Fashion Network – January 13th, 2019

Prada: de Chirico gents meet neat post-punks

Godfrey Deeny

Few events will better sum up the mega trend for polished menswear better than the latest show by Prada, where the spirit of New Wave encountered Italy’s greatest post-war painter.

Guests entered the soaring Fondazione Prada art center on Sunday afternoon to find two enormous sunken courtyards, in the middle of which stood all-white cut-out equestrian statues. Pastel floor patterns, moody lighting and red archways all evoked one of the dreamlike paintings of Giorgio de Chirico.

“I wanted an anti-heroic statement, so my equestrian statue had to have spindly legs,” chuckled designer Miuccia Prada.

Yet, like the solitary figures that populate any of the painter’s oils, Miucciaʼs cast were carefully dressed, over half of them in refined coats – whether lush double-breasted shearlings, or slim technical gabardine raincoats, velour corduroy trenches, or steely gray wool town coats. The must cunning piece of outerwear was finished with large patch pockets in waterproof microfibers, like Dixon of Dock Green in Milan.

Busy young men, that walked quickly through the two stagey piazzas, as the audience of some 1,000 gazed down from elevated bleachers eight meters above.

Miuccia cut some incomparable jackets; with broad sleeves, five-inch-wide lapels and enveloping shapes they looked like they belonged to the models’ big brothers. Shirt collars were long and pointy, with many models wearing thin ties and carrying satchels. Before the show went into overdrive with combinations of patent leather shearling gilets, slim pants and huge-soled wellingtons and farmer boots.

“I wanted to praise work. Not just the idea of the devoted artisan, but the importance and vitality of work for everyone. I think that the millennial generation didn’t quite get that. They think everything comes easy. But that’s not the case. You have to work really hard in this life to get what you want. The next generation seems to get that idea,” insisted the Italian designer post show, winning the biggest ovation so far, after five days of shows between Florence and Milan.

The soundtrack was a brilliant meeting of New Order and Richard Wagner, an assemblage of live bootleg recordings which meant nobody could track the tunes on Shazam. Two of New Order’s single covers were inspired by de Chirico’s metaphysical paintings.

“I found that remarkable, and the fact that New Order were into Wagner, they used to play Das Rheingold to open their concerts! When I discovered that…” smiled Miuccia, indicting with both hands a path ahead.

Honeysuckle – October 29th, 2019

Frédéric Sanchez: The Sound Designer Who Makes Prada Sing

By Xinyu Wang

The sound of Frédéric Sanchez is unmistakable, unavoidable. It has rung over the bright, cheery show stages of Prada, hovered over Natalie Portman’s sun-lit Dior campaign like an eerie memory, and boomed in true 90s grunge fashion as a wild Donatella flung her hair to his beat. In Mr. Sanchez’s 31 years working within the fashion industry, he has collaborated with everybody from the artist Louise Bourgeois to the Louvre museum to his most loyal “partner in crime” Miuccia Prada. Whatever his task may be, however dreamy, ethereal, and cerebral the assignment presented, Mr. Sanchez never fails to sneak something dark and throbbing into these artistic visions– like a subversive sub-plot eagerly unfolding beneath the organic narrative.

Take his work for the Prada Fall 2019 show as an example. A field of light bulbs lit up the venue like will-o’-the-wisps in a modern mechanical graveyard, and models’ thick-soled loafers and military boots crushed against the granite-colored spikes paved on the floor. In the air, the music segued between electronic pulses to romantic strings to dramatic keyboards, slowly constructing a scene in the viewer’s mind of a dark netherworld. The show’s title was “Anatomy of Romance”, and Sanchez’s soundtrack played perfectly against Ms. Prada’s fantastic imagination. Or, play any of his composition and close your eyes, and your wildest day-dreams will materialize through the pure evocative power of sounds. There’s a whole forest humming to its own animated heartbeat in his work for Nina Ricci Fall 2019; a Matrix world with unknown forces running up and down in a grid-planned city in Berluti’s campaign; and a desert caravan playing on airy, wooden instruments in Hermes. But then again, these are my imaginations, and yours likely will differ. Amazing is Mr. Sanchez’s ability to jug on these faculties of his viewers’ mind and open up a parallel world of fantasy and imagination, and it’s an immense pleasure to have him answer a few questions here at Honeysuckle Magazine about his influences and his work process.

HONEYSUCKLE: How did you become a sound designer? And what drew you to designing sounds for the fashion industry in the first place?

MR. SANCHEZ: Since I was a child, I was fascinated with the work of certain musicians. The way they could develop their aesthetic through the production and the visuals: record sleeves, expressionist or theatrical concert performance… I also understood that I could talk about myself through music, that it could be a very important part of my own mythology and a mirror to the passing time. But I never imagined that I could work with this passion.

Then, when I left school, I was lucky enough to meet people that became my mentors. First in the theatre field and after in the fashion industry, where I discovered how important music can be for a fashion show. S,o I created my own language in order to make this even more important.

HS: It must have been a long journey since 1988, when you designed the soundtrack for Martin Margiela’s first show. How do you think the industry has shifted with time? Do these changes influence your work?

SANCHEZ: When I started working with Martin, which was the first designer for whom I created a soundtrack, I had to invent my own language and aesthetic. So, I bought a reel-to-reel tape machine because I had the idea you could edit music in the same way you could edit films. This very raw and organic way to make soundtracks was a way for me to make myself stand out from musicians or DJs.

Oddly, it became a sort of manifesto for what became the 90s’ minimalist aesthetic. Then at the end of the 90s, I felt that I had to make a change, and I started working with sophisticated software. This gave me so many possibilities that I wanted to use a lot of references, and my work shifted from minimalist to maximalist. This was also happening with fashion designers’ work at that time. So as I always try to keep my work in movement, I can say that since the first Martin Margiela show, my work has always shifted naturally with what was going to happen.

HS: You and Prada have been working together for a very long time. How did you come to design sounds for her? What is it like to work with her?

SANCHEZ: I met Miuccia Prada in New York in 1994 . This was my first season there, and by coincidence I had the opportunity to work for her. It was for a Miu Miu show. Then she asked me to work also for Prada. As she is a designer who always comes up with new ideas each season and goes in directions nobody expects, I find working with her always a very interesting challenge.

HS: What do you keep in mind when designing sounds for runway shows? There’s the clothing, of course. But are other factors (lighting, set design, etc.) a big part of it as well?

SANCHEZ: I look at everything: the light, the set, but also the architecture of the venue and its acoustics. All these elements are very important for me. But more than the clothes, I find the conversation I have with the designer and the way we conceptualize what we are doing to be the most important. It is an intellectual work.

HS: What’s your creative process like? Do you start with a piece of sound, or do you start with art from other mediums, like literature, photography, or films?

SANCHEZ: As I said before, it is the conversation which is the most important. And yes, it could be a book or a film, but it could also be what is happening in the world. I find it very inspiring when there are a lot of ideas put together. This is why I usually love to look at moodboards where fashion designers pin many images.

HS: Who are some artists you look up to or have always inspired you?

SANCHEZ: I have always been inspired by artists using different mediums and also artists with a theatrical edge. This is why I love Richard Wagner’s opera. My culture really comes from this idea of total art, what is called “gesamtkunstwerk“.

HS: What are some of your favorite books?

SANCHEZ: I am very French in my taste: Marguerite Duras, Marcel Proust. But I also enjoy reading theatre plays very much. They are great for the imagination.

HS: Who are you listening to recently?

Mr. Sanchez: Recently, I was listening to a lot of Brazilian music, and I also discovered a new American singer from the West Coast: Jessica Pratt. We are going to play one of her songs for the Anna Sui show in New York.

Honeysuckle: What are a few of your proudest compositions? And what were these mixes like?

SANCHEZ: I cannot really answer about what my favorite compositions [are]. What I am very proud of is to have built long relationship with certain designers. It is my comfort zone in a field not known for sustainability.

Business Of Fashion – September 19th, 2019

Prada’s Deliberate Naivety

By Tim Blanks

​MILAN, Italy — All the sophisticated technological gambits in the world have brought us to this. They promised a quantum leap in consciousness and connectivity. Instead, they gifted us Zuckerberg and Bezos and Brexit and Trump and a coterie of phoney strongmen who burnish their egos and plump their bank accounts while the Amazon burns and biblical storms swamp the planet. Now hope lies in the innocence of a Swedish teenager and the millions of children around the world that she has inspired, their futures torn away by antediluvian robber barons in the name of short-term profit. But Greta Thunberg is extraordinary proof that naïveté can speak truth to power.

This isn’t to say Miuccia Prada is innocent. She has a past of fierce political activism, and her recent collections have simmered with anger. But her show on Wednesday night drew on a different energy. It was so Zen-serene that it could almost have been a collection for the end of the world, or at least the end of the fashion industry. It was deliberately naïve in its simplicity. Miuccia said that she’d originally wanted it to be even simpler but, in the end, she loved fashion too much not to introduce overtly fashion-y flourishes, like the graphically patterned knits. Still, she insisted the opening look was her favourite. That was Freja Beha Erichsen in a ribbed grey top, a gauzy white mid-calf skirt and loafers, with Guido Palau’s boarding-school-strict side-part. No extraneous detail whatsoever. I can’t imagine what could have been simpler, short of nudity.

The gently lyrical soundtrack from longtime collaborator Frederic Sanchez drew on various permutations of the French group Air’s career. With that in our ears, it was hard not to feel the humanity in Miuccia’s collection. “In this moment where everything is excess — too much fashion, too many clothes — I tried to work it so the person is most important,” she said afterwards. And how did she achieve that? By making each woman complicit in the clothes she was wearing. OK, I might be overstating that, but it really wasn’t so difficult to imagine someone collecting shells to make her own necklace, or whisking up a skirt from a piece of muslin. (She’d scarcely even need to hem it. Miuccia didn’t.)

That wasn’t the whole story. There were mosaic -patterned knits and jacquard pantsuits. There was also a gold leather suit with a three-quarter sleeve, and the most gorgeous scarf-backed black dress, like something Adrian would have designed for a Golden Age of Hollywood diva. But these looks felt like an old-time adjunct to the main story, like a backwards glance at an era that had already been co-opted by the beautiful body of the collection. “More simple, less useless stuff,” said Miuccia. Her hats looked made from scraps (albeit python and gold leather). There was a tippet of crushed velvet, and a curlicued high heel that might have been extracted from a bag of goodwill castoffs. Giving new life to old bits and pieces — it’s what these overloaded times demand. Nothing need be as disposable as we have allowed it to be. And fashion figurehead Miuccia Prada made the most irresistibly simple, elegant case for that point of view.

