Xuan-Thu Nguyen's Exquisite Strip Show
No, I haven't resorted to reviewing the costumes of exotic dancers for blog content, though that would be hilarious. It would certainly be a unique front row experience. Funny, I'd actually get to see the clothes longer than I would at an actual collections show! (Not sure there's value in that, however...)
Ahem. I had the absolute pleasure of attending Xuan-Thu Nguyen's couture show in Paris a little while back. You may be familiar with her if you've read this and this. And I already talked about my evening at her Paris atelier and boutique the night before her show here. So let's get right into the collection!
Thu is known for her detail which can be both exquisite and whimsical. She uses lots of pleats, specially designed and placed pockets, hand embroidery, stoles made not of fur but handcrafted flowers (see first photo below), and her signature feature at the moment is a layering and intermingling of strips of silk to create luxuriously textured and dimensional dresses, skirts and jackets.
Some of these photos I took, and the straight-on runway shots are from Vogue Paris. The Vogue site allowed for zooming in on detail (a great feature for a show like Thu's!) so I'm able to show the fantastic shoes, all of which are designed by Xuan-Thu Nguyen. I got a shot of two flower-embellished pairs backstage (I was so entranced with the clothes I hadn't noticed the shoes until after) but most of the girls were changed within a few minutes, so I was lucky to get anything!
The ribbons on the dress and the overlapping strips on the shoes look like some kind of exquisite exo-skeleton:
The way this skirt moves is incredible to watch. I'm not sure how many layers it took to build it up but it's quite weighty and is an entity unto itself - it commands absolute attention as it floats by.
These pants might appear to make the model look terribly hippy in the photo, but they are divine in person, I swear to you. One of Thu's signature features from this and recent collections is extended pockets that give the pants a clean, sculptural quality. I love her ribbon treatment on the shoes:
Again, the photo below does not do this outfit justice. When I was at Thu's atelier the night before, a model was being filmed walking in it. It was the first piece I saw from her collection and it was so chic and so original I wanted to cry. The fabric is some kind of nubby knit with metallic threads running through it - so gorgeously textured. The outfit prompted a standing ovation at the show. I wish I had photos of the pants from behind, they are very sculptural and created a shape that is quite odd yet extremely feminine and flattering. Sounds like those two elements can't co-exist? That's why it got an ovation.
Isn't this jacket amazing? It was sans sleeves the night before the show (it works just as brilliantly as a vest) and I was watching one of Thu's knitters working on it. It's hand-knitted using linen ribbon with soft metallic threads which looked fairly delicate when just lying there but when it's all woven together it takes on the appearance of raffia.
I had to snap these two. Although they were engaged in polite after-show conversation, it appears that they are about to have a 'style-off' where I imagine that umbrella would come in handy for posing - double points. I declare a fabulous tie!
And here's me and Thu. Have I mentioned she's awesome? Since this is as close to a styled post as it's going to get for a while, here goes: next season Xuan-Thu Nguyen jacket (from her RTW Fall 2009 collection), Cacharel silk dress and Wendy Brandes SmacEnroe necklace.