Susannah Shops: Change is in this season


Susannah Frankel
Wednesday 26 October 2011 17:03

For reasons of decorum – and cash flow – and with the summer's key buys under my tan leather belt, last week seemed a good point to sit back and take stock, to reflect sagely as opposed to shop rapaciously... It may seem previous but the autumn pre-collections drop next month and, with designer fashion in such a state of flux, shopping might not unreasonably be seen as lifetime investment over and above mere instant gratification just now. Great. As if I needed another excuse.

Next season is the last chance to buy Hannah MacGibbon for Chloe, Christophe Decarnin for Balmain and, most likely, John Galliano's final designs for his eponymous label (below), for the foreseeable future at least. I love what MacGibbon does, so I may find myself shopping at Chloe, although it's safe to assume that she'll find her feet elsewhere before too long. Decarnin's Balmain – the designer reportedly failed to turn up for his last show and is suffering from exhaustion – was a step forward this season, but still one too literally bathed in nostalgia for the 1970s to suit my taste.

Galliano's collection is on another level. Given his longevity – he graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1984 – the influence he has wielded over international fashion, not least as creative director of Christian Dior, and the beauty of his designs, this is fashion history, surely, whatever his recent behaviour.

In an ideal world, it should be a designer's choice when he or she steps down. Take Yves Saint Laurent's swan-song collection, shown at the Pompidou Centre in 2002, that saw sales at that label soaring; or, indeed, Valentino Garavani's final outing in 2008; equally well received.

Sadly, only very few have the power to control their owns exits in quite so elaborately stage-managed a way. A bias-cut gown? A Paul Poiret-inspired opera coat? The languid tailoring with which John Galliano made his name? Methinks I'll need to start saving now.

Susannah Frankel is Fashion Editor of 'The Independent'

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