Fashion Network – September 16th, 2019

Le romantisme celtique de Simone Rocha

Godfrey Deeny

​Simone Rocha a puisé son inspiration à des sources obscures, mais ses créations étaient exceptionnellement lumineuses, dans la collection particulièrement mémorable qu’elle a présentée à l’Alexandra Palace dimanche soir à Londres.

Le défilé était présenté dans un ancien théâtre grandiose et complètement en ruines au sein de l’Alexandra Palace, bâti sur Muswell Hill, qui domine la ville de Londres. Le vieux parquet en pin et l’espace brut se juxtaposaient idéalement aux vêtements : un amalgame de romantisme aristocratique, de chic druidique et de punk BCBG. Tous les Londoniens surnomment ce bâtiment en plutôt sale état Ally Pally, un terme affectueux et plein d’admiration pour une vieille amie… tout comme la réaction suscitée par cette collection très spéciale.

Simone Rocha est partie de l’antique tradition celte du Wren Day, ou « jour du roitelet », qui voit des « wren boys » chasser un oiseau fictif, le mettre sur une pique et faire la fête affublés de vêtements de paille et de masques avec une excentricité digne d’un cirque. On célèbre encore le Wren Day chaque année à Sandymount Green, sur la côte dans la banlieue de Dublin, la ville natale de Simone Rocha. Parce que les roitelets chantent tard dans l’hiver, ils représentent l’année qui s’achève, et en tuer un symbolise le passage à la nouvelle année.

Mais l’imagination de Simone Rocha est fertile, et elle a poussé le concept bien plus loin. En ouverture, de très belles robes rebrodées en blanc et bleu de Delft, associées à des mules et des sandales garnies de pointes punk et de talons imitant le verre taillé, en plexiglas. Les robes étaient coupées avec des manches gigot, des épaules pointues, et de savants jeux d’épaisseurs et de transparence.

Mais les jeunes Celtes de Simone Rocha n’avaient rien d’effrayant. Elles offraient au contraire un superbe panaché de trenchs asymétriques, de broderies en paille brute, de volants à n’en plus finir et de multiples rangs de perles. Des brins de paille étaient également tressés dans les cheveux de certains mannequins, qui affichaient tous les âges et toutes les attitudes.

Toute une troupe de it girls – Paloma Faith, Lulu Guiness, Lauren Santo Domingo – un régiment d’acheteurs et tous les rédacteurs qui comptent à Londres avaient accompli le périple d’une heure pour arriver dans le nord, tant est grande la considération dont jouit Simone Rocha.

Avec une bande son fantastique de la part du DJ Frédéric Sanchez, et notamment un mash-up de Flip Flops de Moving Elements, c’était vraiment un moment à part. Et alors qu’on boucle le premier tiers des 29 jours de cette saison internationale, c’était sûrement la collection la plus importante à ce jour.

Simone Rocha s’est attiré une ovation prolongée et tonitruante quand elle est venue saluer avec délicatesse, avant qu’une horde de rédacteurs ne la suivent en coulisses pour la féliciter. Menée au petit trot par Anna Wintour.

Jun 252019

Vogue – June 21st, 2019


Gigi Hadid is shaping up as a versatile impact substitute transplanted from the womenswear runways to this season’s menswear. After a warm-up at Versace, she closed Off-White and then this afternoon’s Berluti, where there were plenty of women’s looks on show for an audience that included Ricky Martin and un des fréres Jonas. Berluti is supposed to be LVMH’s solely all-menswear marque, but Kris Van Assche is not down with the same-sex, boarding school vibe. He said: “This is a man’s brand, there is no doubt, but it is also nice to play with seduction…I told Piergiorgio [Del Moro], ‘Bring me the most beautiful girls in the world, because the world needs beauty!’”

Even without Del Moro’s hotties in their ostrich-hazed suiting and painterly printed silk shirting, there was beauty here, plus a nice logic behind it, in the most interesting new fabrication of the collection. This was a precise studding of what resembled small nailheads, applied to an oversized bomber and backpack and then a suit. It was inspired by Van Assche’s observation that while at work in Berluti’s Ferrara factory, the shoemakers often hold nails between their lips while attaching an upper to a sole. Said Van Assche: “It’s just like when people in the atelier put the pins in their mouth…and I was like, this [Ferrara] is really my atelier now. This know-how is usually under the surface…but I wanted to put it on the outside and use it as an embellishment because it is such an inside part of the house.”

Van Assche again mixed tailoring with moto-inspired pieces to evoke the complementary interplay of heritage values and fashion-forwardness he is working to achieve. This was also exemplified in the orange-accent-soled Alessandro shoes and the orange piping on this season’s bag offer. The color of the suiting, some of which included armless jackets and overcoats, or went Bermuda-formal, was a filtered-up, acidified, accentuated interpretation of the palette of dyes used at Berluti to give its footwear that famous rich patina. The house’s scritto motif (the reproduction of a calligraphically expressive 19th-century manuscript transferred to leather)—once hidden away from the Berluti show-sphere but long a popular category among customers for shoes and small leather goods—was transferred to some of that suiting and other coats and suits tailored in leather. One rare-ish all-black look placed a long perforated topcoat against a studded croc briefcase to emanate cashed-up John Wick menace.

Frédéric Sanchez’s breezy soundtrack blended Anne Clark’s Elegy for a Lost Summer with breathy dialogue from Alphaville to build a beguiling sonic parure at this sometimes beautiful but always Berluti-ful show.

Business Of Fashion – June 16h, 2019

Stitching Opposites Together at Marni

This collection came across as a commercially astute proposal from the designer, who already proved himself a master of prints. Now we get that he’s also a pretty mean tailor.

MILAN, Italy — Each guest at the Marni show on Saturday was assigned a dot to stand on, like a great big game of Twister, because twisting is what Francesco Risso does best. The role he played on Saturday was wedding planner. He imagined his show as the ceremonial union of Truman Capote and Che Guevara, the mixing of two worlds opposed beyond all comprehension: pretty-boy Capote in the famous photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson, guerilla Guevara in the equally iconic image by Alberto Korda. Risso envisaged Capote abandoning high society refinement to embrace “the jungle of radicalism.” In the baldest fashion terms, this could be reduced to a knit polo shirt vs. a camo jacket. Risso gave us that. But there was a deeper philosophical thread: do we live our convictions, or do we just wear them on our sleeves?

Risso came at that question from a couple of angles. He insisted his position was humanistic, not political, but that was disingenuous. How can you not exercise some political sensibility when you’re touching on the issues Risso addressed in his show? For one thing, it was staged under a cloud of aquatically-lit plastic waste, dutifully collected for months by Marni staffers from roadsides, seasides, any sides where heedless humans dump their shit. The audience was like a group of post-apocalyptic Ariels, submerged under the Sargasso Sea of plastic that chokes the mid-Atlantic. Risso claimed it would be transmuted by artist Judith Hopf after the show. One man’s garbage is another man’s art? It took soundtrackist Frederic Sanchez to create an aural co-relative. He ground together the X-Files theme, a voiceover by William Burroughs, “Rock Lobster” by the B-52’s, and a honking sax-driven thrash by UK punk pioneers the Damned to create a densely textured difference.

What makes London such an enduring presence is its variety of voices. Good, bad or indifferent, there is always a polyglot energy. It’s easy to miss that elsewhere, and that is why Risso is such a welcome addition to the Milan calendar. This Marni collection actually came across as a commercially astute proposal from the designer. He already proved himself a master of prints at Prada, his previous gig. The Fauvist-camo prints here were equally masterful. And now we get that he’s also a pretty mean tailor. There were suits to satisfy Risso’s most cautious customers. So, knowing all that, I was happy to sit back and enjoy the scenario that Francesco Risso, wedding planner for the Capote-Guevara nuptials, was ready to offer me. Some of the models wore Che’s beret, but others had picture hats spun from garbage by artist Shalva Nikvashvili. Leigh Bowery would have loved them. The footwear was equally schizophrenic: oxfords vs. scuffs, cobbled together from the Lord Of Chaos knows which bits and pieces.

Half and half – it is Risso’s design ethos, embodied by all the jackets and trousers that stitched opposites together. The political import of such togetherness was inescapable.

Document – July 31st, 2018

Frédéric Sanchez and Laurie Anderson discuss the relationship between image and sound

Text by
Blake Abbie

Photography by
Willy Vanderperre

Sound designer Frédéric Sanchez and multimedia artist Laurie Anderson discuss the influence of memories, the relationship between image and sound, and Anderson’s new film, “Heart of a Dog” for Document’s Fall/Winter 2015 issue.

During his formative years, Frédéric Sanchez became drawn to the experimental sounds of John Cage and Brian Eno. Meanwhile Laurie Anderson began playing with people’s perceptions of sound in the 70s by electronically manipulating voices and instrumentals. Anderson’s breakthrough piece, “O Superman,” turned her into a household name in the United Kingdom, where it reached number two on the Singles Chart. Martin Margiela met Sanchez by chance in 1988 and gave him the opportunity to create the soundtrack for his next runway show. Since then, Marc Jacobs, Comme des Garçons, Prada, and Givenchy have tapped the sound designer to conceptualize the music for their collections.

The two artists, who are linked through the common medium of sound, blur the lines between the aural and the visual: Anderson through her work across various mediums, and Sanchez by designing the soundtracks for runway shows and art installations. This fall, Anderson returns to directing with the release of Heart of a Dog. Sanchez and Anderson discuss what it takes to be an artist, how memory affects creative output, and the role of sound and aesthetics in storytelling.

Laurie Anderson—Where are you, Frédéric?

Frédéric Sanchez—In Normandy.

Laurie—Beautiful. What’s behind that sheet on your wall?

Frédéric—On the wall? The windows and some trees.

Laurie—You don’t want to see trees?

Frédéric—Well, it’s nighttime now and when I work in the studio, I like to be surrounded in my cavern. [Laughs] So I know your work very well. And I have some experience with it not a long time ago: Last year I worked on the Prada exhibition Art or Sound, where your work was included. I organized all the sound for the exhibition. I work a lot with them.

Laurie—Can I ask you something? What is that snapping sound?

Frédéric—This sound? [Clicking]. It’s just me playing with my pen! It’s making music! [Laughs]. I remember for Prada a long time ago you did [your holographic installation] Dal Vivo. I was very impressed—it’s really something I’m looking at with my work.

Laurie—In what way?

Frédéric—This idea to be with the sound—or with the image—in two places at the same time.

Laurie—Yes. How does that work with you? How do you make that work?

