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Drama, grunge and hair prongs at Paris Fashion Week

Amy Verner reports from the runways of Paris Fashion Week

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Damir Doma, among the fresh young talents on the French fashion scene, was first up on the Paris Fashion Week schedule Wednesday morning. He cited a push and pull between “aquatic and urban influences” as the collection’s theme. Here, silk shantung in turquoise and sapphire ripples around a deconstructed smoking jacket.

Reuters

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Doma’s created a flipped-up peplum effect by cinching a pant at the hipbones while also exposing the reverse leather side. The risk was that this too closely resembled a fancy folded napkin. But points for originality.

Reuters

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His dresses also presented novel construction details and a careful balance between the matte leather bodice against checkered jacquard silk skirt. The women who loyally wear Haider Ackermann will notice similar themes explored by Doma. There’s certainly room for both.

AP

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Dries Van Noten presented a knockout collection in which couture craftsmanship collided with a grunge spirit. At times, it was a lush take on pajama dressing, one that showed filmy floral robes over perfectly dressed-down separates. Notice, too, the red lip; this woman is hardly heading to bed.

AP

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For his Spring 2013 men’s collection, Noten presented camouflage in such a way, and so incessantly, that it no longer carried the usual subtext. Here, he’s taken a similar approach with plaid. The shirt’s unexpected lightness is key, as is the pattern colliding diagonally on the dress.

AP

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And then, as if the collection wasn’t already thoughtful enough, Van Noten showed a diaphanous dress boasting the faintest floral print over a plaid under-layer. Veiling the body while revealing it through sheerness, this piece is a testament to the designer’s intensely thoughtful spirit.

AP

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Marco Zanini, creative director for the heritage French fashion house Rochas, knows how and when to turn up the heat. This season, he flirted between restrictive and full silhouettes. He also seemed to be obsessed with a stylized boxing boot.

Reuters

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Zanini faithfully adheres to a certain feminine polish. But carmine on crimson turns this tennis-style outfit into something more carnal.

Reuters

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There’s nothing retro about a hoop skirt when paired with a blouse that ends abruptly at the ribs.

Reuters

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Cheek. Chic.

Reuters

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Cinematic drama is to be expected from British designer Gareth Pugh. Show notes described the collection as “seething glamour.” Fully veiled mantillas seemed to suggest as much a nod to religious ceremony as severe beauty.

AP

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For all of Pugh’s futuristic fantasy leanings – at times, a déjà vu to the royal costumes of Star Wars character Padme Amidala – he’s actually obsessive about fabric, and he figures out decadent ways to express volume season after season. Here, a curtain of slashed chiffon trails behind the body.

AP

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But then, cleverly, he never neglects the retail imperative. Exaggerated sleeves aside, this luminous suiting exists entirely within a classic framework. Hair prongs, less so.

AP

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Guillaume Henry continues to position Carven (a house that dates back to the 1940s) as the ingénue who cannot be ignored. He’s made cutouts a signature; this season, they appear in decidedly kidney-shaped doubles, but up front and up high at the décolletage.

AP

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When is a skirt suit not a skirt suit? When it boasts all sorts of unexpected curves and angles. The buttoned-up collar, another Carven calling card, always manages to present as much provocation as polish.

Reuters

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Henry’s take on Toile de Jouy took us to the safari, complete with giraffes, baobab trees and tourist caravans.

AP

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Last season, Alber Elbaz celebrated his 10th year at Lanvin with a look that remained true to the house repertoire: decadent surface treatments, sculpted silhouettes and cocktail dresses with kick. For Spring 2013, he was back to business with strict looks, mostly anchored in black. But never, ever basic.

Reuters

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Elbaz is second to none when it comes to simplifying sexiness. And it doesn’t take much, as long as the execution is impeccable. Witness this men’s trouser paired with what is essentially an asymmetric swimsuit.

Reuters

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As the collection progressed and he introduced a spectrum of colours befitting the royal court, he simultaneously constructed the clothes to convey power (also, Elbaz has never met a strong shoulder he didn’t like). It’s as if he’s saying: Wear Lanvin, run the world.

Reuters

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As the Nina Ricci show began, tissue paper petals rained down on the runway. First thought: Let’s hope the models don’t trip! Dots then materialized on the clothes, along with chains and harnesses. If last season’s muse was a girl raiding her grandmother’s closet; the girl’s clearly grown up fast.

Reuters

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At one point, the dots became humongous.

Reuters

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For showers of the non-paper variety, creative director Peter Copping conceived lacquered fishnet. It’s unclear whether the material feels soft or crinkly against the skin. Regardless, the designer seems to get pleasure challenging the balance of fancy and fetish.

AP

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For his third collection at the helm of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing used a motif lifted directly from black and white tiled floors, which then morphed into more of a harlequin print. Another one of his themes: wicker, an effect he achieved through woven raffia.

Reuters

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More and more, Rick Owens is moving away from a minimalist gothic aesthetic to one that feels otherworldly, even spiritual. There was greater emphasis on gentle, floaty fabrics for Spring. Ditto foam. The mix was balanced out by lacquered python-topped tunics, cut severely (though not nearly as severely as the hair).

AP

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