Designing duo Ling Liu and Dawei Sun showed an exuberant collection of florals for Spring 2013. The sweet print made its way onto everything from minidresses to Bermuda shorts to swing coats to sheer shirtdresses. Continuing the ultrafeminine theme were dresses with poufy skirts and ruffle details. The color scheme was mostly white, blue, and orange with a couple soft-pink pieces. A few printed pants and oversize blouses made more boyish cameos on the Cacharel catwalk.
Working in a palette of black, brown, gray, and white, Haider Ackermann channeled his great talent for combining colors into something much more subdued for Spring 2013 — and the results were no less powerful. The designer's signature layered silhouettes were in full effect; at their best, they came in richly textured tiers that were sculpted beautifully at the shoulders, tucked and belted at the waist, and then left to ruffle out and flow languidly from hip to ankle. In dotted chiffon, leather, textured wool, and geometrically patterned silk, they were so artfully compiled that you almost didn't miss Ackermann's usual riot of color.
There's something to be said for a designer who makes beautiful clothes for the sake of making beautiful clothes. Martin Grant's Spring 2013 collection was full of strong, well-tailored dresses, coats, and separates that, while perhaps not as effusively fawned over as some of the other clothing shown in Paris this week, are nonetheless the kinds of garments that women will want to wear.
Take, for example, a dress that combined a deep-blue silk shirt with a pleated tweed skirt, or the handful of shirts and dresses that playfully employed the bishop's sleeve. Evening looks came with a straightforward glamour, like a gently tiered black cocktail dress or a blue gown with a layer of chiffon that moved to let the light shine through as its model came down the runway.
Speaking of models, Grant had one of the most diverse casts of any show we've seen in Paris. Perhaps that's this designer's way of saying his dresses are for everyone.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, whose Spring 2013 collection was most surprising of all? Could it be Viktor & Rolf? Just maybe. On a fragmented checkerboard runway backed by a glass staircase and giant framed mirror, the duo sent out a collection that was romantic, drapey, and even classically pretty. Grecian gowns in softly pleated panels of black, white, silver, and soft peach were lovely; some came topped with flowing duster coats or fuzzy fur sweaters. There were also loosely tailored trousers adorned with giant bows, silk varsity jackets, and sharp-cut blazers trimmed with strips of embellished metallics. It was all very "fairy-tale princess goes Hollywood" — and also a little disconcertingly out of character. That is, of course, until the cheeky peplum-ruffled moto vests, rose-emblazoned fur maxi skirts, and power-shouldered draped lamé jumpsuits started to appear. Those were pure, unadulterated Viktor & Rolf.
Tsumori Chisato's happy riot of color and print continued for Spring 2013. This time around, it came with a vaguely Southwest theme: cartoon cacti, antelope skulls, and vibrant desert-sunset hues. But for all its whimsy and sparkle, there were still wearable pieces on offer: a white silk t-shirt dress adorned with a watery zigzag print, a flowing maxi dress in printed chiffon, and a sharply cut pantsuit in bold cherry red.
Talk about sportif: Junya Watanabe's collaboration with Puma has clearly had an impact on his main collection for Spring 2013 — so much so that he put pieces from that collaboration on the runway.
While the capsule collection, with its high-top sneakers and garments made from tech fabrics, was appropriately athletic, the collection itself imagined the very distant future of sportswear. Garments of all kinds had mesh inserts in a variety of colors, and sportswear fabrics were made chic and forward-thinking with sheer overlays and inventive, body-skimming cuts. There were a few moments when Watanabe didn't dote on track and field: two little black dresses toward the end of the show were among the most chic variations on the wardrobe staple we've seen all week.
April Crichton is set to leave Sonia Rykiel now that Geraldo da Conceicao has been appointed creative director — but before she started packing up her desk, she created a final collection that helps herald a new direction for the French house.
While Crichton didn't exactly abandon Rykiel's signatures, she did set them aside momentarily to consider something more Japanese than French. There were kimono shapes and allusions to the obi belt sprinkled generously throughout, along with splotches of color applied like dollops of blue whipped cream to a jumpsuit and dress. And what of Rykiel's iconic knitwear? Crichton deconstructed it slightly, leaving the weave open in places on a shirt and skirt in mint green and a poncho in gentle pink.
Photos courtesy of Sonia Rykiel
Yohji Yamamoto has confessed that he doesn't really care whether or not anyone understands his work, and that nonchalance was apparent during his multilayered outing for Spring 2013. There were, by turns, references to military dressing, Amelia Earhart, Christian Dior's Bar jacket, and the kinds of light sarongs normally reserved for casual days at the beach — paired, of course, with asymmetrical blazers in a dark gray metallic fabric.
That asymmetry, which has always been at the top of Yamamoto's list of talking points, was present throughout this collection, injecting the rather reserved color palette of gray, khaki, black, and cream with interest.
Of course being an individual and making clothes that will sell aren't mutually exclusive. Yamamoto offered a few solid answers to the trends of the moment by way of a variety of sheer pieces and a few tops that showed off the models' midriffs.
Sometimes a hard-working girl just needs to get on a plane and spend a few days underneath a palm tree in Mustique, and from the looks of things that's exactly the girl Vanessa Bruno was thinking of when she designed her Spring 2013 collection. The suiting was professional and appropriately androgynous, but what got tongues wagging were the day dresses. A restrained palette of rose, beige, and cream dominated in these pieces, and a few were accented with silvery sequins or ostrich feathers that exaggerated movement. But the cuts were body conscious in a languid way — almost as languid as a well-deserved vacation.
Belgian husband-wife duo An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx brought major drama to the Parisian runway with their Spring 2013 collection. All their models strutted with either black or white sheer hats that were tilted to the side, covering their faces. Some even had their faces painted gold. Leather, asymmetrical hemlines, and fringe were standouts in the show. Black, white, red, turquoise, and gold were the colors of choice, while fabrics ranged from leather and satin to silk and cotton. The most controversial moment happened when a model walked down the runway wearing nothing but white trousers and peep-toe boots — up top, her chest was painted gold in the shape of a strapless top.