Frédéric—For me, sound has always related to something with memories, like the experience with my grandfather who couldn’t go back to Spain because of Franco[’s dictatorship]. He was always listening to the Spanish radio. He was in Paris, but at the same time he was in Spain with the sound. What I’m doing all the time with the sound is this research of being in different places in a mental way.

Laurie—Can you give me an example of one of your recent pieces that does that?

Frédéric—Three years ago I did a piece Une utile illusion. It was at Galerie Serge le Borgne in Paris. It used the theater technique where I was reading the description of the scene. It was this idea that the person who listens visualizes his own fantasy. I’m really into that; I always research and work with sound. For a long time that has really impressed me with your work.

“What I’m doing all the time with the sound is this research of being in different places in a mental way.”

Laurie—That’s actually why I usually take music out. Let’s say you have a story about a forest, a storm, and a person walking through it. The last thing you want to do is have imagery or sound connected to that. I gradually pare things down and pare things down until there’s more and more room for the person who is listening to enter into that and use their imagination. What you’re saying is that you have a kind of collaboration with people and leave room for their imagination.

Frédéric—Yes. I remember once listening to you [speak] a very long time ago, and you were talking about a story where you were on a plane. I don’t know if it was from one of your pieces or if it was a real story, which is actually nice—if it’s real or unreal. You were on a plane, and there was someone sitting near you who [looked through the window and] said she didn’t know the stars were so close—but it was actually a city. That is something so poetic, these kinds of ideas. I saw your movie Heart of a Dog, and there’s something about that too. It’s not just images; there is something behind that.

Laurie—I think the film also uses a lot of those techniques because it’s just non-stop talking—just blah blah—and I tried to make that your guide through these ideas and then make the visual language very simple, very loop-like, nothing really complicated. I find a lot of times if something isn’t working I have to ask: What’s leading? Is the story leading? Is the picture leading? Is the music leading? If I find that there is too much going on—which I find is usually the case—I take everything else out except what’s leading. How do you tell your story well? You can start using other things in it, but if it starts getting too fancy, just take it out. I’m always editing to make things simpler. With this film, I kept taking music out, I kept taking pictures out, because they got in the way of the story. The story is the driver—it drives everything. I found that I’m less and less a so-called “multimedia artist” and just someone who is interested in story.

Frédéric—For me it’s something that is a very strange thing in Europe. Because you think that you have the “big past,” but for people like me the past has disappeared because of the last war. I’m trying to reconstruct a story through the sound. The sound has this aspect for me.

Laurie—What are you reconstructing?

Frédéric—Something that has been lost, something that has disappeared. People have disappeared; I’m very concerned today by what’s happening in the Middle East, Syria, when you see these people that have to leave their country. My family lived during the Spanish Civil War, and with the sound I’m trying to capture fragments of memories, to reconstruct these fragments. What is very interesting is that I do this work myself, for my personal work, but at the same time what I do for commercial work is not far from that because of its fragments of pictures, fragments of memories that I put together. Twenty five years ago when I started to do this work, I wasn’t thinking about that, but more and more I’ve learned what was inside me and why I was doing this with the sound. For example, 30 years ago when I was 15, I was completely obsessed with music, but I didn’t see myself as a musician. I was doing things with sound, but it was not really music. Then, more and more, something appears like fate, you try to keep making it appear.

I recently listened to Nothing in My Pockets.

Laurie—Oh, you listened to that? [Laughs]. You’re one of three people in the world who heard that! That’s funny. I loved that project for Radio France. But I would never again do an audio diary, because you would have to listen to all of your days over again. It’s not like reading something—you listen through in real time to decide what to do with it. I loved making it and I hated editing it.

Frédéric—Do you think it’s easier to do with images?

“I’ve thought many times about this idea of making records, but it’s not really my thing. My thing is to build an environment with the sound.”

Laurie—I think so because you can move through them more quickly; you can fast-forward and you can’t do that with sound. You just can’t fast-forward and still get an idea of what it is. I love that sound forces you to listen in real time, I love that about it. It’s a very stabilizing thing for me, because you just have to sit back and let it go in clock-time.

Frédéric—When you make music, do you make images at the same time? When I do, I have to create images at the same time. I go take photographs—there’s a real relationship between image and music or sound. I can’t do sound or music without thinking of images.

Laurie—So then how do you put them together?

Frédéric—I don’t put them together; it just either starts with images or it starts with sound. I’m always going to think of an image, and I’ll do it.

Laurie—Wow, that’s so interesting! So do you have a painting studio right behind that curtain?

Frédéric—Well, I live in Le Havre, which is a great place because it’s very industrial. It’s a great place to make images or take photographs, which will always be related to the sound or music that I do. It’s not that at the end there will be both images and sound; it’s probably only going to be sound. But there is always this idea of images somewhere.

Laurie—Are these still images?

Frédéric—They are still images and moving images.

Laurie—Oh, either way. Wow, I don’t think I know anyone who works like that—who works at the same time but doesn’t combine them. It’s very interesting.

Frédéric—It’s very important for me; I’ve always done it. If I create music—because I do a lot of music for shows, in collaboration with people who use mood boards or images—it’s very important to have this relationship between the sound and the visual.

Laurie—I always advise people who are trying to think of what to call themselves to say “multimedia artist,” because it’s totally meaningless. Also I’ve found that the category thing doesn’t help me much at all. To say that I’m a musician , a filmmaker, a painter, or a writer—I do all those things, but my main aim was to avoid the “art police” who come in and say, “What do you think you’re doing writing a novel? You’re a painter!” Frédéric, you probably became an artist for similar reasons to what I did: you want to be free, you want to make something. But guess what, here come all the categories. Generally that has to do with marketing. When I was doing a lot of music, they would say, “OK, what bin are you going to be in? Electro-pop? Experimental electro? Pop electro? Pop-pop?” I didn’t make any distinctions between what I do, and for the longest time nobody ever asked what I wanted to do, so I didn’t decide. I still haven’t decided, so it’s nice to be vague about what you’re doing. I’m preparing for a painting show now in Geneva, September 16 it opens. Which is kind of ridiculous. It’s coming along! I’m used to doing things that I enjoy doing. I don’t really worry about people thinking, “Why painting? It’s just so retro!” So I don’t care. I don’t really care what people think.

Frédéric—We don’t care!

Laurie—I also have a film installation and some music. Probably like you, you don’t really have to put those into categories. You go out and take some photographs, then you’re back in the studio and you’re not worried that one thing is “music” and one is called “photography.” Right?

“For me, sound has always related to something with memories, like the experience with my grandfather who couldn’t go back to Spain because of Franco[’s dictatorship]…What I’m doing all the time with the sound is this research of being in different places in a mental way.”

Frédéric—In America it is true, but in Europe is it not easy to do it because people are really placed into categories. It’s true that I wanted to do something, to create something. Afterwards you don’t care if it’s sound or image—just something. You go above that. Let’s just carry on.

Laurie—Exactly, just carry on and try to make something beautiful, or dark, or disgusting, just something. Just make things!


Laurie—You’re sitting in your studio now, is there anything you could play for us that would be easy?

Frédéric—Uh, it’s complicated!

Laurie—No, I know I hate when people ask me that and my answer is like, “Ah, not really!” What are you working on now?

Frédéric—At the moment I’m searching for things.

Laurie—Oh, that’s a nice time! How do you search?

Frédéric—I make sounds; it’s always very free. At the moment I’m writing also.

Laurie—Writing words?

Frédéric—Yes, writing something that is quite autobiographical. All my work, a lot of my personal work, is about memories.

Laurie—Yes, I’m definitely suspicious of memories. Think of how much time you spend in the past and how little you’re spending right this second. I’m always thinking of what you’ll say next or what you just said. For me even on a bigger level, I’m always thinking of different time frames than the one I’m in. I would love to be more connected to what’s going on now, but it’s hard when you’re trying to make something. Because a lot of making is trying to remember something, trying to remember it well with all the intensity that it had. In Heart of a Dog, for me, memory was also sound. It was a sound that I had forgotten, the sound in a hospital when I was a kid. I only remembered it through telling a story about myself. I remembered how much fear there was in that situation, and that wasn’t part of my story because it was too hard to tell. At that point, they just moved all the kids into the same place. So if you’re a kid and you’re afraid and all these kids around you are dying, you don’t really know what that is, and nobody really talks about it. Nobody in my family visited me, because they were too busy. So it was very, very scary for me. It was too scary to remember it correctly, so I remembered it in a different way—called repression, as the psychiatrists say. So in the film I tried to represent that sound through silence. There is a section right after that where there is no sound. That, in a movie theatre, is scary; it’s very scary when sound is turned off. It’s different on your computer because you’re surrounded by ambient sound, but when you’re in an immersive sound situation and the sound disappears you think: “Something has happened, something is wrong.” The hairs go up on the back of your neck because you’re thinking, “Did the projector break?” The image is still there but there is no sound. And it’s a very primitive feeling of dread in a way—something broke. I think for me also sound is very connected to true and false memories.

Frédéric—When are you going to show the movie?

Laurie—It will be in the cinema at the end of the month, this August. It will go to festivals. Actually for three or four months it will be out and around and then released in movie theatres.

I like that you’re in a moment of just looking around. I think that’s the greatest moment. The freedom to play different sounds and think, “What is it? Is it the beginning of an opera? An installation?” How do you think of imagining what a sound will become? Do you think something might be a beautiful symphony? Or a static sound under a bridge in a park? Or a pop song?

Frédéric—It’s installations, always in a place, in a room. This is important for me. I’ve thought many times about this idea of making records, but it’s not really my thing. My thing is to build an environment with the sound. The next one is a show I’m doing at the National Library here in Paris. It’s going to be a sound installation.

Laurie—What kinds of sounds will be in the library?

Frédéric—The library has a huge collection of very old recordings from the beginning of the 20th century. It’s called the Museum of the Voice.


Frédéric—It’s really beautiful. They’ve asked me to do something with that, to create an environment.

Laurie—What an incredible project!

Frédéric—Something I had done in the past was using this recording of the Guillaume Apollinaire [reading his poem] Le Voyageur (The Traveler). The project is about this idea of the traveler and all the voices in the library. I had this idea of the library scene in Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders, all the voices.

Laurie—You know, when he was mixing that movie in Cannes he sent me a message saying, “Can you send me some angel fragments? I’m mixing my movie.” I didn’t ask him, “What’s an angel fragment?” I just sent him a little selection of things that I thought sounded like angel fragments. I said, “Check these out and if they work I’ll record them and get you a good copy of them.” I sent him a cassette and he just used the cassette! But the way he used it was so fantastic: he used it as headphone leakage in the scene with a guy on the train.

