A. Vauthier, Couture été 2014

 A. Vauthier, Couture été 2014

“The heat and sensuality of summer, with a splash of surf,” Vauthier said after his spring 2014 show, his face speckled with the crimson kisses of his ecstatic models. And that was exactly what had come to mind while sitting in the Beaux-Arts, seeped in by the lightly dealt yet intrinsically estival scent of warm coconuts imagined by olfactive illustrator – and perfumer – Francis Kurkdjian.

It was, more than ever, a smorgasbord of sensuality that evoked the glamorous denizens of whatever paradise island the surf’s up on. Waves, wildlife, and of course, beautiful women were par for the course. The hems still reached up there but up top, the cuts were a little looser, giving new volumes and draping, almost accidentally, across the body. It was glitzy and sensuous in many instances. A wine leather bustier mini, the opening long-sleeved looks, a chartreuse flurry of “waves” were among the stand-out moments.

But more often than not, it was too much. The Mister-T accumulations of necklaces and chains did nothing but obscure the view of the lace body stockings. A loose silk shirtdress slithered a little too far to the side. His update on the wristlet clutch, secured at the ankle – like a surfboard would be – as well as the spiked necklaces left an impression of a dubious massage parlor. A leopard dress was a bit too feral to be let out like this.

Backstage, he extolled the handicraft that went into his knotted leather numbers. “Hours and hours of work,” he mused almost to himself. “But that’s what couture was made for.” Truth be told, on some looks, his work coalesced. On others, it felt a little forced. His razor-sharp tailoring worked better than this slippery relaxed fit that telegraphed sloppy rather than sultry. Today, his tailoring and eye for volumes was still the winner.

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