Voila Paris '99ers!
Here are my Top 12 shows of Fall/Winter 2012/2013, a season I consider to be spectacularly strong all around the world.
First cab off the rank was as always New York. Reds, reds, reds of all sorts!
My favourites, a mix of the old and the new;
Altuzarra, the new kid who this season truly 'arrived' as they say, sending out a multicultural swashbuckling adventure dripping with coins and shearling and stitched tight in high waisted leg lengthening skirts and fabulously tailored jackets.
Calvin Klein Collection by Francisco Costa truly captured the mood, great soft volumes that seemed to float with the body in the deepest, boldest and sharpest tones (while maintaining his simple and elegant minimalism).
Thom Browne, known for his clean cut menswear, sent out a truly upside down collection; huge sprawling shapes, protrusions, history and drama. Sometimes things don't have! to be worn, just appreciated for their astounding conceptualisation.
Now before you start on me, New York was full of amazements; Proenza Schouler, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, and then some, but I am choosing collections from all across the spectrum, not just those that will influence what Zara and H&M will have in stores in two weeks, if not already :S
Enjoy!! (all images will be taken from www.style.com thanks a lot for being there for us :))
Calvin Klein Collection
So as we know London Fashion Week is all about the newest, wildest, most out there, small scale, next big thing place to be. Just think, Chalayan, Stella, John (in better days) Lee Alexander (RIP :S), and more recently Gareth and Christopher, Mary, you all know who I am talking about. Let's see what this season brought us.
My top 3 from the Queen's city are:
John Rocha, a man who has been showing for years, and though unfortunately most commonly known for his designers for Debenham's collaboration is actually a lot more weird and wonderful. Like all good storytellers he continues in his own vein with a little tweaking. This season was grand, textural, romance-goth, and for the first time he appeared on style.com, making gathering images of the show a lot easier than in the past!
Christopher Kane showed a collection steeped in sex, violence and seedy murky worlds with shady characters and shadier acts. Moire (ay), one of my favourite techniques, appeared in hyper, with fabrics in bold, almost electric blue and blood red looking as if they had been shot, the contrast was so vivid. The floral beading and embroidery was so dense but looked anything but glamorous, the whole collection was a deep dark look at this otherwise happy go lucky designer. I loved it!
Finally in London another gentleman with a stellar career thus far. Bottega Veneta, Emanuel Ungaro, a stint at DAKS and of ocurse his own fabulously dark collection its Giles Deacon. A man whose collections always stem from a narrative, usually one with a bit of a macabre twist, next winter is no different. A country manor is burning down and the household have to gather their things and escape, some with minor textile damage!
The prints are so rich in detail, tapestries featuring unicorns and other fantastical creatures, roughly shredded edges look to have been burnt and beautifully balanced gowns literally have digital holes within the print as if a hot ember has fallen from above. Fabulous!
The powerhouses of fashion pulled out all stops. There was '60s, military, winter white, fluro fur, something for everyone. Of course the tear jerking finale at Jil Sander brought the end of the Raf Simons era, and it shall be interesting to see where he heads next. His collection makes my cut (and every other best of list, and for good reason). Using the palest of palettes; blush, cream, ice and smoke, highlighted with a deep deep pink, red and black, Raf conjured the most perfect shapes for an every day, and evening, wardrobe with what looked like a simple wave of his hand (and that's the best minimalism) but of course every seam, dart and fold would have been painstakingly re-examined and refined to reach this final resolution.
Ironically neither Raf Simons nor Jil Sander are actually Italian; respectively Belgian and German, but my next highlight is potentially the epitome of what we think about the Italian designers. Donatella Versace has had her ups and downs, personally and professionally, but this season she blew it out of the water. A collection that would have had her late brother Gianni smiling from fashion heaven, it in fact dedicated to him and the direction of his last Haute Couture collection just before his untimely murder. There were Byzantium crucifixes, the iconic metal mesh, bold bright colours, the lot. But it was all very restrained when in the past Donatella could take those elements and come up with something far too, well, much. For me she found the groove which fits these unstable times, and hopefully lots of people agree and buy it haha!
Finally a new kid on the Milan block, and this is not an easy thing to be given the long and outstanding histories of most of the houses. Gabriele Colangelo has been around for 3 years but his cutting and way with fabric, print and embellishment does not show his youth. His tailoring is precise, his dresses curve hugging but through clever use of fabric (no stretch here) and his embroideries are layered densely and create new 3D fabrics of their own. There was fur, both 'ringed' and finely shaved and draped, and a bold bright red which you all know I love. See what you think, and look back at his earlier work too!
Et voila, Paris!
The end of the month long circus brought some outstanding collections from the powerhouses of Paris, all in some sort of flux as Stefano Pilati's contract came to an end at Yves Saint Laurent. He will be replaced by none other than Hedi Slimane, who of course was the menswear designer in 1999-2000 while Alber Elbaz designed womenswear until Tom Ford took over. The rumour mill suggests that Raf Simons may take over Dior although long time Galliano assistant Bill Geytten may just start to settle into the role. Anyway its all flippity flop, but here are my best of Paris for 2012/2013, and boy was this hard to choose!
Perhaps its biased given that I spent almost a year with them, but A.F Vandevorst showed one of their strongest collections to date. All the elements were there; the trench, asymmetric knitwear, long velvet, military, medical, lace and fur, but there was an undeniable heightened elegance, and the Stephen Jones fedoras, I want one!
Martin Margiela, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christophe Lemaire. Three men who have helmed (and currently doing so) perhaps my favourite ultimate haute luxurie Parisian house; Hermes.
Lemaire's collection this season was one I just didn't want to end. Sweeping suedes in all colours of the earth, perfectly nipped jackets in one look, cascading draped three piece suits in the next. Even looking at it on the computer screen, flat as a pancake, I could just feel my hand melting into the fabrics upon touching, and you know touching is what I love most! The clashing prints, the generous leather pants, everything was amazing. See for yourself :)
So, what is the pick between Alexander McQueen, where Sarah Burton remembered her master with optimism and lightness, Alber Elbaz's 10th anniversary party at Lanvin, Rick Owens' soft, long and lean collection lit by columns of fire or Nicolas Ghesquiere's return to form at Balenciaga? The pick, as hard as it was, goes to Sarah Burton for the absolutely stunning cutting and her overall evolution in making a label so connected with hardness and pain just as beautiful while looking for the happier things in life.
The intricate cutting of the leather lattices then covered in fur pompoms, the beautifully undulating chiffon of the last series of 'explosions' and the absolute control of all her materials makes this collection, for me, the most perfectly executed collection of the season, conceptually and technically. Perhaps you agree, perhaps not, but one thing is for sure, in this day and age in fashion, anything goes, as long as it is done with truth and conviction!
Coming up next, in not too long indeed, a few new things on the Paris '99 block :)