Frédéric—It was beautiful.

Laurie—You know, he’s so smart about the use of music and all the different ways it can sound. He’s not a purist in terms of the way the soundtrack lays under the dialogue in a movie. He has sound coming from all sorts of sources and distortions and places—it’s so moving. Instead of having the big, monolithic soundtrack where it’s just about emotional manipulation and it’s like, “Here’s how you feel about this house, here’s how you feel about this character.” You’re helpless. He doesn’t do that with music or sound, and I think he’s one of the geniuses that way. I love hearing how he treats and filters music. I’m very excited about the Museum of Voices, when is that happening?

Frédéric—It’s going to be this November.

Laurie—Coming right up! I’m likely going to be there around that time, so I’ll come check it out! I’ll see you then.

Frédéric—Yes, please do!

Document – May 8th, 2018

How Prada’s music producer Frédéric Sanchez landed on 90s classics for their 2019 Resort show

Text by
Megan Wray Schertler
The music producer crafted a show soundtrack inspired by timelessness and Daft Punk for Prada’s 2019 Resort show.

As one of the biggest show music producers in fashion, Frédéric Sanchez has created show music pieces for the biggest names in the fashion industry since his first live show gig for Maison Martin Margiela show in 1988. Ahead of the first Prada’s 2019 Cruise show in New York—its first in the city after a 20-year absence—Miuccia Prada tapped Sanchez, a long-time collaborator with the designer to provide a soundscape for the show that was unquestionably 90s—think lots of Daft Punk and R.E.M. Document spoke with Sanchez backstage at the designer’s headquarters, a former piano factory on West 52nd Street, following the show’s noisy melange of technical fabrics, loud prints, and graphic logos placed front and center.

Document—How did you land on this particular musical direction for the show?

Frederic—When Mrs. Prada and I started talking about the collection, we were feeling nostalgic for certain things that we did in the 90s. There was also a hint of the psychedelic. This season the word we kept returning to was “timeless” and the idea of being without any references, which is kind of completely the opposite of what I was saying five minutes ago. That’s why we used a few pieces of music that felt very iconic from that time, like the first record from the French band Daft Punk that came out around that time. We both said, “This is so iconic that it does not feel old.”

Document—What was the specific mix?

Frederic—I used two specific songs from that record [1997’s Homework], but I kept only the rhythm, and we remixed in a way that makes it even more contemporary. Then, we had three songs mixed with this a track from the film Donnie Darko, Gary Jules’s ‘Mad World’, and then the song ‘Wake Up’ from a band called Mad Season. It’s two musicians, one from a band called Alice in Chains from the grunge era, and another one from Pearl Jam. Then, we used an R.E.M. song.

“I think it’s very difficult to look at what is happening in the current moment because there’s so too much of everything. I think the only way to create something that resonates is to go deeply into yourself.”

Document—What was the R.E.M. song that you used?

Frederic—The R.E.M. song is The One I Love. It’s from an unplugged record.

Document—A total classic.

Frederic—Yes! So very classic songs and very romantic in a way. The obvious thing would have been to use the electronic sounds from Daft Punk to open the show, but we used the song from Donnie Darko, which is a very, very romantic thing. Then, suddenly, you have that clash with the very strong electronic beat coming in. So, it’s really these two things that are clashing through the whole show.

Document—It’s impossible to tell whether something will stand the test time without substantial distance. R.E.M. is a really great example of that. I feel like they hit the peak of their pop-stardom in the 90s then kind of fell out of favor as the decade came to a close. But, I think a lot of their music sounds really fresh now when you revisit it.

Frederic—Yes, yes. And also because the personality of the person that made them, you know? When you think about Michael Stipe or Kurt Cobain, they have become icons. Icons don’t die. [Laughs]

Document—I think they start to mean different things to different generations.

Frederic—I think it’s very difficult to look at what is happening in the current moment because there’s so too much of everything. I think the only way to create something that resonates is to go deeply into yourself.

Document—To let intuition guide you.

Frederic—Exactly, yes. It makes it personal and sensitive.

Document—Mrs. Prada must be a fantastic person to collaborate with in that case. I feel like intuition is very much a tool she uses to navigate each season.

Frederic—Completely. It’s fantastic because she pushes you to go deeply into what you want to create and what you think.

Document—How early do you start working on the soundtracks for the shows?

Frederic—I work for Prada all year long, so I am researching all the time for them, but I called them maybe two weeks ago to discuss music for this show. The process really starts the moment when they put the clothes together and do the fittings, so like a week before the show. I arrived in New York on the Monday before the show and was there everyday. When making the soundtrack for the live event, I always like to use existing music because it’s almost like the effect of perfume. I can transfer emotion through references. There’s a sort of romanticism and poetry to the songs. The rhythm tells you something about modern things, architecture—the modern world as we know it.

Fashion Network – February 24th, 2019

Missoni : classe, net et haut en couleur

Par Godfrey Deeny

La science des couleurs, dont une étude approfondie pour l’une d’entre elles, était au cœur de la dernière collection fluide, aux formes allongées, et du défilé organisé par Missoni ce samedi soir à Milan.

La directrice de la création, Angela Missoni, a choisi un nouvel espace d’exposition – un palais des glaces géant construit dans les années 1920 – et baigné la structure de style Liberty de lumière bleue éclatante.

« On pénètre directement dans un écran bleu… fait pour téléporter les personnages à travers les époques et les lieux, en un clin d’œil », expliquait le programme. L’invitation annonçait les intentions d’Angela : un foulard en soie dans une débauche chromatique de couleurs marbrées, avec un leitmotiv bleu.

Le résultat était une silhouette allongée et gracieuse, avec des variantes sous forme de charmantes vestes en jacquard portées avec des capuchons et des hijabs. Mais les silhouettes les plus spectaculaires étaient ces manteaux en jacquard aux motifs floraux abstraits, portés avec un tchador funky. Pour le soir, des combinaisons et des dos nus étincelants, en lamé bleu saphir.

C’était le dernier d’une série de défilés mixtes à Milan, avec notamment cette saison Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Giorgio Armani et Salvatore Ferragamo. Pas étonnant que la saison masculine de Milan raccourcisse sans cesse !

Pour les hommes, Angela Missoni a imaginé des cardigans en jacquard plein de goût et quelques brillantes vestes en patchwork irrégulier. Des looks classieux pour week-end d’automne frisquet, ce qui se fait de mieux en matière de chic décontracté. Et pour la ville, pourquoi pas adopter ces pardessus dégradés de gentlemen, bleu vif aux épaules puis s’estompant en bleu pacifique sous la taille ?

« Une ligne de conduite claire et pure. Rien de superflu, que du pur Missoni », insistait en coulisses une Angela Missoni tout sourire.

Tous les mannequins étaient baignés de bleu, tandis que la spectaculaire bande-son comprenait le tube culte de Kevin Ayers, « Two goes into Four ». Une chanson appropriée pour une marque qui monte clairement en puissance depuis juin dernier, quand le groupe d’investissement italien FSI a acheté 41 % des parts de Missoni pour 70 millions d’euros.

Le nouveau financeur contribue à développer l’impact de Missoni en matière de distribution, avec une demi-douzaine de boutiques supplémentaires cette année, de Miami aux pays du Golfe, et surtout un magasin amiral sur Madison Avenue.

Vogue – February 21st, 2019


It’s a heavy season in Milan. With the monumental news of Karl Lagerfeld’s death on Tuesday, fashion descended upon the Italian fashion capital in the wake of accusations made against Gucci and Prada that products of theirs referenced blackface. In Prada’s case it was a keyring in the image of a monkey with red lips. After strongly denying any such intention when the news broke in December, last week the house further announced the creation of a diversity council chaired by Theaster Gates and Ava DuVernay. Going forward, the artist and the film-maker will be in dialogue with Prada, making sure the company’s merchandise never evokes any such reference again. Gucci has taken similar action, but the weight of these incidents has transformed the industry in record time. And while it will unquestionably shape a better future for fashion, it currently leaves a thick cloud of disenchantment around the Milanese shows.

“Fear is around us. Danger and fear,” Miuccia Prada said after her show, which expanded the horror themes she investigated in her menswear collection last month. She continued her studies in interpretations of fear, from the terrifying – unadorned military tunics, combat uniforms and minimalism – to comical graphics like Frankenstein’s monster lifted from what she called “trashy horror movies”. “You have to make light because it’s still a fashion show,” the designer shrugged, also name-checking her fuzzy faux fur neon backpacks on that note. Mrs Prada said she added a sense of romance in all the flowers and lace that prettified an otherwise austere collection, seeking to battle the mood of fear with “a source of good”. “Each girl was a piece of a love story of my vision of love,” she explained.

The good with the evil? Frédéric Sanchez sampled an instrumental version of Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ on an exceptionally brilliant soundtrack that deserved its own interpretive thesis. From the thought-provoking titles of songs like Marilyn Manson’s cover of ‘I Put A Spell On You’ and Qual’s ‘Existential Nihilism’, to expressive horror themes like Tales From the Crypt and the opening tune from The X-Files, he very nearly – but not quite – outdid his own soundtrack from January’s Prada men’s show, which featured The Addams Family symphony. Wednesday Addams made several appearances in Thursday’s collection, evoking the familiar idea of nihilistic teenagers – or anti-social adults – who unsubscribe from a world that they fear; in which they feel misinterpreted and mistreated. “Frankenstein’s monster was rejected, but even he was loved,” Mrs Prada reflected, perhaps forgetting how that story ended.

But for all the romance and gallows humour she imbued her collection with in huge flower and monster motifs on silk or knitted dresses and leather skirts – sure to sell up a storm come autumn – the sentiment was undeniably ominous. Asked what it is she fears so much, the designer talked about wars. “Any kind around us. Vile parties and the vile situation in Europe. Strong contrasts growing and growing. In another siècle there would already be a war. I really fear that.” It’s not an uncommon theory: around every turn of the century, a few years before or after the clock strikes twelve, radical revolutions and wars have changed the world with tumultuous impact. What that means in the digital age is anyone’s guess, but the dialogue Mrs Prada has now initiated within her own company is a sensible precaution.

“We work for rich people. We do rich clothes,” she said on the topic of designers and their social conscience. “But somehow fashion is very relevant. There is a request for fashion to talk about political subjects. But to approach political subjects in a world of pleasant things is very difficult. You’ll be criticised. The work is serious but it’s also for pleasure.” Paradoxically – or perhaps not at all – more than her light-hearted horror graphics and romantic floral motifs, it was Prada’s decadent cocktails dresses, glamorous draping and austere tailoring and military garb that felt most desirable for the moment we currently live in.

