Saturday, May 15, 2010

Everyone and their mother...

That's who's been wearing the debut items from Gucci's new made-to-measure line, Gucci Première. Seriously, Cannes is only into it's fourth day and so far no less than five different women (not including Frida Giannini herself) have walked the red carpet wearing pieces from Gucci's couture line, some more than once. Now when I first read about this line about two months ago on WWD I nearly choked on my own tongue. All I could think of was the amount of bells and whistles a Gucci couture gown would be covered in, given some of the recent runway collections. Oh sure, I praised the F/W 10 show because I thought it was good, but that doesn't mean I have complete faith that Frida won't lose control and relapse into her sequin abuse problem if she's left unsupervised for too long. At the time the news leaked Gucci had no comment, and I forgot all about it...until this week when the steps at Cannes were swarmed by starlets wearing Gucci. Now the impression I get from what's been written about it, and what I've seen so far, is that it's sort of Gucci's answer to Armani's Prive collection, although if memory serves Armani's collection is permitted to be called haute couture by the Chambre Syndicale, which would mean that his clothes meet the standards of true couture. Gucci isn't promoting this as haute couture, but more as a made to measure custom service for red carpet types and rich people who want something exclusive. But custom made red carpet pieces are nothing new for Gucci, they've been doing them since Tom Ford was still at the helm, so I don't really know why they're launching this as a completely separate collection.

The first woman was, somewhat fittingly given her marital status to Mr. Gucci Group himself, Salma Hayek. Now I'll say right up front that I think this is a pretty dress, and I like that the sparkle is kept to a minimum and restricted to two specific locations. It's a little bit more interesting than all over beading. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't beyond sick of the one-shouldered thing. It's become such a ubiquitous look for red carpet events at this point. I also think that this particular specimen would have been better without that little drape falling on the arm. So yeah, it's pretty dress, but it's not all that remarkable and it certainly isn't something unique. Also, it must be said that I'm a little peevish in general about gowns with rear zippers. The only reason to put a zipper up the back is if you absolutely don't have the option of putting it on the side. I can't really tell how this dress is constructed from pictures, so I'll let it slide, but it's a little annoying because you can see the little bubble in the back where the end of the zipper is, and that's precisely why I hate rear zips. But still, Salma looks beautiful in it, and I suppose that's the most important thing.

Next up was Camille Belle in a navy column, also one shouldered and also featuring strategically placed beading. The dress is fine I guess, although the only thing that made me look twice was the way the beading sort of dissolves down the back, which is a beautiful effect. But everything else about this look is both bland and kind of mature. The dress itself, from the color to the cut, seems destined for an older woman, probably in the over 35 age range, if not older. There's something almost conservative about it, despite the bit of sparkle and the slit up the leg. The hair and makeup really isn't helping matters as it makes Belle look about 15 years older than she is. But most of all this dress just looks like something you'd find in any number of department stores or dress shops. It's a standard evening wear template, not something you can go wrong with, but not something that's going to turn heads either.

The dress Kate Beckinsale wore was, at least, somewhat interesting to look at...although I don't really like it. There's something about the mix of the very dense silver beading and the sort of ethereal look of the draped shoulders and flowing train that doesn't quite work. I don't think the armor like panels really work well against the soft, romantic silhouette and delicate beading in the drapery at the hips. I dunno, it just doesn't work for me. From the back it gets worse, because in addition to the weird clash of hard and soft, the sewing in the rear seam is a little fucked up, to put it plainly. It's the kind of thing any fashion design professor would teach you how to avoid. That puckering, and especially right on the ass, is not pretty. I don't know if it's because the fabric has lycra in it, or if the dress wasn't properly altered, or if it was just poorly sewn, but it's shoddy looking and that's a shame, especially with Gucci promoting these looks as the most exclusive of all of their products.

Camille Belle also showed up to an event wearing a short, fitted, off the shoulder dress completely beaded in a degrade pattern. The dress is boring as hell, but it's cute and sparkly and a hell of a lot more youthful than the other dress she wore. But it's been almost 3 years since every young actress and "personality" in Hollywood has had their stylist slather them in Crisco so they could slip into an Herve Leger bandage dress, which is exactly what this looks like, and I'm completely burnt out on that look. More than anything I just like the effect that was achieved with the beading. Also wearing a short, sparkly number was Giannini herself, making the rounds of events along with her coterie of clients. Her dress is another that I've seen a million of, from runways to department store racks. It's nothing I'm about to piddle over.

