Saturday, October 25, 2008

Collection FW2008: Attrapes tes rèves

Native Americans believe that dreams, good and bad, travel through the room, in the silence of the night, before they reach those who sleep. So a round web-like creation (bound with thin leather stripes and hung above the bed) can attract and "catch" the bad dreams and nightmares, leaving the good ones "unaffected" to reach the dreamer.

This scarf, entitled "Catch Your Dreams" is a very clever interpretation and a very playful rendition of that belief. A beautiful display of colour and feel-good sensations, this scarf does not show as nice when knotted as the coloured ribbons follow the lines of the corners, suggesting a rather plain scarf. The other interesting aspect of this creation, not immediately visible in the photographs depicting the scarves with the white background, but more apparent on the brown ones, is the apparent texture of the picture, giving the distinct impressions that the ribbons are "added" to, rather than a part of, the overall scarf. Very clever, indeed.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Collection FW2008: Aux Pays des Epices

Another contemporary reinterpretation of a classic, "Aux Pays des Epices" ("In the Countries of Spices") was an instant success with me. It has been designed by Annie Faivre in 2001/2002 and reissued in 2008.

It is quite plausible that spices were first known in Mesopotamia, where the temples were the earliest to use them. Transported by land or sea, myrrh, incense, cinnamon, cloves and other spices served to embalm the dead as well as for medical and culinary purposes. Reserved for kings, spices came to be used as valuable currency.

The greatest explorers traveled in search of the spice routes, discovering remote countries in the course of their voyages. They would go to great lengths to find spices, banishing their fears of unknown places and people. They planted, they traded, they transplanted....

The explorer who discovered cloves (Pierre Poivre) continued the ancient search for spices, gaining no personal profit from the plants that he was determined to share with the worlds for as long as he lived (the exotic, fragrant spices gathered by Poivre still flourish today in the Grapefruit Garden on the Island of Mauritius).

This scarf is composed of a large wheel resembling a galleon helm or a wheel of the Surya chariot in Karanak, India. The design divides the world into spice receptacles. On each spoke of the wheel are depicted the countries and islands where the corresponding spices grow. The name of each spice is identified on medallions shown on the rim of the wheel. The border represents a necklace of red peppers, like small puppets; the red pepper motif is also repeated in a bouquet in the center of the wheel, like a crater or a sun.

I love how vibrant the colours are - indeed, truly magnificent - and how much dynamism they inspire (could it be the hot peppers?). Although the actual design is pretty busy (as compared to other designs I love), I equally find the intense red of the peppers against the chocolate brown background and the finish, along the border, in the same shade of red, make for a mesmerizing effect - and of course, the "organic" theme is always very appealing to me. One of the most impactful and memorable designs, in my mind, and a joy to watch it embellish the wearer!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Collection SS2007: Les Pavois

Another design that captured my attention and captivated my imagination is "Les Pavois" by Philippe Ledoux, a late long-serving and admired designer in the service of the Maison. A bit traditional, but beautifully combining tradition (flags) with contemporary (colours, for instance) in a very harmonious way !

First released in 1964 and reissued in 1990, this classic pattern has been reinterpreted most recently in 1998 by way of beautiful, contemporary and more relevant colours (such as the baby pink background, or a taupe, dark brown and mustard yellow combination)

What I find particularly spectacular about this design is the apparent dynamism of the image - rendered undoubtedly by the waving flags. A variation of this design with a baby pink background makes the entire "experience" softer yet equally dramatic. Other colours, particularly the darkers ones, I find to render this design into a more traditional scarf. I find it fascinating how the colour combination can have such a dramatic impact on the "feel" of a scarf.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Collection FW2007: In the Pocket II

Another colour variation on the theme of "In the Pocket" by Leigh P. Cooke, this scarf continues to make me think of my beloved grandmother.  Delicate and refined, with a tremendous presence without inconveniently imposing, this design features a baby blue background while in itself, the scarf is the personification of absolute femininity.  To me, this is an object of rare beauty that is both unique, like a piece of art, and meaningful.

Not everyone would be able to wear the baby blue colour, I find, but this design would be perfect for anyone who can sport pastel colours. There is something about the lightness of the colours that appealed instantly to my senses and continues to enchant me to this day.