Apr 162019

Business Of Fashion – January 23, 2019

Versace Goes Big
The strength of Donatella’s new work is the way she embraces it, with love and fearlessness and the same dry wit with which she deals with all the tricky propositions in her life.
By Tim Blanks.

MILAN, Italy — You know the expression, “Go big, or go home”? And that other one: “You can’t go home again”? Donatella Versace is the kind of woman who wants it all. On Friday, she went big AND went home. Going back to her roots, and blowing them skyhigh. As skyhigh as the gigantic safety pin that dominated her catwalk. (The invitation was a box of safety pins.) How good did THAT look when DV posed in front of it? “We’re living on Instagram,” she murmured during a press preview earlier in the day.

Social media-savvy she may be, but Donatella is also a faithful believer in the physicality of fashion. Meaning, the show’s the thing. Frederic Sanchez, back in the fold after some years elsewhere, made a visceral soundtrack which mashed up Nirvana and electronics, the aural counterpart of Donatella’s luxury vs. grunge concept. But she herself has become the fashion equivalent of a DJ, remixing elements of her past to make new shapes the way a musician creates new sounds. It’s enough to make you wonder why more designers haven’t taken a leaf from her book, had a long, hard look at past triumphs and given them a contemporary spin.

It worked here because it felt unhinged. Like the men’s show in January, there were a thousand pieces in play: fabrics, textures, colours fighting each other in gorgeous chaos, but styled into a coherent, perversely irresistible proposal. Well, maybe not quite as coherent as it was in January, but even that seemed like it might actually have been the point. There was sheer deliciousness in a tattered lime green cashmere sweater bunched with jeweled safetypins, laid over a python-printed pencil skirt with a suggestion of red lace at the waist and a faux fox stole gripping Fran Summers’ throat (there must be a celestial fashion consensus that each season dictates how certain models get the best outfits in the shows they walk in – I would say Fran and Adut Akech are the anointed ones for Autumn 2019).

There was something exquisitely lurid about such a look, and that same quality infused the whole collection: satin slip dresses with fluoro lace stockings, or without them, with harnesses instead (like Kiki Willems’s tiny little chartreuse situation); those same harnesses restraining earnest tweeds; big fat coats hiding a multitude of sins (this was a collection for SINNERS); and Adut’s glorious gold mesh column with some odd red lace underpinnings.

Donatella literalised her back pages with a t-shirt that reproduced Richard Avedon’s 1995 ad campaign for the fragrance BLONDE. No prizes for guessing who the blonde in the ad was. She also reproduced the perfume’s Lalique bottle as a print. You can’t go home again? Not true. You can’t escape your past. The strength of Donatella’s new work is the way she embraces it, with love and fearlessness and the same dry wit with which she deals with all the tricky propositions in her life. It’s a very convincing proposition, made even more so by the casual catwalk ambulation of Stephanie Seymour at show’s end, like Donatella saying, “Those women existed and here is one of them, right here, right now, still kickin’.”

Business Of Fashion – January 22nd, 2019

Monsters Reappear at Prada
It might have been one of Miuccia Prada’s most curiously uncompromising collections. She has always twisted tropes to animate her collections, but there’s more urgency now.

By Tim Blanks.

MILAN, Italy — Miuccia Prada loves love, but she hadn’t finished saying what she thought about it in the men’s collection she showed in January. Modern romance is a movable but fiercely compromised feast, so Miuccia used her new women’s collection to expand on her conflicted thoughts. There’s fear in the air, monsters stalk the planet. Love is all we need, but it’s not enough, is it?

Maybe consistency will convince. Miuccia rolled over the same window-dressing that she’d used in January: the same foam-rubber floor with the filament lab lighting, the same safety-pinned heart, the same Hellmouth remakes of classic songs on the soundtrack (this time, Marilyn Manson’s “I Put a Spell on You” and a Laibach revision of “My Favourite Things” that could send you screaming to the nearest sanctuary). And Dr Frankenstein’s monster reappeared, but this time Miuccia united him with his bride. The He&She of Horror. The Adam&Eve of ManMade Man.

Miuccia felt that the topicality of reconstructed humans in an age where we are blindly walking into subjugation to AI was worthy of comment. She’s frightened. So fear was a creative impetus in her collection. She mentioned “a very real fear of wars so near” when she was talking about the military aspect of her collection. She shod her models for conflict. And then she dressed Gigi Hadid in a particularly shapely hybrid of an MA-1 and field jacket which she paired with a delicate black lace skirt. Such a contrary combination weaponised womanhood in a way that made this collection a TKO. It was amplified in the way that classic menswear fabrics – tweed, herringbone – were transmogrified into classic femme fatale shapes. Like Binx Walton, tweed sheath limned to her body, portrait neckline recklessly askew. An image more potent than the repurposed combat-wear that surrounded it.

Miuccia Prada has always twisted tropes to animate her collections. Think of a cliché, flip it or burn it to ash. But there’s more urgency now. In a grisly ironic flourish, “Someday My Prince Will Come” from Disney’s “Snow White” floated across the soundtrack. Face it, he ain’t comin’. So Miuccia’s women created an apocalyptic beauty for themselves. Something ruched, something draped, and maybe a little lacquered lace. But fucked-up. There were flowers, but they might have been borrowed from a graveyard. There were leather skirts printed with tulips and roses but they felt like fetish gear (the women wearing these particular items were fiercesomely maîtresse-like, so someone agrees with me!).

It might have been one of Miuccia’s most curiously uncompromising collections, but she’s a past mistress at anticipating moods, so timeliness ameliorates in-your-face. When she was a student, she’d man the barricades in vintage Saint Laurent. Now she’s making clothes for her modern equivalents to do just the same. Vintage Prada, in the here and now.

Business Of Fashion – January 13th, 2019

Marni’s Great Culture Clash

Francesco Risso’s collection — a seeming confrontation between youth and what he called ‘the puppet masters’ — laced his parody of power-dressing with psychedelia and subversion.

By Tim Blanks.

MILAN, Italy — The eerie sarcophagus of speakers that enveloped the Marni venue on Saturday afternoon bled a crackly antique recording of Debussy’s “Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune” while Francesco Risso’s first models stepped out onto the catwalk. That music will forever be the soundtrack of Nijinsky’s most transgressive ballet, a record of the moment when a radical new vision slammed into the old world with such seismic force that the culture changed. Maybe it wasn’t such a stretch to imagine Risso hoping for the same thing with his collection.

He had in his mind that there was “an elephant in the room,” which he insisted no one was talking about. As tricky as it was to winkle out the core of what Risso meant, he seemed to be talking about the power of youth, cruel but fearless in its innocence, and yet denied by those he called “the puppet masters.” Risso’s collection could therefore be cast as a confrontation between two tribes, those with power, those without. “The undefinable aliens mingle with the indefensible weirdos,” was a stand-out line from Marni’s typically dense but teasingly allusive manifesto for the season.

Risso interwove his parody of power-dressing — huge overcoats, exaggerated multi-tasselled loafers, “an army of conservative suits blown up” (his words) — with psychedelic pyjamas, manga shirts, paw-like gloves, and visual references to Bruno Bozzetto, the Italian animator whose subversive work qualified him as the anti-Disney. Perhaps you could construe the result as the most classic confrontation of Western civilisation, Apollo vs. Dionysus, with the battlefield as a single outfit lifted from a collection of menswear by Marni. That is one crazy elephant in any room.

For me, there was one particular piece that captured Risso’s uniquely screwy fashion vision. It was a diamond-patterned sweater, tattered in such a way it looked like an animal pattern was fighting to emerge, the beast within, perhaps. What really lies beneath? If humankind could ever answer that question, we might be able to free ourselves from the enduring quandary of our savagely flawed existence.

Fashion Network – January 14th, 2019

Merveilleux bal des monstres chez Prada

Par Godfrey Deeny
Voilà ce qui s’appelle un grand défilé de mode. La dernière démonstration de style de Miuccia Prada était présentée dimanche soir dans un Milan glacial : un défilé mixte aux multiples références, des masses, des marges au bal des monstres.

La principale penseuse de la mode italienne, la Signora Prada, convoquait brillamment l’ADN Prada pour l’hiver 2019, tout en délivrant un subtil message politique. Et dans une période troublée partout en Europe, elle nous rappelait que la mode joue elle aussi un rôle, même s’il est mineur, en offrant un résumé visuel des angoisses propres à chaque époque.

D’autre part, la mise en scène était d’un talent consommé : un hall en béton récemment achevé au sein de la Fondazione Prada, habillé de gradins vertigineux et d’un podium oblongue géant, composé de panneaux d’isolation acoustique en mousse noire – qui se sont révélés tout à fait confortables pour s’asseoir, en vrai. Au milieu, le podium était illuminé par des spots et des ampoules géantes de style rétro.

« Je pensais à la masse du plus grand nombre, ceux qui ne sont pas riches, qui ont du mal à payer les factures et à survivre, à la manière dont ils vivent et s’habillent », a révélé Miuccia dans la foulée du défilé, après avoir posé devant un nouveau logo Prada dans la même matière isolante. Un logo sur un mur jaune vif, la dernière révolte française en date, celle des gilets jaunes, infiltrant Milan cette saison. On avait déjà repéré des jaunes similaires ce week-end chez des marques aussi différentes que Bottega Veneta et Versace.

Sur le podium, les hommes défilaient en costumes sobres : pantalons taillés au-dessus de la cheville, vestes flatteuses et manteaux serrés à la cheville par des ceintures doubles. Opéraïste et très élégant. Son autre grande idée, c’était ces sahariennes magiques bleu nuit ou noir d’encre, réinventées en doudounes et ornées de poches sur les manches. Elles déclencheront à coup sûr une tendance majeure dans le monde entier.

Les premières silhouettes féminines étaient aussi d’une simplicité trompeuse, comme ces petites robes noires remarquablement bien coupées, avec des hauts façon soutien-gorge dégageant les épaules. Quand soudain, Miuccia a passé deux vitesses d’un coup, injectant une dose ludique de style film d’horreur : comme ces imprimés représentant le visage de Frankenstein et d’étranges fleurs déformées utilisés sur de puissantes jupes au genou, associées à des hauts en mohair rose et des bustiers composés du tissu signature de Prada, un nylon noir soyeux… bien sûr ! Et si les jupes plissées en coton dense, rebrodées de cristaux, avaient une allure folle sur Kaia Gerber et Gigi Hadid, elles iront également comme un gant à des femmes d’affaires deux fois plus âgées. En fin de compte, l’une des plus grandes forces de Miuccia Prada en tant que créatrice, c’est que ses vêtements collent magnifiquement aux femmes à de multiples étapes de leur vie.

