We wanted to write a post about our new Parisian soft point: Carven. A “sleeping beauty” brand, established in 1945 by Madame Carmen de Tomasso (who has in fact just celebrated her 102nd birthday) and frequented by high-profile customers such as Edith Piaf. The brand was re-awakened 3 years ago, with former Givenchy designer Guillaume Henry at the creative helm and Paris’ fashion-savvy ladies were very happy to see the label’s St Germain boutique being re-opened.
There is a charming collegiate feel about the brand, characterised by voluminous, above-the-knee dresses and skirts, crepe A-line cocoon-shaped coats, cropped jackets and fitted shirts with Peter pan collars. Carven clothes have weight without, however feeling heavy and the Carven girl is gamine and down-to earth but quirky and sophisticated at the same time. For SS12 Henry took her on a journey around the world, the collection being bright and having strong folkloric elements (aztec, map and landscape prints), creating what has got to be one of the most popular collections of the season (now on sale on NET-A-PORTER by the way ;) )
For AW12 the Carven girl seems to have grown-up after her globe-trotting with the collection being understated yet very elegant and unique in its prints and shape. The pieces are couture-inspired and structured, but wearable and the colour palette neutral: camel, mustard, burgundy and black. We can see again the signature bubble skirts and dresses, enriched by brocade, velvet (which is proving very popular for the new season), accentuated shoulders, key-hole cuts and original 1970s tapestry prints, renaissance and ecclesiastical references. In fact the latter seem to have been inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthy delights” painting (photo). The new-found modesty, however, has been counteracted by rising hemlines, as according to Henry the new collection ”is playful, but not that strict. She has to be elegant and she can’t be too girly. It’s about contrasts”.
It is a brand that has returned to stay and we can definitely relate to style.com‘s remark “Carven is the kind of show where editors and retailers make personal shopping lists.” -we did ours too!
Article by Lydia Zacharis