It's finally come: Paris Fashion Week, the grand finale and fabulous home stretch of the whirlwind that's been Spring 2013 Fashion Month. Despite the unexpected blustery weather (and that pesky jet lag), the first few days in the City of Light have been full of style and action — and everyone knows there's nothing like a little Lanvin, Nina Ricci, and Isabel Marant to brighten even the weariest spirits. Click through to see some of the highlights of the week thus far — including all the gorgeous sights, shows, and delicious snacks — here, in Part 1 of our Paris diary.
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Back to black: that seemed to be the message Alber Elbaz was sending at the beginning of his Spring 2013 show for Lanvin. After a decade of tastefully decorated jewel-tone dresses, what could be fresher than a few strong-shouldered suits (all the cool kids in Paris are doing them) and sexy, skin-baring frocks and shirts?
The black pieces weren't basic, though. Many referenced the '80s with shoulder pads and nodded to menswear with a variety of lapels — one jacket combined a black satin shawl-collar lapel on the left and a white and black notch lapel on the right.
With other black pieces, decorations came like an avalanche. Sequins and rhinestones adorned a selection of pants, jackets, and shirts toward the middle of the show, and these gave way to much simpler pieces in black and white. But by the end of the show, Elbaz was back to his old tricks, featuring lighthearted dresses in a rainbow of hues. If the colors there were similar to what we've seen from this house in the past, the cuts were new, less fussy, and more geometric. It was the perfect way to blend where Lanvin has been with where Lanvin is going.
When a million white petals fall from the ceiling at the start of a runway show, the natural conclusion to draw is that the corresponding collection is probably going to be very romantic and probably very sweet. Not so at Peter Copping's Spring 2013 outing for Nina Ricci.
After the lovely display of snowing confetti (so transfixing was it that when it finally ended several minutes later, the audience clapped and cheered), the twinkling classical soundtrack changed to grungy techno pop and the first looks out the gate were dark, disheveled, and even a little bit street. There were fishnet tops, leather straps, and exposed zips, while the models sported slicked-back hair and kohl-smudged eyes. Blazers, pencil skirts, and dresses were cut in deconstructed layers of silk charmeuse and chiffon, and collarless jackets and prim car coats came in outré fabrics like iridescent tweed or shimmering feathers. It was all very woman undone, or as Copping's show notes put it in a quote from Baudelaire: "The airs that have charm and constitute beauty are . . . a mixture of childishness, nonchalance, and mockery."
Miu Miu tapped some of the biggest names in the business to pose for its Resort 2013 ad campaign, which Steven Meisel shot earlier this month on the first day of New York Fashion Week.
Hilary Rhoda, Caroline Trentini, Jessica Stam, Karen Elson, Sung Hee Kim, Daphne Groeneveld, and Candice Swanepoel showed up for the shoot and donned colorful, floral-printed and slightly '60s Miu Miu Resort collection for the occasion. The setting for the shoot is just as colorful and decorative as the clothing and accessories themselves. A look at it all here in the gallery.
Photos Courtesy of Miu Miu
Before a single model came down Rick Owens's runway on Thursday, the backdrop for his Spring 2013 show started gushing soap bubbles that fell to the ground in fluffy, cloudlike mounds.
If viewers didn't interpret that bit of theater as Owens foreshadowing a light, airy collection, then they certainly figured it out by the first exit, a strapless, silvery-gray dress cinched at the bust and hem over a longer, sheer skirt. In fact, save for a handful of black gowns toward the middle of the show, all the looks were presented in various shades of taupe, beige, cream, white, and silvery gray — much like, well, clouds. The shapes of the clothing echoed that sentiment with their volume and materials. Many of the pieces, including an eye-catching off-the-shoulder gown with an iridescent skirt, were generously proportioned, and there were a few plastic rain slickers thrown in for good measure. Owens also played with decoration in this collection. Some of the final looks were accented with little knots or bits of fringe, and circular metallic hardware kept a few sleeveless jackets closed. Which makes sense: it's a good idea to button up on cloudy Spring days.
When it comes to sleek and cool, Barbara Bui knows exactly how to deliver. For Spring 2013, the designer showed a bevy of cool-girl looks with lots of leather, sharp blazers, and sheer details. Black and blue leather pieces were dominant throughout the show, with a leather-on-leather look taking the cake for most badass. Leather pants, maxi skirts, minidresses, and blouses all exuded major toughness, while contrastingly soft sheer blouses and dresses were more fluid. Embellishments, asymmetrical hemlines, and leather-on-chiffon were standout details. As for the color palette, black, white, and blue were the main hues, but a few colorful tribal-inspired jackets, dresses, shorts, and scarves made for a bold and refreshing finish.
Olivier Rousteing's designs for Balmain are usually bold, graphic, and forthrightly sexy, so it wasn't a surprise to see the strong '90s shoulders and bright harlequin patterns he employed for his Spring 2013 collection come down the runway. Rousteing said he was going for a feeling of "Latin sensuality," and some of his jackets were as heavily embellished as matador costumes. The flesh-baring midriff tops that have been spotted on other Paris runways this week were spotted here, too, most often paired with leather and denim trousers with soft pleats.
"Deborah is a creative and innovative editor with an impeccable sense of style and design," said The New York Times' executive editor, Jill Abramson, in a statement. "As we look to expand and extend T and continue to evolve it for our loyal and sophisticated New York Times audience, we will rely on Deborah's broad range of experience and creative energy. She is coming on board to strengthen the franchise and reimagine its future on all platforms."
Needleman replaces Sally Singer, whose departure from the magazine was announced just before New York Fashion Week.
H&M will open its new brand & Other Stories in Europe by Spring 2013 — but the retailer's renewed focus on existing and emerging markets means that American customers will have to wait at least until next Summer to shop H&M online.
The & Other Stories brand caters to "women with an interest in fashion who want to create their own personal style, and focuses on the total look," according to the company's recent nine-month report. While not a luxury brand as initially speculated, & Other Stories will offer a full complement of clothing and accessories designed by in-house design teams in Paris and Stockholm at a higher price point than the H&M offerings. The brand, which has been compared to H&M's other higher-priced line, COS, will be available in stores and online in "select European markets."
Back at H&M, the Swedish retailer will have opened some 300 new stores by the end of the year, many of which are in China and the United States. Thailand will have its first H&M store by the end of September, and Mexico will get its first store by the end of the year.
In addition to physical store growth, "we have intensified preparations for the rollout of H&M shop online to other markets in the Group," said H&M CEO Karl Persson. "These investments — and as we need more time for the launch of our online shop for the US — mean that the launch of H&M shop online in the US has been moved to Summer 2013."
Photo: The mood board in the & Other Stories atelier, courtesy of H&M.
If the floor-skimming sleeves and coattails Ann Demeulemeester sent down the runway during her Spring 2013 collection reminded viewers of superhero capes, that's because they were supposed to. Demeulemeester spun the story of a dark heroine (imagine Catwoman if she hadn't been so attached to a bodysuit) out of chiffon, jersey, and small bits of leather cut into corset-like belts and harnesses.
But this show wasn't just about fighting the bad guys. While there was lots of tough black, there were also some pieces in a deep purple and an ethereal white — like one billowing style worn by Karlie Kloss. There were also some excellent suits in a silvery fabric that featured elongated jackets and high hems on the well-tailored pants. After all, even superheros need something to wear at their day jobs.