Emmenant tout le toutim vers de nouveaux sommets, il y a eu une formidable série d’accessoires : comme ces nouveaux sacs à dos de taille intermédiaire, avec des bandoulières et des bretelles étroites, ou encore de super chaussures et bottines façon pneu de tracteur.

Une bande-son puissante de Frédéric Sanchez envoyait du Marilyn Manson, du Tuxedomoon et la bande originale du Rocky Horror Picture Show.

« Je voulais refléter mon sentiment sur notre époque. Même si, puisque c’est de la mode que nous faisons, il fallait que tout ça soit optimiste et amusant, ce à quoi le spectacle horrifique a contribué », riait Miuccia Prada, vêtue d’une très belle redingote en daim couleur tabac, avant d’être submergée par les fans. Ils mouraient tous d’envie de la prendre en photo devant ce fameux mur jaune.

Business Of Fashion – January 13th, 2019

Versace’s Mysteries of Manhood

The collection brooded on the scattergun codes of modern masculinity with an orgy of quite gorgeous separates likely to hit their target.

By Tim Blanks. MILAN, Italy —Donatella Versace knows her divas. Her brief to soundtrackist Frederic Sanchez for her new men’s show was to the point: Ru Paul and opera. He gave her Supermodel and Maria Callas. And if that’s where Donatella thought a boy’s head is at in the second decade of the 21st century, it explained the full-on wardrobe she served.

It was intriguing that, in her show notes, she commented on how specific the idea of a MAN was in the 1990s, and how dramatic the change has been since then. It was in the 90s that her brother Gianni unleashed the ideal of the Olympian male on the fashion world. It ruled. Her own ideal a few decades later is a guy whose appetites are a lot more scattergun. In this collection, his style vocabulary had accents of punk, grunge and rave (some of the hair was pure Madchester). The initials GV reversed all sorts of ways to look like A for Anarchy. The belts and harnesses that gave old Versace a spice of S&M transgression were defanged as prints on silk shirts. The neo-Versace man wrapped an orange feather boa around his suit in a classic Prince of Wales check. A coat in the same POW topped punky PVC pants over striped boxers. I saw Kurt Cobain in a leopard coat colliding with Boy Racer in a leather Moto branded FORD. And FORD was there because boys aspire to Ferrari, but Ford is their starter car.

That meant something to this collection. Donatella was brooding on the aspirational codes of modern masculinity. The first car? The big job? The invitation was the kind of dossier a prospective employer might expect, except the key bits were redacted. Like you were applying for a job with the CIA. That’s bureaucracy, but it’s also the layers of mystery in manhood. And maybe it was also why the safety pins (in a way, they have become emblems of teen angst) were transmogrified into stolid bulldog clips.

Admittedly, a lot of this scenario was a stylist going to town on a collection that was an orgy of quite gorgeous separates. The layering was a thing of particular wonder. Versace now belongs to Capri, a corporate behemoth with a track record in moving merch. This collection dissolved into a thousand substantial bits and pieces. You’re going to hit the target a whole lot with those odds.

Fashion Network – January 7th, 2019

Craig Green: nomadismo alla moda con un tocco chirurgico

Di Godfrey Deeny

Craig Green è il sommo sacerdote del nomadismo nella moda. Potrà non aver inventato questa categoria, ma facendo tutto da solo è riuscito a renderla molto sua.

In ogni show che realizza, il cast sembra trovarsi in una sorta di viaggio. E questo è sembrato ancor più vero in un umido lunedì mattina londinese, nella sfilata di una collezione che è riuscita a collegare sartoria, abbigliamento sportivo e vestiti chirurgici.

Ambientato nelle viscere di The Vault, un seminterrato in mattoni nel vecchio Billingsgate Market sulla riva del Tamigi, il défilé ha anche ricordato quanto Green attualmente sia, e di gran lunga, il più creativo stilista di moda maschile di Londra.

Il suo momento migliore è stato il quintetto finale di enormi cappotti con cappuccio in tessuti tecnici. Le loro parti anteriori erano monocromatiche, mentre le posteriori mostravano paesaggi astratti e collage culturali in bordeaux brillante o nel blu delle ceramiche di Delft.

Idee chirurgiche sì, ma anche maniacali, come le camicie di forza multistrisce in un materiale che sembrava il washi, la carta usata per fare i muri nelle case tradizionali giapponesi. Detto questo, i suoi caban plaid multitasche per l’uomo erano un po’ assurdi, ma in qualche modo riuscivano anch’essi a portare ulteriormente avanti lo zeitgeist stilistico del designer. Il tutto mentre capisci già che le combinazioni semi-trasparenti di nylon vedo-non-vedo e maglie leggere di Green saranno copiate in tutte le high streets globali.

Craig Green – Autunno-Inverno 2019 – Londra

La sua idea più esagerata è stata un involucro elastico in plastica a forma di bolla tagliato in combinazioni comprendenti tunica e pantaloni, realizzate in tonalità neon sporche.

“Stavo pensando a un uomo fatto di vetro. Alla fragilità che significa anche forza. A tradizione, artigianato, tecniche tessili medievali e forse, come qualcuno ha detto, al ‘Piccolo Chirurgo’”, ha sorriso il designer, riferendosi al gioco di destrezza per bambini.

In un’epoca di monotona athleisure, Green è capace di rinfrescare con i ‘gusti’ che inventa i palati più esigenti della moda del Regno Unito. Accompagnato da una brillante colonna sonora mixata dal famoso DJ francese Frédéric Sanchez, e indossato da un cast che ha palesemente apprezzato l’avanguardismo di questi vestiti, lo show ha garantito a Green il più ampio e caloroso applauso della stagione maschile di tre giorni della London Fashion Week di gennaio 2019. Lo ha meritato.

Business Of Fashion – January 7th, 2019

Craig Green Keeps It Real

The language the designer has created for himself is sturdy in its substance and oddly delicate in its effect. Today he outdid himself.

By Tim Blanks. LONDON, United Kingdom — A man made of glass: that was the extreme, sci-fi-ish image that lingered long after Craig Green’s remarkable show on Monday morning. Male fragility has been a Green theme from the beginning. At the same time, he’s always been committed to showing that emotion doesn’t mean weakness.

The designer’s latest show notes referred to “Fragile icons of symbolic strength.” His glass men were actually wrapped in “obsessively elasticated” plastic, with a bubble-wrap effect, “like fish or dragon scales,” said Green. He liked the notion of something that lasts forever reconfigured as ephemeral beauty.

It’s precisely that everlastingness which has made plastic the bane of modern times, but here it was alchemized into sweetness and light, like a dish of Venetian glass candies. (“A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” the poet John Keats once told us. That’s the kind of everlasting we can live with.)

Alchemy is Green’s secret weapon. He’s a past master of the magical transformation. His show opened with layered tailoring that had a chic new edge for him. The lining reversed so that when you turned a jacket inside it, you could wear it as a smock. Green’s signature utility made smart.

The finale was a sequence of hooded coats. From the front, the models were sober, monochrome samurai. Then they turned to reveal a glory of graphics. “Everything is so front-facing now,” he explained. “I like the idea you had to be at the show to see those images.” Keeping it real in the physical world, in other words.

Green’s work is thoroughly grounded in its physicality. This collection starred side-slit tartan caftans, tops and skirts in lumberjack checks, torsos wreathed in unravelling tapes of crochet (“a peeling cocoon,” he called it), more crochet and net sheathing bodies. This is the design language he has created for himself, sturdy in its substance, oddly delicate in its effect.

There was serenity too, in the pure white seersucker outfits that followed the exploding plastic inevitable on the catwalk. Green has already proved himself a consummate showman in the way he animates his dialogues between spirit and flesh. Here, he outdid himself, with the able assistance of stylist Robbie Spencer and soundtrackist Fred Sanchez. We could all wish for someone who would score our own lives with a mix of such epic, emotional sweep.

Le Figaro – October 3rd, 2018

Que la force soit avec elles

La Fashion Week de Paris s’est achevée mardi sur deux défilés Louis Vuitton et Miu Miu au message puissant sur la féminité et le pouvoir, à travers une esthétique radicale pas vue depuis longtemps.

La démonstration du pouvoir est l’une des marques de fabrique de Louis Vuitton. Qui d’autre que le fleuron de LVMH pour défiler au Musée du Louvre, symbole de la grandeur française, dans les pas d’Emmanuel ­Macron ? Qui d’autre pour habiller la première dame ? Qui d’autre pour réunir, sur le même banc, Isabelle Huppert, Léa ­Seydoux, Alicia Vikander et Cate ­Blanchett habillées régulièrement par Nicolas ­Ghesquière, le directeur artistique du malletier ? « Depuis mes débuts – il y a de longues années ! -, on dit de mes vêtements qu’ils donnent du pouvoir aux femmes, rapportait ce dernier à l’issue du défilé après avoir embrassé un bataillon de célébrités comme vu nulle part ailleurs. J’ai voulu creuser ce thème récurrent de mon travail et, pour une fois, ne pas prétendre raconter une histoire. Chacune des pièces de ce printemps-été répond à un seul critère : tenter de procurer la force et la confiance en soi. » L’absence de fil narratif explique en partie l’impression très perturbante de ce défilé sis dans un tunnel en Plexi transparent, encadrant la fontaine historique de la cour Carrée du Louvre. C’est bien du Ghesquière mais explosé dans ses obsessions. Parfois extrêmement efficace – les vestes à basques sont d’une perfection rare, comme celles en double gomme soudée aux lignes épurées, très proches de son style époque Balenciaga. Parfois déconcertant, à l’instar des combinaisons à épaules cercle entre Star Trek et Cardin. L’architecture, fondement de la silhouette du Français, est une réponse assez évidente à la question de l’empowerment. Mais le designer propose aussi des robes tee-shirts aux lignes molles, des blouses cocon en matière technique gaufrée, des tops aux manches bouffantes dix-neuviémistes, des jeans roses motifs ­Kuramata et des robes bustiers aux imprimés Memphis… Il envoie soudain trois mannequins aux forts airs de garçon, un troisième genre, en tailleur-pantalon. Le podium est-il un territoire de revendication ? C’est ce que pensent les médias anglo-saxons, qui n’ont cessé, durant cette Fashion Week, d’interpréter les longueurs d’ourlet et les carrures des vestes à l’aune des scandales trumpiens. Le point de vue français est, nous semble-t-il, plus subtil. « Si ­Chanel a donné la liberté aux femmes, disait Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent leur a donné le pouvoir. » Marguerite Duras écrivait au même sujet : « Les femmes de Saint Laurent sont sorties des harems, des châteaux et même des banlieues, elles courent les rues, les métros, les Prisunic, la Bourse. » Et cinquante ans après, la mode court toujours après « elles »… Cette collection LV n’est pas la plus simple à aimer, elle déroute à dessein, Ghesquière estimant que, si sa mode est puissante, c’est parce que sa radicalité exige de la personne qui la porte de l’assumer, de faire des choix. H. G.

