Carven channels the rebellious ‘90s

#NOFILTER - Chonx Tibajia (The Philippine Star) - May 28, 2014 - 12:00am

The rebellious ‘90s offers some of the coolest fashion memories — not all of them swathed in plaid. Alicia Silverstone’s printed dresses, Liv Tyler’s midriff baring tops, even Fairuza Balk’s occult-chic are forever pinned to our mental boards, filed under “Trends We Need to Resurrect.” French fashion house Carven had the right idea in channeling this spirit in its summer 2014 collection, which hints at the decade through cut-out shoulders, oversize dresses, and lots of mini skirts. The ’90s reference is subtle, just like Carven is always subtle in its ways, veering from grunge and taking the clothes to a neater, more elegant plain.

CEO of Carven, Henri Sebaoun, has always had a very specific idea of the brand. Founded in the ‘40s by Carmen de Tommaso, who, at 5’1”, struggled to find clothes that flattered her petite frame, Carven was a personal mission. Sebaoun, who bought the brand in 2008, had called it “very chic, sophisticated, but totally unpretentious,” and it remains so to this day. “The philosophy of the brand created its very specific values: creative yet accessible,” he says. “The brand is positioned as a young style but addressed to women of any age.” Its loyal clients include Alexa Chung, Rihanna and Catherine Deneuve. Recently, Chloe Grace Moretz showed up in a Carven pre-fall 2014 dress at the opening night of The Library. Solange Knowles famously wore an emerald off-the-shoulder resort 2014 Carven dress. Kate Bosworth wore a black-and-white floral romper at this year’s Coachella.

“The Carven girl immediately seduced all markets,” says Sebaoun. “Our plan is to continue our work to develop the brand and still be accessible with this fashion-forward sense.”

For Carven’s summer 2014 collection, Sebaoun’s description of the Carven girl makes us want to be one: “She has the detached appearance of a young Juliette Lewis, Drew Barrymore or Liv Tyler, a nonchalant elegance, almost insolent.” There’s seduction for you — who wouldn’t wish to be elegantly insolent in Carven?

Creative director Guillaume Henry, who started with Givenchy and French sportswear label Paule Ka, produced peony camouflage printed dresses, wide-shoulder jackets, calf-length buttoned shifts and rompers that become slyly subversive with cutouts, patches and unlikely pairings of gingham and black, structure and embroidery, daintiness and translucence — all in in that trademark Carven silhouette. And there’s a lot of black for summer, not that anybody is complaining. The clothes could effortlessly carry over to the next season, as timeless as any piece from Carven would.

“The French fashion industry is still a leader and Paris is still the most important place for fashion. It’s an industry that needs to adapt to the changes and taste of our society and I think that the French industry does this very well,” says Sebaoun. Carven itself is a transformed brand, still evolving and still pleasing women — all ages, sizes and heights — and its understated nod to the ‘90s this season hints at exciting things to come.

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Carven is located at the East Wing of Shangri-La Plaza.


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