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FW13: La COMEDIE HUMAINE: Balzac in YSL Couture

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
La Comedie Humaine:
Balzac wears vintage YSL couture.

Paris once dominated fashion from menswear to couture to accessories, but with the rise of London, Milan, Tokyo, and New York, it’s become surprisingly difficult to find new and innovative French designers. I was therefore pleased to find La Comedie Humaine at Pitti, a brand centered in Paris and designed by Vincent Louis Voinchet. I had a chance to view the FW13 collection and speak with him about his ideas, his influences, and the unique inspiration behind his brand’s name.

Context: Many artists and writers have been interested in fashion, but none did it earlier, more thoroughly, or with such passion as Honore de Balzac. In his series of novels La Comedie Humaine and in his dozens of plays, short stories, and non-fiction works, Balzac displayed a sense of depth, levity, wit, class, and timelessness that is still unmatched. As well, Balzac was one of the first to pay close attention to fashion trends, both as themes and images in his work and also in the grandeur of his life.

Voinchet seeks to channel these qualities in his collection, and he just may have done it for FW13. In it I saw not only these conceptual literary interests, but also a thorough knowledge of fashion history: hints of color blocks on pants and coats reminiscent of old-school YSL haute couture, humorous twists on classic menswear staples like Viktor & Rolf, and an irreverent inventiveness in some of the fabrics and styles like Comme des Garcons.

What to look for this season Wearable silhouettes, innovative use of bright colors that remain quite subtle, excellent details (like detachable collars on the shirts!), high quality, wide range of styles. I also liked that he’s introduced a small range of non-clothing items, such as patterned silk scarves and a range of leather bags, all made in France to high standards. I felt, even in a small collection like this, a recognizable aesthetic that was unique, a DNA that fit the brand, yet that fit within the contemporary scene. Finally, pricing seemed very fair for the level of detail and quality (400-500 euros for coats, 150 euros for shirts, and bags around 500-600 euros).

What worries me: Subtle, subdued, small fashion brands are wonderful finds when you come across them. In such a saturated fashion market as today, however, I worry how one would be able to find them with any ease and how they can rise above the herd without having to resort to gimmicks or theatrics.

Overall assessment: Could definitely be a “secret” favorite brand whose cards you keep close to your chest. Like some of the great small Japanese brands whose boutiques require a pilgrimage into the Tokyo suburbs to find, it’s definitely worth a look and to follow up in subsequent seasons. I hope that Voinchet can continue to channel these multiple sources as inspiration for his work.

Pictures of the collections, e-commerce, and lots of information available on their Website: www.lacomediehumaine.com




post #2 of 8
What garbage. Balzac was incredibly fat by 19th century standards and he was a nightowl. He woke at 10pm and wrote through the night until morning. He wasn't a clotheshorse.
post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AGPi View Post

What garbage. Balzac was incredibly fat by 19th century standards and he was a nightowl. He woke at 10pm and wrote through the night until morning. He wasn't a clotheshorse.

So? The main point was that he did write his novels paying a keen attention to the trappings of everyday life, clothing included.
post #4 of 8
i'm waiting for the maupassant collection
post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AGPi View Post

What garbage. Balzac was incredibly fat by 19th century standards and he was a nightowl. He woke at 10pm and wrote through the night until morning. He wasn't a clotheshorse.

The point is that Balzac paid close attention to what men wore and what it meant. I read LOST ILLUSIONS two or three years ago, and am still amazed at Balzac's description of how the lead character, Lucien, changes from sartorial bumpkin to cosmopole.
post #6 of 8
Rach, what did you think of the bag specifically?
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyc wid it View Post

Rach, what did you think of the bag specifically?

I really liked it, but then again tote/shopper styles with a zipper top are one of my favorite styles. Quality was excellent, made in France, good color/leather, and the size was nice (big enough for anything but not too huge). If you look on their e-store they have it with a model carrying it and it functions also as a document carrier/work bag. It also comes in black!

Here's the link:
http://www.lacomediehumaine.com/shop/en/46-maillot-a-manches-courtes-blanc.html

I have no more need for bags (I have a closet full), but for 500-600 euros I thought it was great. From any "major" brand it would be 2.5xs that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pickpackpockpuck View Post

i'm waiting for the maupassant collection
Or Huysman! lol8[1].gif
post #8 of 8
Thanks for the info, much appreciated. I would be using it more as a work bag, and I've been on the hunt for quite a while now. For my purposes, the sizing looks to be spot on. They seem to be out of stock of the black one (which I prefer), but I subscribed to be updated. I wonder if they deduct VAT.
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