La féminité version Miuccia Prada déroute, elle aussi. Depuis 1988 chez ­Prada (avec du Nylon sur les podiums, des robes épurées à l’extrême et des sacs à dos en guise de sac à main), depuis 1993 avec Miu Miu (ses strass gros comme des cailloux collés sur des serre-tête de gamines pas sages, ses souliers œuvres d’art, sa palette acide), l’Italienne se délecte de casser les codes du bon goût. Pensée, à l’origine, comme la ligne « petite sœur », Miu Miu s’est affranchie, au fil du temps, de son statut de benjamine – c’est une marque en soi. Quelques heures avant la clôture de la Fashion Week au Louvre par Louis Vuitton, la signora Prada investit comme à son habitude le Palais d’Iéna. Elle raconte l’histoire d’une bande de filles aux longs cheveux hirsutes et à la frange mal coupée, en robes du soir de taffetas froissé, effiloché, qui sortent en fond de jupe transparent, leurs cannes de serin dans des chaussures trop grandes. Les jupes à godets sont taillées dans du denim proprement sali, les cardigans noués dans un esprit couture. Une série de vestes de bureau en toile de laine grise, à simple ou double boutonnage portées sur… rien, démontre qu’une belle pièce fait la silhouette. Pour parfaire le tableau, la musique. Les Miu Miu girls serpentent dans l’assemblée au son du piano – les titres 17 Days et Purple Rain de l’album posthume de Prince, Piano & A Microphone 1983 sorti il y a une dizaine de jours. Un bijou !

Chez Leonard, Christine Phung articule son printemps-été 2019 de la façon suivante : les premiers looks « tailleur » sont architecturés, épaulés, cousus de poche pour se déconstruire au fil des passages, se débarrasser des détails, jusqu’à devenir de simples carrés de jersey de soie imprimés à nouer. Inspirée par la réserve du Masaï Mara au Kenya, la styliste a sélectionné parmi les riches archives de la maison des imprimés savane, des fleurs sauvages, dont elle délave les teintes pour leur donner l’aspect d’une nature brûlée par le soleil. En parallèle, la griffe célèbre ses soixante ans avec une collection capsule en jersey de soie signature. Six silhouettes (combinaison, robe d’hôtesse, pantalon ample) imprimées d’orchidées aux couleurs poudrées, de lotus sur fond de fuchsia et de noir, revues et corrigées par la directrice artistique, disponibles en boutique en novembre. É. F.

Fashion Network – October 3rd, 2018

Miu Miu : une beauté subversive, à grands coups de ciseaux

Par Godfrey Deeny

Il vaut toujours la peine d’assister à un show Miu Miu le dernier jour de la Semaine de la mode à Paris. La vision de Miuccia Prada offre un contrepoint saisissant à toutes les marques françaises inscrites au calendrier.

Mise en scène avec habileté sous d’énormes logos Miu Miu en polystyrène expansé, il s’agissait de l’une des collections les plus subversives de sa créatrice, Miuccia Prada, qui reprenait des éléments classiques de la maison italienne – élégance, glamour, tailleur – pour mieux découper les vêtements, leur donner une finition plus brute, plus concrète.

Du point de vue de la qualité de la proposition, on était au niveau d’un défilé haute couture, avec des robes aux coupes impeccables, des robes-chemises drapées astucieusement et terminées par d’impressionnantes fleurs de tissu et des robes ajustées en taffetas, parfaites, à nouveau agrémentées de fleurs de tissu pleines d’audace.

Pour les jeunes femmes ambitieuses, Miuccia a combiné de larges manteaux droits, des trench-coats et des cabans à double boutonnage – tous en cuir lisse, mais associés à des jupes et des blouses imprimées d’iris aux couleurs vives, aux coupes anguleuses originales. Pour un résultat inattendu, artistique et très chic.

« C’était un peu comme cette émission, quel est son nom déjà ? Project Runway. Chaque créateur a un temps limité pour travailler. On a sorti les ciseaux hier soir. Mon équipe n’arrêtait pas de dire : “Pouvons-nous en laisser au moins un seul intact, ne pas tous les détruire ? Et je sais que les acheteurs voudront qu’on change les proportions. Mais je suis contre le cliché de la beauté évidente », rit Madame Prada, en gesticulant comme si elle avait encore une paire de ciseaux entre les doigts.

« Je suis en colère. Tout le monde parle d’avenir et de révolution, mais la vérité, c’est que tout revient en arrière. Et pas seulement en politique, mais aussi dans l’art et le cinéma », affirme-t-elle.

Et juste au moment où l’on oubliait l’énorme retour du denim sur de nombreux podiums, à l’exception de ceux de Paris, Miuccia nous a épatés avec une série de jupes et de robes courtes en denim, finies en ourlet-mouchoir, complétées par des bottes en velours satiné à plateforme et talons biseautés.

« Tout est délavé : le jean, le taffetas et même le gazar », explique Miuccia avec des étoiles dans les yeux.

Après le spectacle, elle était entourée d’une douzaine de mannequins et de stars de cinéma, dont Juliette Lewis, Dree Hemingway, Poppy Delevingne et Élodie Bouchez. Mais Miuccia Prada préfère généralement parler de sa collection plutôt que de poser pour les paparazzi…

Difficile de se souvenir d’une bande-son en meilleure adéquation avec une collection… en l’occurrence une sélection tirée du nouvel album de Prince. Des enregistrements privés du chanteur dans son propre studio, intitulé Prince & a Microphone, dont certains de ses morceaux les plus célèbres.

Financial Times – September 30th, 2018

Comme des Garçons SS19 show report

Rei Kawakubo was ‘fumbling around in the dark’ this season. And the result was incredibly moving

How do designers approach the challenge of coming up with something new each season? In many cases they don’t — doing nothing with your design style is certainly a method that’s working well for Celine’s new creative director Hedi Slimane. But, for those designers really looking to challenge the parameters of fashion, and even clothes themselves, the quest to find a new trouser cut, or fabrication, can bring with it a high degree of angst.

Shortly before the Comme des Garçons SS19 show, the brand sent out a statement in which the designer Rei Kawakubo described her frustration with a process that must always seek the “next”. For the past 10 collections she has shown huge abstracted shapes on her catwalk, like sculptures, which have then inspired the commercial collection that goes in store. But Kawakubo, who was the subject of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in 2017 and is one of only a few designers whose work could be described as art, is finished with that cycle.

For SS19 she wanted to do something new, but had found herself “fumbling around the dark”. The result of that fumble was a “mini show” which she described as “quiet, serene and internal”. It was small, staged before only 100 or so guests, and curiously affecting. The 30 looks, featuring deconstructed men’s tailoring and richly embellished outerwear, tattoo-print stocking mesh and chained Nike trainers, looked pretty normal from the front, but from the side revealed strange lumps and tumours. The first look, a beaded evening suit, was severed across the stomach to reveal a pregnant swell. Further looks were similarly “feminine”, although the slashed stomachs became more vicious and jagged as the show went on. Then things were tied up, quilted, or worn with chains. The tumours became more unnatural also, great padded details that protruded from the hips and ribs.

It was a real heartbreaker. With its Tom Waits soundtrack, exposed and swollen stomachs and white-haired girls (as though the women had prematurely aged), Kawakubo conjured quite the mood. Do I know that this “internal” show was about the griefs of childlessness? Or the sacrifices of a professional woman, now in her seventies, who has dedicated her life to building a €200m brand? Or that those brand responsibilities have near devoured her — like a cancer? I have no idea. But that was what it looked like. Kawakubo’s fumble made me painfully sad.

WWD – September 30th, 2018

Comme des Garçons RTW Spring 2019

In an emotional collection, Rei Kawakubo looked inward and found herself “fumbling around in the dark.”

There’s a place for her. But where?

Rei Kawakubo is at a creative crossroads. The designer told us so herself in a statement, a manifesto of sorts, e-mailed before her show on Saturday. It was a remarkable correspondence from a woman who typically lets her runways do the talking, and whom most of us view as unwavering in her confidence, her work, her art.

Kawakubo wrote that 10 seasons ago, she changed the direction of her Comme des Garçons show to see how far she could “take making powerful clothes, even to the point where the clothes become abstract.” She has decided that that approach is no longer new: “I looked for what is next, what is next, but I couldn’t find it.”

This show was about Kawakubo’s search, both as a creative and as a woman. As such, it felt deeply personal. With “Somewhere” from “West Side Story” on the soundtrack, the first model appeared, her abdomen padded to look pregnant, her black tinsel jumpsuit slashed with a horizontal zigzag to show her belly. She and all the models had white hair worn in messy, workaday ponytails, signaling that the burdens of being a woman and a creator are lifelong and grueling. You must create constantly, and find your place, somewhere.

The pregnancy theme continued until the baby bump morphed into bulbous protrusions at the hips and backside, in clear reference to Kawakubo’s seminal lumpy-bumpy collection of spring 1997, only now, the padding broke through the clothes exposing the “skin” underneath — bodysuits featuring logos, floral “tattoos” and newsprint. In context, the logos, also on Kawakubo’s spiffy Nike sneakers, registered not as merch-mongering but as statement of self, Kawakubo asserting, “my creations are who I am.”

It was all jarringly emotional, with some particular points of impact. Midway through, two models came out in chains — the shackles of womanhood? Of creative expression? Of expectations? Imposed by the self or externally? And near the end, when, on the soundtrack, Tom Waits’ “Tom Traubert’s Blues (Waltzing Matilda),” stopped abruptly on, “I begged you to stab me…You buried the dagger.”

Lighthearted it wasn’t. “Advancing ahead while fumbling around in the dark” is a risk, Kawakubo wrote in her e-mail. And yet she chose to show at the École des Beaux-Arts’ Palais des Études, on a bright white runway installed under the expansive skylight. It happened to be a beautiful, blue-sky day. There is hope.

Washington Post – September 30th, 2018

On the Comme des Garçons runway, pregnancy as metaphor

By Robin Givhan

PARIS — For many years, Rei Kawakubo has used runway presentations for her Comme des Garçons collection as a place for experimentation. What she shows aren’t so much clothes as theories about dress, representation and beauty. Her gaze is once again shifting, and this time, she is looking inward.

