The Indian summer in Paris complemented the brightly hued FW 11 collection of Adeline André, who presented 20 looks embodying the art of sartorial minimalism.
Adeline André is known for designs that embody the art of sartorial minimalism. A member of the Syndicate Chamber of Parisian Couture (SCPC) since 1997, her simplistic aesthetic, although innovative, lacks the mass appeal of say, Anne Valerie Hash, also a SCPC member.
Since launching the fashion house that bears her name 31 years ago, André has stayed true to the minimalist principles ‒ unlined fabrics, few to no embellishments and no prints ‒ that characterize her work and thus has changed the notion of what couture represents. It’s her cult-like following and private clientele that keep her creations relevant. From seamless dresses to the “three sleeve hole,” her most noteworthy invention, to using models of all age groups and sizes, André is a courtier who marches to her own drum.
For fall/winter 2011, André presented 18 womenswear looks and two menswear looks at the Hôtel d’Ecquevilly, an architectural treasure of the 17th century. Models were sent out two by two, with “deux par deux” being the theme of the collection. The Indian summer was intense in the venue, once home to several Chancellors of France, but the collections bright colour palette — red, orange, green and yellow — were befitting for the warm occasion. There were two looks that stood out. The first was a cleverly hooded terry wool three-armhole coat in crushed orange that honed in on André’s forward-thinking design skills. The other was a silk fiery-red double-georgette sleeveless dress with pleats. The hue of the dress was inspired by the saturated jewel tones found in the edible nasturtium flower, which coincidently played up this idea of spring fun for fall. The shoes were also noteworthy: Low elevated wedges with an architectural base designed by United Nude. Pint-size male models donned a uniform-like smock ‒ three-armhole doeskin jacket ‒ and cotton trousers that reminded us of styles worn by the hobbits in the “Lord of the Ring.” These two looks took away from the cohesiveness of the collection and felt quite random.
André’s designs are definitely not for everyone, but nor should they be. The primary concept of couture is made-to-order designs for private customers. The Hôtel d’Ecquevilly was packed with admirers and supporters of André. When she emerged in her signature white painter’s smock, slim fit trousers and low-top vintage lace-up sneakers, the room erupted with excitement. After a few moments filled with smiles and signs of appreciation, André took her exit. But the room wouldn’t stop cheering, forcing her to come back out for second bow. Such an uproar can only indicate that the Bangui-born designer gave her followers what they wanted ¬‒ straightforward craftsmanship.