The eponymous brand, Alexandre Vauthier, brought the cold to Paris fashion week this spring. The looks consisted of long-sleeved attire, thigh-high boots, and fur. The reason for it? Everyone is vacationing up north these days. Was anyone else left out of the memo?
The runway was filled with sequins, metallic jumpsuits with built-in head scarves, and boxy blazers cinched tightly at the waist. This is an apparent ode to Grace Jones, the eternal muse. The tailoring was immaculate and evident of Vauthier’s tutelage under Thierry Mugler — one of the looks even screamed it. Of course, Alexandre put his discotheque spin on it.
A diametric jumpsuit shown on Africa Garcia glistened as she glided down the runway. It had a sheer black dress overlay contrasting the lime sequinned jumpsuit underneath. The lime was Alexandre’s contribution to this otherwise Mugler-esque piece. It twisted across her chest and tailored tight at her midriff. Below it, an asymmetrical skirt was tucked in the centre like a 21st-century toga and cascaded down her right leg while her left was exposed. It revealed the scaley chartreuse pant that danced in companionship with the bright lights.
It was like an allusion to a mermaid surfacing from the water. Everything about it was regal and quietly exuberant.
A Waste of Wisdom
I recalled his eight years at Jean Paul Gaultier as head of couture. I was disillusioned with the realisation of the dull flair in this collection. Tame and unoriginal, the most considerable risk Vauthier took this season was adopting the colour of atomic, bile green. It was fabulous on the faux fur coats and the colour-blocking blazer that contrasted black, slouching trousers. The designer demonstrated his mastery of geometric silhouettes with this look. The model’s neck was enveloped in an angular jagged collar. It slanted across the model’s chest, where boning sat adjacent and protruded from the breast. This created shape, shadow and dimension in a monochromatic garment. It was clever; I’ll give him that.
Yet, any subscriber of couture knows skill will not obscure a collection where creativity was clearly limited, and it was pretty evident this season. A charcoal velour dress had a peek-a-boo element, where a bright tangerine spangled lining and matching boots grappled for my attention. Much was left to be desired, mainly because the gown’s intention was clear. And even then, it needed to be more robust and original. Mostly because he did something similar in his Autumn 2022 collection and did it better.
Alexandre Brings the Club to the Runway
Back in the noughties, I was given a refresher on my idea of hell — tacky tulle and ruffles worn at those sweet sixteen parties on MTV. It was a gathering at most. Many dresses were old-fashioned, aside from the one-shoulder cocktail dress in Look 19. It boasted reflective diamond paillettes that resembled a disco ball and were exciting. The others needed to be updated and not in a throwback celebration of the 70s way.
Iris Law, a model favourite of Vauthier’s, closed the show with a black velvet dress and enormous puffed sleeves. This was, unbelievably, the most haute component of the look. An attempt to recreate flower petals with chromatic pink ruffles ornamented the dress. Unfortunately, it was slightly obscene and certainly garish.
It Should’ve Been Ready-To-Wear
The knowledge of Alexandre’s creative genius plagues me; it was so loud and apparent in his previous works, both within the brand and during his reign at Gaultier. This show attempted to continue the brilliance he exhibited back in 2018. A crack that is unworthy of much credit. I would have thrown the jumpsuits into last season’s ready-to-wear collection and the tulle in the trash. The craftsmanship was beautiful, and the body of work had potential. In particular, the padded shoulder jumpsuits, with silhouettes that slimmed drastically as they tapered down. They were very reminiscent of the infamous disco pants. I pray for this collection to be an anomaly in his portfolio.
It may do Alexandre Vauthier some good to consider that Grace Jones’s outfits were only beautiful because she wore them.
Misty Lamb is a contributing writer at SSEDITORIAL who imparts a fresh perspective contemplating fashion and its place in the modern world.