Style reporter Amy Verner is covering the major shows at Paris Couture Fashion Week this week. Follow her on Twitter @amyverner.
As her 10-year design milestone, Anne Valerie Hash opted for a couture presentation consisting of ten looks that captured her continuing pursuit to merge masculine tailoring with feminine softness. Hash's approach to couture has never been dramatic. Rather, by way of cut and drape, she puts much effort into making her vision appear effortless.
In the decadently gilded salon of the Shangri-La Hotel, guests first viewed (and some gently touched) the silhouettes on three groupings of wooden mannequins and then watched as two models on a dais alternated the same looks but in different colourways.
Hash decided to literally turn convention on its side. Translation: Up close, one black asymmetrical dress actually evoked a draped pant, held up by two angel hair-thin crisscrossing straps; while jacket lapels became a diagonal detail focus across the side of another floor-length dress. Blouses that appeared to be perfectly tucked in were actually attached to their skirts. The looks in black and chalk proved more successful than the subdued tones of dusty rose, peach and mint, which seemed at odds with her strong approach to cut.
All-in-one suits may be a logistical challenge as far as everyday wear but they create a new and intriguing approach to tailoring. By emphasizing silk - crepe, organza and mousseline - Hash's collection came across not only as seasonless but also timeless, thoughtful and finessed. This was not Winter 2011 specific so much as a career reflection and a way to define the years ahead.
We've grown accustomed to seeing asymmetrical necklines (one-shoulder ennui, anyone?) but Hash's use of asymmetrical, and often dropped, waistlines was clever. Note, however, that it takes a couturier's eye to execute this well.