The Alpine charm of 1965’s classic musical film The Sound of Music continues to enchant young creatives, especially those finding themselves in a “whimsical stage.” Carven’s Spring 2012 collection explores the Bavarian theme other designers like Karen Walker and Marios Schwab explored last year with Salzberg-centric showings. More specifically, Carvan hones closer to the territory that none other than Gwen Stefani tread in 2006 with her postmodern Maria Rainer phase, best showcased in her batty clip for “Wind It Up.”
Stefani’s approach to the folk age schoolgirl archetype presented in The Sound of Music was cheekier, of course. In her world, the Von Trapps were swapped for Harajuku Girls in naughty-length jumpers and jarring Scarface-era Michelle Pfeiffer wigs (the singer’s other obsession at the the time). Carven designer Guillaume Henry gave the look a more luxurious appeal, transforming the tradtional kilts into punchy leather skirts, while lederhosen were interpreted as leather harnesses worn over blouses. The collection’s “kinder” vibe kept its shapes and colors decidedly naive, with artisinal flourishes like traditional stitching and embroidery techniques, showcased on the fronts of crotch-length babydoll dresses, offsetting their potential vulgarity.
Interestingly — though almost surely by coincidence — Carven’s introductory palette of blacks, whites, and vivid blues mirrored Stefani’s own Alpine spectrum in “Wind It Up.” Those looks also marked the boldest part of the show; a later trip through muted peach and moss tones felt appropriately rustic, especially with their homespun zigzag patterns, but lost points in sophistication. Isn’t the point of dressing like a schoolgirl to break the rules?