PFW diary: Panthers at Givenchy, falcons at Hermès, colour-blocked fur at Celine

Left: Givenchy shot by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images. Right: Celine shot by Keystone Press.
Left: Givenchy shot by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images. Right: Celine shot by Keystone Press.

There are many reasons why it is so much more enriching to be here in Paris seeing the fall 2011 collections firsthand, rather than simply viewing them on the web. Being alongside buyers and press from around the world puts everything in context.

While I might have found Riccardo Tisci’s black panther and Betty Page prints, veiled thighs, and cat-eared hats for Givenchy obvious, the fashion editor from Moscow or buyer from Shanghai might feel quite differently. Taste is not only an individual thing but also a cultural thing. I am sure we would all agree, however, that the caliber of Tisci’s satin suits, patent varsity jackets and silk prints is unquestionable and that, along with his understanding of luxury, make him a frontrunner for Galliano’s job at Dior.

There was a collective gasp nine outfits into Christophe Lemaire’s first collection for Hermès when a model appeared in a fox bolero, cashmere jacket and ivory all-in-one boot pants with a falcon perched on her hand. It was a daring statement ⎯ one that said, “Even though I might have come from doing sneakers and polos at Lacoste, I am perfectly comfortable in the rarefied world of Hermès.” The scarf-print tunics, blanket coats, leather-trimmed tweeds and tassled pendants reinforced that message too.

There have been a lot of rounded and waist-evading silhouettes here in Paris for fall. But not at Celine. In an automobile-inspired collection full of leather panels and strips, Phoebe Philo used banding to nip jackets and coats in through the middle. Even when colour-blocked fur jackets were layered over coats, they had an overall slim silhouette that was very appealing. Maybe it takes a female designer to understand that women want to look sleek?