PARIS--"We wanted to invite people to an anonymous place like a French café-- a bit messy but we like it messy because that's real life--girls are not always super perfect" said Carven designer Guillaume Henry after his first "showtation" for the revived Paris couture house. Yes, you heard that right. That's Henry's fashion neologism for the way he showed Carven's fall collection at the Palais de Tokyo this morning--half show half presentation. Showgoers sat as if at a Paris café, gathered around tiny round tables as models walked (very carefully) up and down stairs through doorways from behind a scrim, so that you could see the silhouettes of the clothes as they walked behind each doorway. It was very clever. For fall, Henry updated Carven's French ladylike '50s silhouettes with a bit of toughness. Yes, there were poofy skirts done in lace, precious Madeleine-esque wool coats with toggle closures, and school girl dresses in tartan, but there were also thick knits and jackets with the hips carved out a la Medieval armor paired with slim shorts that looked like bike shorts and blouses with a knot in the middle or a stiff accordion collar.
The Carven girl is not a lady who lunches. "She's thinking, she's reading, she's involved in her own life," Henry said, adding that he had photographer, model and Vogue WWII correspondent Lee Miller in mind when designing his fall collection. The Carven girl is someone I want to be--and I bet a lot of other girls will feel the same way.