It was a homecoming for Gilles Mendel last month during Paris Couture Week, where the House of J. Mendel presented their 1st ever Haute Couture collection. The Frenchman left Paris for New York in the 1980s and he’s built his business there, but it’s been a long-held dream of his to come back to do a show.
Gilles was visibly thrilled backstage, explaining that his first ever couture collection was a bridge of sorts between the two places. Keith Haring was an artist famous in New York’s ’80s downtown scene, and riffs on his signature energetic squiggles formed the basis for graphic beaded patterns on evening columns. Paris was represented by its familiar geometric maps: broad boulevards meeting up with circular roundabouts, narrow streets intersecting with geometric park spaces. Both references were subtle enough to not be too obvious. As a rule the collection was better when Mendel used a lighter touch. Hand-stitched labels featuring the Empire State Building or Paris in block letters were a nice detail.
Mendel is a furrier, like his father was. This being a Fall show, there was naturally quite a bit of the stuff here. The first dress was made from small and smaller squares of shaved mink embroidered into Haring-style swirls and stitched together into a grid. Mendel used the same grid technique for the floor-scraping black coat and the white jacket that followed. They were exquisite and extravagant. They won’t necessarily keep you warm: In Mendel’s universe, that’s not really the point. Stitching fur to tulle, he created peekaboo evening coats through which the sequins and beads of his party dresses shone. Other furs were bisected with long rows of functioning brass buttons. Sleeves peeled off shoulders in a timely, if somewhat ungainly style. Still more furs were misted with liquid gold, so they looked burnished. Mendel’s enthusiasm may have gotten the best of him in some cases. The standout of the bunch was among the most understated, a short jacket in Russian broadtail with gold bead embroidery.
Discover the J. Mendel Autumn/Winter 2016/17 Haute Couture collection & runway show at the end of this post - enjoy! LoL, Andrea
Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories
Photo Credit/Source: The House of J. Mendel
Photography by Marcus Tondo / Indigital.TV
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'Legends and Fairytales by FENDI Haute Couture'
Last July, Fendi marked Karl Lagerfeld’s 50th year at the Italian house with a Paris haute fourrure show. The designer is famously averse to birthdays and anniversaries “I don’t look back,” he’s fond of saying but the house wasn’t going to let a milestone like its own 90th slip by quietly. With the couture shows wrapping up in Paris, Fendi shuttled guests by chartered plane to Rome for another haute fourrure show last month.
Enjoy my Instagram-story direct from the FENDI Haute Couture
presentation in Rome via @andreajankeofficial