March 6, 2013
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN
HERMES
VALENTINO
CHANEL
JEAN-CHARLES DE CASTELBAJAC
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN
HERMES
VALENTINO
CHANEL
JEAN-CHARLES DE CASTELBAJAC

Wait—day eight? Shouldn’t Paris Fashion Week be over by now? Nu-uh! After this there’ll be one last delivery of fresh runway fashions before our deliverance. (Nine day weeks, they’re sooo hot right now. Because who doesn’t want more time? You know the capitalist market is driven by our desire to extend time and stop death, right?) Anyway, day eight—Alexander McQueen, Hermès, Valentino, Chanel, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. Once upon a few seasons ago, I was annoyed that Sarah Burton had been given the McQueen mantle. I felt that the artist’s label should have died with him. Burton’s Fall 2013 collection has me rethinking that conviction. Her show—ten looks but really five doubled—explored Catholic excess at five levels: communion, nuns, cardinals, popes, and angels. The garments were utterly impractical, selectively saleable, and stunning, and she wouldn’t have made them without the McQueen budget’s backing. Market interests (keep the McQueen brand alive so we can keep selling skull prints en masse) supporting art; love it. What’s more to love: modest Christophe Lemaire at Hermès. This is the last of luxury and I know it because I’ll never be able to afford it. Valentino brought us back to the Catholic Church, as designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli smartly recut the chaste white-collared robe. At Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, the Napoleon of the fashion world, continued his pursuit of symbolic world domination. His collection, unironically titled “Globalization”, was set in a stadium with a multi-story-tall reproduction globe at the center. The clothes were Lagerfeld standard immaculate (10,000-hour rule? Pfft, Karl’s got to at 350,000 by now). Lastly, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac broke our hearts with prints of John Everett Millais’ drowning Ophelia. À demain!

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