Her spring 2019 show was roiling with emotion. The central questions seemed to be: How does fashion make you feel? How does fashion express your mood, your worries, your fears? How do we internalize outside pressures to look and be a certain way?

To explore those questions, Kawakubo walled off a tiny area within the expansive central hall at the École des Beaux-Arts — creating a small space within a larger space. The models walked along a runway raised only a few inches off the ground. They were close enough to touch. There was no real distance between the observed and the observer.

And when the first models appeared, they were unnerving — not because they looked terribly odd or otherworldly but because they looked so normal. They wore wigs of long white hair, and they were dressed in black, in clothes with a masculine sensibility. But in front, just below the waist, the garment had been slashed open and their belly protruded: an allusion to pregnancy, an allusion to an inconvenient body type bursting the seams.

Below the dark menswear were bodystockings covered in newsprint, the Comme des Garçon logo and various words. The slashing seemed almost violent, highlighting the tension between masculine constraints and the power of the female body, between the primacy of men and the voices of women.

Culturally, we set rules about how the body is supposed to look, about how it should be shaped. The shapes of these bodies break all those rules. This collection asks: Who is in control of the female body? The woman who inhabits it or the society that surrounds it?

Kawakubo’s models encouraged the audience to meditate on these concerns, each adding a new point of contention, each focusing on a different pressure point.

There were women wearing newsprint leggings and bodysuits with exaggerated arms. Kawakubo returned to the use of padding to distort the shape of the body. She exaggerated the hips, created protrusions on the back, enhanced the derriere. Yes, the distortions make the eye reconsider our set definitions of beauty, but there’s something else at work here, something more emotional. These bodies have been under pressure. It’s almost as if exterior burdens, frustrations and worries have weighed so heavily on them that they have shifted under the weight. But they have not broken.

One model appears in a dress with elongated sleeves. Underneath the dress, she’s draped in chains, which drag along the floor as she walks. The audience can hear them clanking along the wooden walkway over the gravelly voice of Tom Waits on the soundtrack:

Wasted and wounded, it ain’t what the moon did
Got what I paid for now
See ya tomorrow, hey, Frank can I borrow
A couple of bucks from you?
To go waltzing Mathilda, waltzing Mathilda
You’ll go a-waltzing Mathilda with me

As the song rumbled in the background, a soundtrack filled with anguish, one considered what this woman has broken free from. Social norms, expectations or rules? And how long will the scars of her fight remain with her? She’s free, but she’s not unburdened.

In watching the models walk slowly and meditatively in the room, with their white wigs and padding, one wondered why the artifice? Why not use models whose hair has naturally gone white with age? Or whose bodies don’t require extra padding to add bulk? The answer may be that all appearance is artifice. The exterior is just costume. Beauty is an external construct.

The truth lies within. But fashion can shine a light on it.

Les Echos – September 21st, 2018

Fashion Week printemps-été 2019 : l’opération séduction de Prada

Astrid Faguer

Ce qu’il fallait retenir du défilé Prada en 5 points.

La maison italienne qui a essuyé quelques difficultés financières ces dernières saisons est en phase de relance. Relance qui passe – entre autres – par le réveil de sa ligne Linea Rossa à vocation plus sportive, jeune et accessible (une série d’évènements dédiés à cette renaissance est prévue de New-York à Hong-Kong au mois de septembre), ou via la mise en place d’une stratégie digitale.


La traduction stylistique de cette stratégie de relance est moins frontale. Et comme toujours, les références chez Prada sont multiples : entre fulgurances d’un jour nouveau (les bottines de sport, les tee-shirts traités en robes, les volumes version hanches extra-larges) et clins d’oeil plus rétros (le serre tête bourgeois, la robe trapèze ou le bermuda). Le tout télescopé et fusionné : Miuccia Prada crée une nouvelle allure, qui n’est ni tout à fait la même, ni tout à fait une autre, capable ainsi de séduire à la fois la jeune génération et les précédentes. Sur fond de libération du corps des femmes (ici tout semble confort) : la collection malmène tous les clichés vestimentaires conservateurs – du serre-tête en satin tellement oversize et clouté qu’il se change en must-have, à la robe baby-doll qui se réinvente ultra-moderne grâce à un jeu de découpes et de nouveaux volumes.

C’est la première fois qu’on parle autant de glamour chez Prada – et ce n’est pas seulement du à la présence de Kaïa Gerber sur le podium. Ici la notion de glamour n’est pas un gros mot tant cette dernière apparaît contrebalancée par des références plus strictes et plus riches. Ainsi, les filles qui s’avancent dans des bodys aux décolletés en V ultra profond, s’affichent également les cheveux impeccablement tirés, coiffées de serre-têtes, habillées de satin remasterisé et les jupes arrivant aux genoux. Miuccia Prada invente un nouveau glamour.

Par ailleurs, Miuccia Prada réinterroge ses codes. Ainsi le nylon – matière signature lancée dans les années 70 qui a préfiguré du succès de la griffe – s’énonce en nuisette du soir aux nouvelles proportions, en robe sanglée confortable mais très soir ou encore en sac triples étage, aussi pragmatique que conceptuel.

C’est tout l’art de Miuccia Prada : digérer des références et des styles venus de toutes parts pour les faire siennes. Une vision qui s’applique aussi à la bande son : sur fond de musique électro on croit reconnaitre quelques standards – tel le titre « Je t’aime, Moi non plus » de Serge Gainsbourg.

Business Of Fashion – September 20th, 2018

Prada’s Fetishistic Resistance

Miuccia turned her show into an intricate confrontation between liberation and conservatism, resulting in the most intense collection of the season to date.


MILAN, Italy — Miuccia Prada is angry. The woman has props in political activism, after all, and right now we’re gazing into the maw of a resurgence of political populism that is enough to chill her blood. “What worries me is the simplification,” she said after her hard-hitting show on Thursday night. “Even politics is run by slogans.”

The obvious antidote to simplicity is complexity. Miuccia turned her show into an intricate confrontation between liberation and conservatism. If conflict is truly the essence of drama, then this was the most intense collection of the season to date. The setting — a massive concrete bunker at the base of the Torre, the final piece in the puzzle that is the Fondazione Prada — was appropriately harsh.

So was Frédéric Sanchez’s gigantic, pounding techno soundtrack, with a particular emphasis on Terence Fixmer’s revisit of the machine-age classic “Warm Leatherette”. A reminder here that such sounds once scored expressions of exuberant youthful dissidence like the Love Parade in Berlin and Trade in London.

It was tempting to see this show as some kind of Trojan horse. The subtext was subversion: buttoned-up propriety subtly undone. Or not so subtly, in the case of the naked bodies decorously covered with paillettes in some of the prints. Every model had a church-ready turbanette and prim bangs. But for everyone in a princess coat with a handbag slung over her arm, there was someone else in a black leather a-line suspended on tiny straps.

Miuccia’s appreciation of fashion fetishism was shaped by the master Yves Saint Laurent, and she exercised it to the max here: sheer knee-highs, straps, peepholes, revelatory tulles, sinister scales of black paillettes. It may simply be my fantasy that Miuccia was reanimating the notion of sex as a weapon — an idea as old as “Lysistrata” — but the freedoms she endorses are so threatened by the resurgent right that it maybe wasn’t such a fantasy after all.

Her militant mood was inescapable. Look closely and some of the models were featuring a pale simulation of Alex the Droog’s eye makeup from “A Clockwork Orange”. Girl droogs? Now there’s a message to send to men. Resistance comes in strange, unpredictable forms.

SHOWstudio – September 22nd, 2018

Georgina Evans reports on the Prada show

‘The whole thing for me was to discuss what was happening in the world now…’ said Mrs.Prada backstage. ‘To discuss a wish of freedom and liberation and fantasy, and, on the other side, the extreme conservatism that is coming.’
Outstanding, just outstanding. One can’t even begin to describe the energy and joy that followed the S/S 19 Prada show. A peer was literally high – as in eyes wide, jittering, cursing with excitement high – after the show. And can you blame them? This was a Prada resurge, everything you want from a Prada collection was there: nostalgia, sex appeal, trade-mark signatures of old and new, and the unexpected.

The show was set in the grand, dense hall of the Fondazione Prada and the Vernon Panton inflatable cubes were back from the Menswear S/S 19 show, much to everyone’s delight. Frederic Sanchez’s intense techno was just as fantastic as the space and the clothes, with the odd jolting remix of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg’s Je t’aime,…moi non plus providing an eerie darkness. This slightly queer ambience could be seen in the looks too, as models emerged with mini-fringes, their doe-eyed extra-long lashes and satin swing dresses with collar detailing – all reminded one of Mia Farrow in Roman Polanski’s horror Rosemary’s Baby.

‘The whole thing for me was to discuss what was happening in the world now…’ said Mrs.Prada backstage. ‘To discuss a wish of freedom and liberation and fantasy, and, on the other side, the extreme conservatism that is coming.’ This push and pull, as with most Prada shows, was explicit throughout. Conservatism took form in the sweet satin dresses, the bow collars, the jumper layers, knee high-socks and the revival of thick satin headbands. In true Prada style, these elements were liberated with cut-outs on the chest, deep V necks that plunged through each look sheer socks that were given sex appeal with the addition of a logo, and t-shirt dresses that literally started in a prim, conservative white and ended at the hem with a pang of neon and typically magical Prada embroidery.

Peepholes on elbows and brightly coloured sock sandals were welcome weird and wonderful additions, as too were the new classic Sidonie bags – here larger and in typically conservative browns or white. Satin pedal-pushers seemed to be an extended version of the short-shorts we had seen prior at the menswear show, but here amongst the tie-dye (yes tie-dye!) and nylon, they took on a gloriously bourgeois aesthetic.

A few of the nylon looks here were reinvented by female architects, Cini Boeri, Elizabeth Diller and Kazuyo Sejima: created by women for women. One a functional handbag, one a bag that transforms with ease into a belted jacket/dress and one perfectly unorthodox chain of bags, each lined with squiggles of Prada pastels. With the resurge of Linea Rossa and Prada Nylon, everyone is seemingly obsessively nostalgic about Prada right now. You had only to look at the audience to see how much this year of Prada has affected fashion. Customers are creating fanfare over old-school Prada, and Mrs. Prada just created a collection that had sublimely subtle nods to her archive. Genius!

Youthful, cute, nostalgic, twisted, effeminately laced with sex appeal, this collection was a truly brilliant multifaceted representation of femininity.