In a season where some of the major fashion houses have looked underwater for inspiration (notably McQueen, Chanel & Givenchy), the shows which stood out for me were the ones which looked to the sky. Manish Arora heavily referenced ornithology and as the week moved forward this reference could also be seen at Ingrid Vlasov.
At Vlasov the theme was incorporated with a little more finesse but a blatant statement was again being made. Used graphically on skirts, as corsage-like emblems on sleeves and luxuriously with feather covered skirts - clearly birds are the animal of the moment. Top marks for repetition of a top-hatted peacock on the pencil skirt which is pop-art genius; I'd be interested in the same pattern on a shirt and would perhaps wear this with a bird broach (only it this too had a top hat, of course).
In essence, Ingrid was channelling sleek simplicity and elegance. If removing the birds in their entirety, what you'd have is a very wearable number of dresses with clear cuts and accents including exposed zips and narrow belts. Lesson learned here: in tough economic times, cater to your core customer group. This sounds like a criticism which it certainly isn't. Other than the inclusion of some bulky baroque sunglasses which I don't see being picked up by many a lady-what-lunches, there were very few pieces which erred on the side of 'filler'. The most adventurous look for me was the blazer and pant combo, which just seemed to hit the androgynous nail right on the masculine head.
When reflecting on the prints, it should be noted the inclusion of baroque style - no matter how simplified it's been made. If you're afraid of the big bad Versace wolf, with it's gold medusa heads and stark religious iconography, but don't want to be left behind the fash-pack then this is the collection for you.
Award for least appropriate accessory has to go to the oversized bowling bag which seemed to have absolutely no reflection in the rest of the collection other than perhaps being used by a bird-vet (there must be a more professional word than this?). Having said that, I absolutely loved it and pulled my old one out of storage as soon as I got home. That retro 70s hold-all is making a comeback.
The show itself was very beautiful. With classical music floating into Le Grand Hotel on rue Scribe, the audience sat in the central hall surrounds a large square centre. As a photographer, it is perfection. A long enough walk to capture all the looks and 3 turns on the catwalk meaning varying angles is easy to get. I left a happy boy as I got my shots and some inspiration to boot...or should that be bag?