With a coastline imbued with sandy beaches that stretch up to 115 kilometres, 18 golf courses, 3,000 restaurants and 14 ski resorts — not too bad for a seaside retreat where sun and the sea are its main attractions – the French Riviera upholds the unique embodiment of joie de vivre.
To translate the literal meaning of Côte D’Azur’s legendary sense of joie de vivre in fashion context, it would be a collection of prêt-a-porter that literally screams liberty, joy, adventure and effortlessness. That spirit, apparently, looms large in the form of Diane Von Furstenberg’s spring/summer 2015 ready-to-wear collection.
A no stranger to the French Riviera social circuit, the iconic fashion designer looked to every aspect of the French seaside attraction that used to host Queen Victoria during her winter vacations as the crux of her story — from its glistening golden sun that shines over the sparkling azure waters right to its moonlit nights where the high societies would throw grandiose soirees and dress up to their nines in couture pieces and bespoke tuxedos.
At the recent New York Fashion Week, models such as Lily Donaldson, Isabelli Fontana and Malika Firth strut against a marble-esque background, parading the soon-to-hit-the-stores pieces, channelling the look of Côte D’Azur’s famous resident and icon Brigitte Bardot with that classic dishevelled hairdo, ranging from flaxen to the deepest of brown. Gingham print in monotonous black and white opened the show in form of wrap dress with thin black sash and two contrasting textures – matte on the bodice; sheer on the skirt.
Single hued cropped tops paired with printed bralettes and skirts hark back to the halcyon days when Bardot reigned supreme within the glamorous realm of the French cinema scene with her iconic silver screen feature, And God Created Woman in 1956.
There is a strong vintage nuance felt within the spring/summer collection — a wonderful and vivid collection that would bring back memories of French Riviera back in its glorious days circa 1950s.
It was the time when global jetsetters would board off their yachts in wide-brimmed, tightly woven straw hats with floppy brims; maillots in clashes of pastels or even turquoise, mimicking the colour of the sea water; and those inevitable oversized sunglasses.
Gingham prints aside, floral prints too dominates the collection, alongside the iconic French black-and-white stripes. Monotonous hues aside, the colour palette of the collection is splashed with bright, summery hues such as pink, green, corals and azure.
Over-prints create a dramatic effect, especially on a knee-high hemmed strapless dress with full pleat detailing where floral illustration doused in green accentuates the monochromatic gingham print, bringing out punchy fashion matrimony. Similar effect could be seen on pleated gingham skirt interspersed with faint speckles of sequins in light coral that is paired with a wraparound 3-quarter sleeved gingham top.
Sophistication ruled in the form of an all-white ensemble of single-breasted button front coat and hip-hugging shorts paired with a gingham-printed fabric-and-leather bag. Add a pair of oversized, white acetate framed sunglasses to the look and voila, the classic Mod is reborn! Accessories-wise, strappy gingham sandals are the highlight of the collection with occasional appearances of graphic bags and minimalist clutch.
Unlike the previous collections where there is a visible boundary between daywear and eveningwear, it seems that Diane has blurred that obvious line in this collection as the pieces are alike one to another.
For instance, the printed long gowns with high slits may be meant to be worn after the sun sets across the Riviera horizon, but due to the prints that are bursting with happy colours, rest assured you won’t be caught by the French fashion police — if there is, ever — for wearing an eveningwear in the broad daylight!
Ditto the baby doll dress in graphic print against white milieu with ruffled two-tiered hemming worn by Naomi Campbell at the closing of the show — she could have worn it in the morning and move on to the next glamorous party hours later without being out of place. All she needs, perhaps, is a switch of accessories and shoes and she’s good to go.
Diane von Furstenberg’s spring/summer 2015 collection will be available at all Diane von Furstenberg stores and selected multi-brand boutiques and fine departmental stores worldwide, early next year.
Diane von Furstenberg - Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, P2.07.00, Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur; Lot G03, C-D, Ground Floor, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50450 Kuala Lumpur