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20 September 2014 13:46 (South Africa)
Life, etc

Chronicles of Chic: Style 2013.0

  • Emilie Gambade
  • Life, etc
Style 2013

One could blame it on two hemispheres and a desynchronized waltz of the seasons, but setting the fashion trends is always a crucial and increasingly chaotic task. EMILIE GAMBADE decodes the 2013 planet of styles for the rest of us.

The fashion weeks’ season in the Northern Hemisphere just completed its 20-day round the world trek, spinning more than 300 shows from New York to Paris, via London and Milano. It showcased prêt-à-porter for Spring/Summer 2013 and set tomorrow’s major trends. Meanwhile, the latest SA Fashion Week was held at the Crowne Plaza in Rosebank and presented collections for Fall/Winter 2013, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, just hosted its Winter 2013 fashion week. It’s future fashion in fast-forward mode.

Trends are born on the catwalks and are based on something that will be common to the different collections presented, whether fabrications or unusual prints, a thread that will define the feeling of the times. Sometimes, the tone for the season is given by foreign folklores, think Ralph Lauren’s jet-setting collection back from Latin America or Miuccia Prada’s reminiscences of Japan. Sometimes it is dunked into heritage as designers delve into the archives of the house they belong to, like Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent, and sometimes it is influenced by a complete new world, wild with creativity and innovation, bringing tales of uniqueness, squealing the designer’s signature, like the formidable duo behind Proenza Schouler or the modern Dries van Noten.

From one side of the meridian to the other, collections display silhouettes that shape not only women’s sartorial dreams but also retail’s ranges. And this season, which is, fashionably speaking, already six months ahead, the ranges are even more diverse than last year.

The spectrum of clothes on show covered everything from the Edo period and its neo-geishas to elusive femininity and geometrical bursts; ranges were filled with paradoxical lengths, rocking from garish tones to strong monochromes; whether you are an elegant devoted to glamour classicism or a fashion chameleon boasting audacious choices, the palette of dressing alternatives for 2013 is unlimited. While too many maybe better than too few, it’s easy to get lost in fashion translation without some editing.

The stories hopped from last year’s neon-pastels, overstated baroque and athletic references to global chaotic chic; they swung between accentuated silhouettes – think Mad Men 1960s mystique glamour – sporty looks with a vintage twist and defined heritage immersed in romance; there was a lot of Asia, too.

Indeed, there were many chinoiseries across the ranges; Angela Missoni, Miuccia Prada, Etro, Gareth Pugh and Emilio Pucci with its embroidered orientalism, looked towards the East, interpreting the Asian look with flowers appliqués, flawless layers and kimono shapes. Soon, we might see cross-over jackets, voluminous silhouettes, clean lines peppered with blossoms and impeccable layers hitting the street. The layering is not new, but it takes a different form with matching ensembles covering the whole body; this is a welcoming change in women’s suiting; it’s wider, sleeker, impeccably cut and certainly audaciously chic.

Photo: Prada.

Talking about collections immersed in travels and folklores, next summer will be all about the adventurous global girl, who takes gap years (after gap years) to abuse her heels on distant lands. There was Ralph Lauren’s colourful range of extra long skirts, flamenco frills, toreador-like suede jackets and Panama Cordobés hats; Dolce & Gabbana’s collection was all about Sicily, with macramé, fisherman basket-shaped skirts and its controversial local heritage art-inspired accessories and prints.

Photo: Ralph Lauren.

Isabel Marant’s folky trip to Hawaii, rock beach darlings with sensual sarongs, micro shorts and colourful prints was also sexy and very desirable.

Photos: Isabel Marant.

According to L’Officiel, long gone is the time when seasons crawled their distinct weather patterns one after the other; Spring 2013 travesties into winter as changes in our global climate seem to affect designers who draped the models’ shoulders with fur. Prada, Saint Laurent and Fendi paired long fur coats, wraps slouched over the arm, with knee-length skirts and top bras. Finally, Spring/Summer collections will make sense in the southern hemisphere winters. Besides, it is never too hot to infuriate PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

Photo: Fendi.

A regular to fashion trends’ front rows is the duo of femininity and romance; this season, Clare Waight Keller for Chloé set the trend with a collection made of graceful proportions, sheer tones and elusive frills that were flirting with blurriness.

Photo: Chloé

If Chloé was slightly minimalist, the John Galliano collection was to romance what Galliano was to Dior: pronounced, powerful, sometimes excessive drama. But it worked, and the spectacle of wide oversized dark tulle hats topping organza dresses and, again, voluminous silhouettes, made the show.

Also on the list of new silhouettes, cropped tops à-la-Sixties; Carven brought back the cropped sweater, showing off the belly or a piece of suggestive skin, homage to youthful sensuality, although not for everybody. Jacobs for Louis Vuitton went dramatic, with short tops over mini-mini-skirts defining the hips with a clear line.

Photo: Jacobs for Louis Vuitton.

Alexander Wang lopped off long dresses in distinct sections, exposing the body; it’s daring – surgical cuts slicing the body in small pieces – yet wearable. Balenciaga tried visible long-line bras, and Giambattista Valli worked on cropped tops made of embroidered delicate silk. The Miu Miu woman is nostalgic for retro glamour: la Prada dressed women featured sensually provocative bras mixed with posh-long skirts.

Photo: Alexander Wang.

A rebirth of the 1960s polished look was not only seen at Miu Miu, but also Burberry, where Christopher Bailey presented figure-skimming belted trenches, the trademark of the brand, tailored silhouettes and defined sexy busts.

Photo: Burberry Prorsum.

Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen worked on structured shapes nipped at the waist, peplums and beehive corsets for a woman in power, hiding behind her intriguingly revamped beekeeping hat. Moschino’s late ’60s collection veered into bold, vivid and fun. For summer 2013, expect some longing for the ’60s and capsule retail collections straight out of the Mad Men costumes trunk.

Photo: Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen

If vintage revamping and nostalgia is not your style, bet on your classics as the unavoidable black tuxedo fills summer space. Le Smoking Saint Laurent by Slimane is dedicated to a rock chick who wears it with leather and sequins, walking her way through night and day tautened in her skinny pants. Jean-Paul Gaultier brought back the ’80s, with a Grace Jones-look-alike-model in a mixed-fabric tailored tuxedo with visible buttons; it’s irresistible and will last forever.

Photo: Le Smoking Saint Laurent.

Also coming strong every season is the sporty look; by sporty, one means a silhouette that is tailored enough for a last minute business meeting with Bernard Arnault or a picnic in the Hamptons and loose enough to smash-and-grab the kids at the crèche; in short, the perfect cliché (and American dream) of the 21st century lady; Tommy Hilfiger is their idol, with wide-leg pants, oversized nautical tops, denim Bermudas and floating dresses. Michael Kors did sportswear made-easy; it’s fresh, colourful and smells out-of-school summer and fraternity parties. Frida Giannini at Gucci, created an energetic line dipped in revamped ’70s. It had a muscular je-ne-sais-quoi and an air of James Bond girl. Next Spring, get your tennis skirt out even if you don’t plan on hitting the court.

Photo: Gucci.

Trends are wild animals; they pop up in the bright light and die after only few months of existence, night butterflies turning old school worms. Finding out what will form tomorrow’s dress code is not simple; designers don’t meet in some secret gathering before the collections to decide in a collective symphony what silhouettes, prints and colours will be what women want. Yet, there is always something in the air that defines future desires, a story told that everybody will want to wear; next Spring, it’s a tale of thousands styles; “less is more” is so last season. DM 

  • Emilie Gambade
  • Life, etc


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