Refreshing Colours and Sports Details at Chalayan

Chalayan, SS13, Paris.

The recent collection by Hussein Chalayan for Spring-Summer 2013 featured crisp white tailoring, and vibrant flashes of colour with hints of sporting fabrications. It was above all a refreshing collection, a solid palette cleanser with Chalayan’s usual exquisite attention to detail.

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Christopher Kane Texture Frankenstein

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Christopher Kane, SS13, London.

The influence of the Frankenstein narrative emerged in the recent collection by Christopher Kane in a variety of ways. The sheer magnitude of experiments in the Spring-Summer 2013 collection, seemed in itself to suggest that Kane had himself become his own version of Dr. Frankenstein.

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Waist Darts at Rodarte

Rodarte, SS13, New York.

Darts are a shaping device that will often be hidden away in a garment to try to make them inconspicuous, but they can also be used as a feature of the design. The Rodarte team have quite a knack for making the most of darts and have in the past used the dart value at the waist line in a number of different formations.

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Dusty Pastels and Intricate Lacework at Valentino

Valentino, RST13, Paris.

The Valentino collection for Resort 2013 contrasted a selection of delicate laces in sorbet shades with graphic stripes and a leopard print spot. The laces and embellishments were used in a variety of ways, from laces appliqued in pieces over a sheer backing, to delicate beading that appeared to have been engineered to each cut piece of fabric.

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Jock Armour and Punk Details at Thom Browne

Thom Browne, Menswear, AW12.

The jock vs. punk subculture dichotomy that Thom Browne created for his Autumn-Winter 2012 show gave rise to a battle of silhouettes. There were skinny tailored sleeves and high set armholes - and on the flip side, he created a lumpy, bulbous, oversized silhouette which appeared as rigid and uncompromising as football armour. Across both these silhouettes we saw a mash-up of preppy colours and punk  hardware, sporting helmets worn with mask-like eye make-up and candy coloured knitwear held together with safety pins.

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Bejewelled Masks at Maison Martin Margiela Haute Couture

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Maison Martin Margiela, Couture, AW12, Paris.

For their debut haute couture collection, the Margiela team put together an unusual mix of fabrics and textures to create an alternative version of glamour. In the Autumn-Winter 2012 collection there were references to interiors with giant glass door knobs or curtain rod fixtures used as fasteners on raw edged tailoring, or at the apex of draped silks and laces.

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Raf Simons for Haute Couture

Jil Sander, RTW, AW12 (Left) and Christian Dior, Haute Couture, AW12 (Right).

It makes for a rare fashion season when a designer produces a haute couture influenced collection for a ready-to-wear label, and then the same designer creates an actual haute couture collection at another fashion house altogether. This is precisely what has happened in the Autumn-Winter 2012 season, when Raf Simons presented his last collection as Creative Director at Jil Sander, and also presented his first haute couture collection as Creative Director at the house of Christian Dior.

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Experiments in the 2nd Dimension at Comme des Garcons

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Comme des Garçons, AW12, Paris.

For her Autumn-Winter 2012 collection for Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo presented a very flat collection that called into question the very nature of the way we view fashion. As a comment on the way that we generally view collections as endless catwalk thumbnail images the garments were made out of very thick felt, giving the appearance of paperdolls playing dress-up, and making the garments perfectly suited to only being viewed front on.

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Futuristic Workwear at Balenciaga

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Balenciaga, AW12, Paris.

Nicolas Ghesquiere has a knack for making his job at Balenciaga look easier than it actually is. After all, it is one thing to moodboard up an innovative concept and sketch up exciting silhouettes every season, and something else all together to make sure that all the tiny details, combinations of fabric and ideas look resolved and polished by the time the garments hit the runway.

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Ornate Detailing at Balmain

Balmain, AW12, Paris.

To create an opulent collection in his second season at the head of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing drew on an array of techniques to create multi layered fabrics with an intense level of detailing. Leather was used as embossed and laser cut panels layered over velvet, or quilted with lines of stitching. Velvet was used as an under cloth, or heavily embossed for fitted trousers. Velvet was also used with a burnt out devoré effect, revealing sheer lines of fabric in the base cloth beneath the velvet pile.

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Controlled Textures at Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang, AW12, New York.

On first impression Alexanders Wang’s recent Autumn- Winter 2012 collection was all about textures - matt vs. shiny, coated vs. uncoated, bubbled vs. smooth. The subtext however was far more interesting and by reading further into the use of all these textures there was a sense that the collection was actually much more about control.

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Pocket Detailing at Prada Menswear

Prada, Menswear, AW12, Milan.

It was against the background of the homogenous men’s suit, that Miuccia Prada worked touches of individualism into her recent show for Autumn-Winter 2012. The looks were comprised of carefully layered garments that were given personality by small arrangements of pocket detailing.

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Wedding Cliches at Comme des Garcons

Comme des Garçons, SS12, Paris.

Rei Kawakubo and the team at Comme des Garçons were able to tread a careful line in the exploration of female wedding gowns for the Spring-Summer 2012 collection. They gave us all the right clues to know that this collection was all about bridal wear with silk satin in whites, off whites and creams layered with fine lacework, beading and even some faux floral embellishments in soft greys and lemons.

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