Clare Waight Keller's show notes for Chloé's Fall 2013 collection described a myriad of inspirations: night buses, independent spirit, bare legs, bike sheds, flirting, cold nights, and tough girls. How all that translates to the actual pieces on the runway is anyone's guess, but that doesn't really matter. These were great clothes.
Ennio Capasa's Fall 2013 collection for Costume National brought a renewed focus to streamlined, minimal, and ultimately essential clothing. Rendered primarily in a palette of black, navy, and white with a few pieces in a navy-and-burgundy striped jacquard, these clothes did away with the artful decorations Capasa applied last season (and the avant-garde attitude he applied in previous outings) and focused on cut and tailoring. The show opened with a few riffs on the tuxedo, followed by a cape piped with satin. A fur vest provided warmth over a shirt with sheer sleeves, and the one all-red look on the runway stood out from the dark looks.
The golden splendor of temples in India, Nepal, and China inspired Carol Kim and Humberto Leon's Fall 2013 collection for Kenzo. But for all the ancient structures that fueled the offering's jacquard trousers and flocked lamé jackets, the clothing here felt decidedly contemporary. Much of that owes to shape: the sleeves and shoulders on some sweaters and jackets were rounded, and most of the trousers stayed slim. For whimsy, the duo chose an eye motif that popped up as a small print on trousers and jackets and as the dominating visual element on a sweater.
The backdrop of Jean Paul Gaultier's Fall 2013 show was backlit to show the shadows of models posing behind a screen bearing the designer's name. If that visual effect wasn't powerful enough, the first few looks down the runway — shirts and jackets in stiff materials molded and seemingly bolted to their models' figures — telegraphed the strength and confidence that come with wearing a suit of armor.
And while there was an emphasis on strong, pointed shoulders in this show, there were also moments when Gaultier exposed them. After all, knowing when to show your strengths is just as important as knowing when to hide them.
On a runway shrouded by dry ice mist, Haider Ackermann sent out a Fall 2013 lineup that felt tough, powerful, and sublimely elegant. Models with two-inch roots in their spiked-and-bleached hair marched slowly to the eerie sounds of wind blowing and boots stomping, while intermittent piano music further spurred the aura of melancholia.
"I'm surrounded by so many strong women, but there’s always a fragility inside, and I wanted to explore that," the designer explained of the dystopian feeling that permeated the show. Suits, jackets, and coats were piled on in slouchy layers and oversize shapes, all of which were artfully draped, folded, and tailored in Ackermann's signature expert way. Fabrics were also similarly heavy and defensive and included monochrome wools, herringbone, leather, and superthick fur. The future may be dark, but at least we'll have something chic to wear.
Go ahead, bring on the layers. For Fall 2013, Vivienne Westwood showered her runway with the intricately decorated, voluminous, and well-tailored clothing that she's known for, but this time she followed a medieval inspiration and piled lots of different pieces on top of each other.
Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren's theatrical runway antics took a backseat to wearability again for Fall 2013 — but that doesn't mean this collection was much less dramatic than past seasons'.
Working almost exclusively in black and white, the duo created dresses, skirts, and shirts with their signature ruffles and bows. Some of these would have looked sweet if it hadn't been for the stark palette. But instead, these garments had a noticeable edge — especially when paired with the short, almost tutu-like miniskirts that exposed long stretches of the models' legs.
Speaking of legs, the designers embroidered, beaded, and feathered a few garments — most notably a few pairs of trousers — to make them look ripped up. It's the kind of engineered destruction that looks good on and off the runway.
What does a fashion show smell like? Yohji Yamamoto's Fall 2013 on Friday was scented with the fragrance he's set to launch this Fall, and guests of the show took home a set of six of the designer's scents.
Whether that clever bit of marketing came from Yamamoto or his investors at Integral Corp., which saved the company from bankruptcy in 2009, was unclear. But the clothes themselves, most of them black, were all Yamamoto. The designer played The Beatles' "Cry Baby Cry" while models walked out in three-piece suits, generous shirts and trousers, and a few dresses covered in small, black, pyramid-shaped pieces of fabric. There were a few spots of color, though: two dresses combined dusty shades of black and brown, while knit sweaters and skirts in purple, yellow, red, blue, and orange trotted out toward the end of the show.
Maison Martin Margiela turned on its signature cheeky charm for Fall 2013. Traditional menswear fabrics and finely tailored separates were given a playful spin thanks to kooky proportions, clever details, and graffiti-like scribbles. The backs of tops and coats, for example, featured thick bands across the shoulders meant for tucking hair securely into place, while the sleeves of otherwise classic-looking jackets came with enormous, hand-obscuring cuffs.
In a week of high-profile debuts (Wang at Balenciaga, Puglisi at Ungaro), there's been a lot of talk about going back to the archives. But Geraldo da Conceicao, who made his debut as creative director at Sonia Rykiel for Fall 2013, paid homage to the brand's founder while offering a new look for her house.