Vogue Paris September 2001: Couture
By Bernie Rothschild
For the September 2001 issue of Vogue Paris, Emmanuelle Alt styled the fall couture collections starring the models Anne-Catherine Lacroix and Angela Lindvall in "Couture." This was one of the first few issues of Vogue Paris under the formidable direction of Carine Roitfeld with Emmanuelle as her rédactrice en chef mode. Ms. Roitfeld's vision for the magazine was crystal. Ms. Alt also happened to style the cover as photographed by Terry Richardson where it shows Angela Lindvall posing with a baby baboon. How kinky, freaky, and chic at the same time but very chic. She wears the baby monkey boldly on one shoulder as if it is the latest accessory of the season. I wonder if this shoot crossed the mind of Carine Roitfeld when she was styling her latest contribution to Harper's Bazaar as Global Fashion Director, "The Animal Nursery," which also features adorable baby monkeys.
This editorial marks the second year of the new millennium and the photos showed how it didn't really change, that you could still wear it today. The only difference was that the houses were designed by different designers. There's the great John Galliano for Dior, Givenchy by Julien McDonald, Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino by the original owners, Pierre Balmain by Oscar de la Renta, and Christian Lacroix. Only Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier remain today as the guard of the Haute Couture dressing. How nostalgic and melancholy at the same time.
The photos were somewhat an homage and inspired by the work of Helmut Newton whose association with Vogue Paris is remarkable. Couture dresses are expensive, difficult to wear, grandiose, and ladylike, but Emmanuelle Alt took it to the street with the I-don't-give-a-fuck-I-hate-too-much-effort attitude that has influenced the street-style of this internet generation. This photos is very much based on the feminine-masculine personal style of Ms. Alt and her love of Paris, smoking, and fast cars.
In the first photo, Angela Lindvall is wearing the exotic Tibetan-inspired Dior Couture by John Galliano. The Dior collection under Galliano was the must-watch show every season. His theatrical, nearly costume-like, show was worth it and beyond fabulous. The overt multi-cultural ethnic references in his designs are amazing. The simplicity of the background of the streets of Paris to keep the focus on the flamboyance of the dress was a perfect match.
The Lacroix couture dress that Angela wears reminds me of the glory days of the 18th-century when Parisian women wore couture while roaming the streets of Paris. Think of Madame de Pompadour and Marie Antoinette. That's how couture should be, non? Next is the Atelier Versace couture dress in the sports car. As we all know, Madame Alt loves driving nice cars. The photo was very dominatrix. It looks like she is en route to a party, ready to upstage the host and steal the scene. Lastly, the Chanel couture dress was very sexy, it made her look like a chic Parisian prostitute. I find everything about French women chic and appealing even if it involves selling bodies.
The pantsuit that Anne-Catherine Lacroix wears is provocative and daring because she could be arrested anytime. As we all knew, the French government just recently lifted the ban that forbade any women in the street of Paris wearing pants. The photo was seductive and evokes the spirit of the Le smoking attitude of Saint Laurent women where she puts one hand in her pocket with a cigarette in the other.
In my great conclusion, the style of Monsieur Saint Laurent muse Betty Catroux was the main inspiration for this photo. But the marabou Valentino feather blouse and the Chanel pantsuit with the pearl necklace screams of another ultra chic and stylish muse of Saint Laurent — Loulou de la Falaise who was known for her feminine style and love of wearing flashy accessories. Remember that it was Loulou who headed the Yves Saint Laurent accessories department.
Overall, there's no real difference from the fashion 13 years ago to the fashion of this decade. Designers come and go but couture style and tradition remains. Kudos to Emmanuelle Alt and Terry Richardson for defining and starting the trend of high street couture.
Vogue Paris editorial images © 2001 Condé Nast. All Rights Reserved.