I am in Paris for fashion week and everyone is full of expectations waiting for a real “new wave”.  Minimalism is supposed to arrive in full force this season, sweeping through the collections as Jil Sander and Helmut Lang’s visions did in the early 1990’s.

The first real indicator that the mood is minimal is always a white shirt.  The white shirt is a must in every wardrobe.  I have collected them since I bought my first Charvet in Paris in the 1960’s.  I never have enough of them.  Once you start  to understand the wide variations in shapes and lengths each Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, Alaia, Westwood, Margiela, Watanabe, Galliano … all distinct and different – and all are wonderful.

Custom-made Charvet shirts from Paris have always been every elegant man’s dream, from the Duke of Windsor to John Fitzgerald Kennedy…and women too!  Number 8 Place Vendome was the address of the store where I used to buy all my shirts and cufflinks in the 60’s and 70’s.  I was always aware that Jean Pierre Charvet had been the curator of the wardrobe of Napoleon Bonaparte, and that the name “chemisier” was coined because of the Charvet shirts!  Even then, buying history was important for me.

Here, a drawing of a woman’s shirt at the beginning of the 20th Century.

This white jacket from the Spring/Summer ’96 collection was part of Martin Margiela’s exhibition at the Biennale in Florence at the Bardini Museum where a white cotton carpet led into six rooms of the museum, each holding a white cube that highlighted a design.  This week in Paris, Maison Margiela presented another beautiful collection that again translated the Maison’s essence into an environment of white.

Everybody was waiting for the new Rei Kawakubo collection and the new revolution she would bring, opening another path to “new” for fashion.  A stunning feat she seems to find always inside of her to accomplish.

“Crushing” is the name she calls her latest collection, and this was reflected not only in the models wearing crowns of crushed objects over flowing long white hair, but also wearing crushed, thick cotton canvas toile dresses. Graham Hudson was the artist that collaborated on the head pieces.  I have never seen anything like this, ever.

In 1996 Vogue Italia, under the art direction of Germano Celant, curated by Franca Sozzani and installation by Gae Aulenti, organized in Florence an impressive event that involved all the Museums of Florence.  It was called “Time and Fashion”.  For the first time, it brought art and fashion together.

Contemporary fashion designers and artists across many disciplines were asked to join their creative forces and work together. These exhibitions were held at some of Florence’s most prestigious museums and explored the relationship between fashion and art, design, architecture, photography and history.

Here the cover of the Biennale book , drawing by artist Kris Ruhs.

At the Biennale in Florence at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Miyake showed for the first time what was to become his famous pleats and his signature crushed materials.  Both the Galleria Carla Sozzani and 10 Corso Como are very proud that we have hosted exhibitions and presented special edition pieces for our customers of this never ending inventive talent.

Also in Florence at the Biennale, shot here by Martine Franck, the first retrospective of Emilio Pucci.  Pucci moved aggressively into the second half of the 20th Century with the modern woman.  Staged at the Pitti Palace by Pier Luigi Pizzi in 1996,  mannequins were staged on a slow moving runway.

The Medici Chapels in Florence had been the setting for an exhibition of Gianfranco Ferre’s work several years ago with amazing crinolines that highlighted an impressive architectural vision.  This week in Paris I can see Ferre’s influence in some of the most acclaimed designers of the moment, a mark of great respect and affection for his talent.  Here, his crinolines enriched by a drawing of Brunetta.

Brunetta Mateldi was a treasure for those who were in Italian fashion.  Tiny and discrete, she had the talent to be able to draw quickly and spontaneously and that made her an institution in the business.  She worked for the magazine Bellezza, other magazines and many advertisers.  With an incredible sense of humour and a unique eye, her drawings were always a strong fashion signature.

Posted on: Monday, October 1st, 2012

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