Carven’s house founder, Madame Marie-Louise Carven, was a pioneer; she was one of the first couturiers to start doing prêt-à-porter collections, she was one of the first to promote her brand in foreign countries, she created the “lantern” silhouette, and she was one of the first to transform basic fabrics like broderie Anglaise, Indian cotton, and pink gingham into couture works of art. Since Carven’s auspicious relaunch in 2008, the industry has looked to the brand for pioneering designs, and Guillaume Henry delivered. He created the new Carven girl, and she is unquestionably Cool with a capital “C”.
Since Henry’s departure, the task now rests with Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud, and for Spring/Summer 2017 they are looking to the past for inspiration. The design duo is interpreting Madame Carven’s coquettish clientele of yesteryear through the lens of contemporary styles, and they have landed on several cool motifs to make that idea concrete.
Martial and Caillaudaud were able to pay homage to the house that is now their home.
The youthful angle of the collection was apparent from the outset, as mini wrap skirts, low-slung utility trousers, breathable lace tops, and buckle-front mod mini dresses set the tone for both the tomboy and the femme. Embroidered with Carven crests (which also appeared on show invites) came plush knitwear and geometrically appointed sweaters, which added vibrant splashes of color to the proceedings.
A modern mood was also supported by plastic rainwear and trousers – the latter of which skewed a little too closely to Jonathan Anderson’s see-through pants at Loewe’s Spring/Summer 2016 show. Still, the design duo managed to make good use of floral patterns on voluminous baby-doll dresses, layered mini skirts, and buckle-wrapped summer frocks, which spoke to Madame Carven’s love of flowers. By tying the collection to archival images, Martial and Caillaudaud were able to pay homage to the house that is now their home without sacrificing their youthful new vision for Carven’s future.