Jean-Claude Jitrois is known for his skilled craftsmanship in manipulating luxury leather and fur. His collection for Autumn/Winter 2013 showcases this talent as he delivers an aesthetic from the 1950s. One of the designer’s fondest memories is watching the belles élégantes parading their refined looks in southern France with gentlemen by their sides. These women were the epitome of cultivated beauty, but caged in their restrictive corsets. As a child, Jitrois imagined these ladies as elegant birds waiting to be freed.
The Jitrois collection arrives at The Golden Age by mixing street wear with eveningwear. It combines the sophisticated design of a wide swing skirt with that of a motorcycle rebel in a belted black leather jacket and matching gloves. Think Grace Kelly or Elizabeth Taylor gone bad. Jitrois moulds leather to liberate the 1950s woman.
A new vision of past meets present is born by assembling graphic lines with fur collars, fitted jackets and textured cigarette pants. Billowing skirts become wine red pencil skirts. Pleated fur coats bring an image of birds’ wings to mind. Jackets are designed like the breast of the creature in flight. The evolution continues as romantic puce pinks are married with deeper reds. Pants with slits on the side are cross-stitched giving an allusion to fishnets. Shades of saffron, royal blue, and tan are woven into the story. Elegance is always strongly present as baroque motifs are quilted on sheer silk and coupled with knitwear. For accessories, leather bags and low-heeled, pointed shoes are fashioned with buckles giving an air of biker chic.
One show-stopping dress accentuates the royal motif on almost nude skin. A long, leather fringed skirt sits at the hips, swaying with each graceful step. The dress speaks as a powerful example of liberation, just as Jitrois’s entire collection paints a picture of a strong woman who directs her own future.
Words / Sheri Chiu
Follow her on Twitter @nakiesheri