Paris Fashion Week: Carven review

Paris Fashion Week: Carven goes for contrast

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There were cars at the foot of the catwalk as the models emerged, headlights beaming down the runway, a glossy as if wet floor, giving a slightly sinister air to the proceedings at Carven.
‘The Carven woman, elegant and vulnerable, finds herself in an unusual and violent environment,’ said creative director Guillaume Henry’s show notes. Quite why a designer wants to put his muse of the season in a dangerous situation is anyone’s guess, but it certainly gave him the impetus to design some protective, cosy layers.
These took the form of great coats, some of them almost as wide as they were long, in soft boucle or fluffy teased mohair, and in fondant shades of pale pink, blue and white – colours and fabrics that gave the impression of vulnerability, as did the easy access dressing gown ties that belted the waist. One particular bubblegum pink coat, double-breasted and with a Carvan-esque collar recalled last winter’s Comme des Garcons exploration with two-dimensions – although this was probably entirely unintentional.
All the softness was nicely contrasted with the odd clash of rubbery jacquards, metallic faille and animal screen prints – elk on a camel coat, zebra on a shift dress and repeated on toy-like drawstring bags and hefty rubber tractor-tyre-soled high-heeled hiking booties. One outfit saw a glossy pink fur with short sleeves and a sporty toggle-pull drawstring with a sheeny black faille pencil skirt that had a modern Carven stamp.
Henry ended on a series of black dresses with what looked like a print of beaming car headlights. These were more awkward, with their extended side seams that made the skirts wider – not what a ‘real’ Carven woman might be looking for perhaps. But in general, this was a strong collection with all the Carven codes in place, that will no doubt appeal to the label’s faithfuls.
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