Paris Fashion Week reviews

Chanel, fashion show in Paris, ready to wear collection spring summer 2013

Chanel
Karl Lagerfeld looked to the heavens for inspiration this season. But instead of going with celestial bodies, he turned to the soothing effects of a summer breeze and the power of the sun.

 To that end, Lagerfeld placed 13 pristine white wind turbines, usually found scattered across empty farmlands, along the length of a catwalk designed to mimic the look of solar panels.

 And like a cool breeze, the designer created a collection that was relatively minimal. Yes, there were large pearl embellishments and graphic, grid-like tweeds that echoed the look of the solar panels, but the story of this show was more about shape. The designer’s experimentation with proportions particularly favored the style of a cropped, cape-like top over fitted dresses that looked like they were “too long” skirts hiked up to below the bosom. The alternatives were forgiving mini A-line dresses that looked like they would let the body breath on a hot summer day. One strapless version in denim with pearls dotting the top looked particularly fresh and playful.

But for once, the always inventive runway design hindered more than helped the collection. The size of a football field, it overwhelmed the designs, dwarfing them, so that their sunny disposition couldn’t reach the audience that was ready and waiting to bask in their warm glow.   


Louis Vuitton

This season, instead of taking the fashion crowd on a trip to some far-flung location, Marc Jacobs’ sartorial voyage was more of a state of mind — and a graphic, fantastic one at that.

 The concept of the clothing was pretty straight-forward: Take the brand’s monogram and expand or shrink the pattern ’til your heart’s content. Blow up the design extra large like color blocks on a top, or shrink it down to a pixel pattern on a long and lean skirt suit that helps to accentuate the geometric aspect of the style.

The way the clothing was presented also enhanced the effect of the print. Models descended down escalators in pairs and walked in lock step together across the catwalk.  This buddy system showed how versatile the simple grid pattern could be and it also revealed how its changing scale and textural interpretations could transform the style from something severe to sweet.

Breaking away from the grid theme, Jacobs inserted a floral print into the collection. But even then it came either formed out of a micro version of the print or was overlaid on outfits that were cut in a single color. For example, an embellished, all-white ensemble came down the runway next to one in yellow with the same print, thus creating, with the models walking so closely together, a checker pattern.

But you can’t talk about this collection without referencing the Marc Jacobs’ show that took place in New York last month. That show was all about lines and stripes, while this one was squares and checks — two sides of the same graphic coin, which bookended this Spring/Summer ’13 season in a truly unique and powerful style.


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