Fashion Watch sat down eagerly last night, bowl of popcorn in hand, to watch the first Britain’s Next Top Model hosted by supermodel Elle Macpherson. FW has always loved a bit of BNTM, but never as much as its American counterpart with the fabulous Tyra. This may have had something to do with the lovely but nevertheless not-in-Tyras-league Lisa Snowdon, who as host didn’t have as much gravitas as the inimitable Ms Banks. The other judges were also never as viciously bitchy as their American versions, and so a shake-up of the entire panel was necessary. Former Stylist of the Year winner Georgina Woodward is there, looking fashionable and formidable against Elle’s smiley disposition (you’ve got to have a bitch to say the nasty things so, as Tyra does, you can be the compassionate giver of praise) but she definitely has more presence and makes more sense than ‘former top supermodel’ Paula Hamilton. Male model Charley Speed is nowhere near Miss Jay’s league, but seems to be the token monotone posh Brit a la Nigel Barker. The best new judge is undoubtedly Julien Macdonald, the sparkly, showman of a designer, who was acerbic and sarcastic on Project Catwalk, and will be just the same here. As yet none of the wannabe models are standing out at me, but I’ll keep watching to see if Elle and her new team can knock them into model-worthy shape.
Ah, couture. We all love ‘ooo-ing’ at it, none of us can afford it, but a handful of fashion folks can, and the entire Couture Fashion Week in Paris is geared towards them. For the rest of us it is a spectacle of fashion-as-art beauty, a chance to see the true talents of certain designers beyond the constraints of Ready-to-Wear. And who better to kick off the week then the Dior label, historically grounded in its couture. Fashion Watch learnt that the house’s flower of choice is the parrot tulip, and it was exotic flowers that themed this show. There were lots of flowing fabrics, tulle, organza and silk, giving a romantic, colourful and dramatic atmosphere to the collection. Galliano studied real flowers to get the true feel for colour, shape and romanticism, and the pieces he created were testament to his gift for intricacy and delicateness. Keep an eye out for more couture updates later in the week!