It would take some effort not to find an item to covet in the 80-plus looks that Alexandre Vauthier proposed for his fall '15 collection, shown today in his Parisian headquarters. A few days before, Mathieu César had once again captured the essence of the French couturier's ready-to-wear, embodied by the pouty Lindsay Wixson. On the racks, the profusion of items is startling, even for those familiar with the brand.
With couture as his laboratory and ready-to-wear as his playground, the options seem infinite. Pricing is smart, for starters; a simple back-bearing jersey dress will set you back a couple hundred Euros, while simple outerwear breaks at around a thousand. Upwards from there are the items closest to his couture. Everything relies on his ability to translate experimentation into retail production.
It may not be immediately apparent, but Vauthier is something of a fabric fiend. His eye practically sparkles when he speaks of a changeant fabric with a pedigree back to Tissus Abraham, a Saint Laurent favorite. Grabbing a ruched knit dress, he showed its counterpart, a similarly corrugate suede dress, derived from it. Skimming over his eveningwear, mostly composed of variations on his couture, including one dress from his January show that had been specifically requested as a limited edition by a retailer, he demonstrates the light play of polka dot crystallization. Out of the furs and silks, neo-moiré and crocodile hides, he picked out a Japanese crepe in darkest, inky black as his favorite of the season. This hardworking material was turned into a host of pieces, from perfect LBDs to impeccably tailored jackets. His très cool, rolled-up sleeves appeared in a dozen variations around the blazer, including dresses.
The seemingly limited palette likewise offered no shortage of combinations. Opposing matte and shine was the fulcrum for the collection: forest green crepe chimed with silver leather, making the former pop while the latter looked like a better option for white; sequins slipped under double satin; one jacket was licked around the collar tuxedo-style with that changeant fabric in a lush green; the fuzziness of suede played off the no-doubt taut surface of apparent skin. Freshest in the crop were parkas, in leather-like lacquered satin, and a surprising tartan shirt. "I made it for myself," Vauthier admitted. "And then my girlfriends started wanting them. That's how they dress: a fantastic jacket and something easier underneath."
Asked about the mini-revolution of this relaxed impression in his collection, Vauthier simply said that he didn't think women were into the super-tight, body conscious, right now. Therein lies the lynchpin of his success, the ability to listen to customer wants and needs. There will always be those who deny Vauthier the right to ascribe to a form of glamorized, ultra femininity, far from the ambient pared back androgyny. But the bevies of VVIPs who he counts as friends and the retailers beating down his doors to order his collection know what he's about. After all, game recognizes game.