PARIS--This morning the Palais Royal gardens, where Marie Antoinette once frolicked around eating macaroons, were filled with journalists, buyers and giant bubble wrap monsters.
This indeed is a suitable scenery for a show by over-the-top, theatrical French label On Aura Tout Vu (French for “You think you’ve seen it all”). Launched in 1998, the Paris-based designer couple likes to use childhood references ranging from Tim Burton movies, to Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are, or Luc Besson’s Chanel 5 Little Red Riding Hood advert. Their last show was a direct reference to Alice in Wonderland, and offered entire dresses made out cards, incorporating various props into the designs.
This time, their collection, entitled "Fishing for Compliments," created an underwater universe, oscillating between Life Aquatic and a kitschy "Little Mermaid On Ice": sequins, geometry and much irony punctuated the aqua-tinted show.
Contrary to previous designs that looked more like costumes than wearable couture pieces, the outfits operated on a binary: New Look silhouettes, suits, dresses with constructed shoulder pads and tiny waists, were contrasted by stuffed monster-toys popping up on shoes, handbags, collars.
The cocktail dresses juxtaposed opaque material, strips of paper-thin lace revealing a fully naked body, and bejeweled loose threads evoking seaweed. Some dresses, imitating fish scale through embroidered silk were so tight that the models could hardly walk--true mermaids indeed.
Recently, Lady Gaga acquired several outfits from the Autumn-Winter 2010 collection"‘Natures et Artifices" that resembled wild woods à la Headless Horseman.
Rumor has it, according to the buyer sitting next to me during the show, that Ms. Gaga has already asked to purchase the entire new collection. Let’s wait for the next video.
But the more admirable part of the show occurred at the very last minute: After the models came in for the final walk, the designers rapidly bowed and came back in with the entire team on the catwalk, including every single intern.
That deserves a bow from the audience, surely.