The dress that French actress Lea Seydoux wore was by far one of the most interesting dresses of the ones I've seen. It's also one of my least favorites. There's just something about it that rubs me the wrong way. I wish I could offer an explanation as to why, but I have no effing clue. I will say this though, at the very least it's not a predictable red carpet choice (I don't even know when I last saw a cap sleeve) so that's a positive. But other than that I think I might actually hate it.

Naomi Watts has the distinction of wearing my favorite dress out of the ones that have been seen so far, which isn't saying much, but it's something. I love the angular pattern that basically makes up the entire dress. Despite how blah a pale beige strapless column gown is by it's very nature, there's at least something really graphic to look at with this one. I would have loved to see this in a darker, more severe color, something to play up the sharpness of those pleats. I for one am completely over the pale flesh-tone thing that so many women seem to gravitate towards for the red carpet. At the very least if you're going to go for a neutral color, go for black. It doesn't have that aura of "meh" to it. Still, it's a pretty dress, although I'm a little concerned about the workmanship. It looks a little rough on the bust.

And lastly there was Mrs. Gucci Group again, although I have to say I detest this dress. There's something cheap about it that I can't quite pinpoint, but the two things that come to mind when I look at it are: department store evening dress on the 50% off rack at Lohmann's, or some novice fashion student's attempt at making a "Versace" gown. I doubt if that's the kind of association Gucci want's anyone to have while looking at any of their products, least of all a custom made dress for the wife of their CEO.

Now, I'm fine with Gucci wanting to up their exclusivity factor by creating one-off pieces for celebs. They're not the first and they probably won't be the last. But here's the thing, if you set out to create a line that promises exclusivity, you better make damn sure that the product makes good on it. None of these dresses are the kind that would really pop on any red carpet, and I truly think that were it not for the fact that Gucci was promoting the line at one of the biggest red carpet events of the year, nobody would look twice at any of them. I also find it hard to believe that a paying client would want a custom made dress that was so indistinct. No, ultimately the label in a dress isn't important if the dress is beautiful, but you wouldn't go to Chanel to have a suit made for you that looks like any other suit, so why would you want a Gucci gown that looks like any other gown? I'll be honest, even when I've hated them Frida's evening gowns and party dresses have usually had some personality to them. Take the dresses she did for fall, there's no way those would blend in on a red carpet. Even though a casual observer might not know right away that they're Gucci, they would no doubt assume that they're high fashion. These dresses however could be by any second rate red carpet designer. It's kind of ironic that the dresses which will be produced in quantity look more exclusive and unique than the ones that are one of a kind. And I know I'm guilty of bringing every Gucci related post back to Tom Ford in some way, but I can't help pointing out that his custom designed pieces while he was at Gucci and YSL got people's attention and stood out at an event. For proof look no further than the one-sleeved nude column covered with clear crystals that Nicole Kidman wore to the 2003 Met Gala. Seven years later and nude beaded gowns are a dime a dozen, but that trend can probably be traced back to that one Gucci dress. Simply put it had the wow factor that none of these new designs possess, but it wasn't some completely out there design. I guess in the end high impact dressing doesn't need to be ridiculous, it just needs to be well calculated. If these new looks are an accurate representation of what the Gucci Première line is going to be about then to be honest I just don't see the point.

all images from, and thanks to Flashbang at The Fashion Spot

1 comment:

LOla said...

Boring, Boring, Boring.....
It's a Joke...Cheap dresses....for a Couture Collection..even worst than Alexis Mabille!
Frida want her "Atelier Versace"'s a mess!
Gucci for me is dead..the luxurious sex faxtor is gone for ever..Zara is more exciting than, i'm Watching the Spring Summer 2002 which is one of my favourite collection of all time and those dress at the end are simply magnificient!!!They're Beyond Couture IMO..and to look at these "Premiere" Collection after just hurt my eyes!