’ legacy as an undary move, but we think it reveals the real stakes of the game.

 

Hedi Slimane actually never directed a major womenswear line. His main achievements were to be found in the menswear dressing: menswear at YSL back in 1996, then Dior Homme as one should know. His universe has since then accompanied (if not “defined”?) a major chunk of contemporary culture: rock and roll. From the raw Kills on stage to the more opportunist brand The Kooples, the idea of a dry minimalism, untamed spirit with a covert indie fire ready to burn everything, the Slimane touch is now a petit standard in the fashion field and around.

Now what does this first Saint Laurent collection show? Our point is that this was a carefully negotiated turn, taken with the violence of a slap to expectations of a  too fast too furious crowd. Let’s see the method: at first, crossing real borders to overtake imaginary and creative ones later [the studio move out of Paris]. Secondly, stir up the identity to redefine it sharper [the name change], as a well-known marketing coup: naming strategies say a lot. Eclipsing the first name (Yves) sucks the personal touch out to find a broader territory for the brand (Paris), the intuition is as perfect as the manifest is obvious: Saint Laurent will care about being the most parisian of french brands. To conclude, reset the boundaries, break down a diagnosis to finally inoculate new ideas [the show]. With this Spring Summer 2013 collection, Slimane certainly acknowledges Yves Saint Laurent’s legacy, but he also prepares in the undertext his new interpretation: Slimane likes a wild and free style. His effort is made in a sharp movement barely to be seen on the runway, in a game of dissimulation/reveal of a gaze under the shadow of a hat (what a perfect feminine accessory!), in the nervous fluidity of a cut.

All these details are sneaked into obvious styles recognizable by any fashionista, but they are as many arguments and characteristics that are the foundations of a major signature to come. Hedi SLimane is seizing power delicately: with an iron fist (indie metal?) in a velvet glove…

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Bérangère Claire looks - Fall Winter 2012
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French Brands To Watch #1: Bérangère Claire

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French designer Bérangère Claire started back in 2007 with a simple quest that would set the mood for parisian elegance for the years to come: bring some fresh inspirations from the US to Parisians and other frenchies. As she started interpreting her love for american vintage prints and air from the west, gingham patterns and other checkered shirts began to blend into european outfits. The trend finally reached a peak around 2010, when hipsters and common fashionisti all sported an effort to like lumberjacks from Wyoming.

Now that good old Terry Richardson is out of hype, brands have set on a more subtle quest for a contemporary take on vintage inspirations. After giving birth to her first child, Lorraine-born Bérangère Claire has given a new boost to her very preppy collections a wild twist by creating since 2011 jackets in both menswear and womenswear collections.

Bérangère Claire looks – Fall Winter 2012

Furiously discreet as we found her when meeting back in 2009 for Le Dixieme concept-store, she attracted nonetheless all but the best indie artists into her wake. Artists such as Brodinski and Mondkopf, Teki Latex or Yuksek (all young guns and french mughuls of the electro-dance music scene born fluo a few years back) have all got a crush for her vision. The young crew has created graphical collaborations and made their way into the hearts of a passionate young crowd. However fast-cool the brand has always been, it is remarkable that Bérangère Claire is still giving life to very mature collections that would fit right into Brooklyn or Shoreditch streets. Who better than a french girl to draw the best out of british and american fashion?

Her story goes online every so often via her journal here.

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