We havenâ€™t seen much of it on the catwalks this season, but Kenzo's creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon have finally brought colour back to Paris.
The collection for SS13 was wild, open-to-the-elements and yet incredibly wearable.
Inspired by the jungle, the palate was primarily kept natural with only flashes of turquoise jewellery, waders-green boots and floral safari prints, which kept the collection fresh and youthful. Eventually, however, head-to-toe block shades of watermelon, papaya and aqua came storming down the runway like animals roaming wild on the savannah.
Mint green jackets were slashed with a dark tropical prints, off-the-shoulder dresses were belted in a military, utilitarian way and clutches were so useful that they even featured an easy-to-carry strap which â€“ unlike a wristlet â€“ encased the front of the hand and palm.
Dizzying jungle prints were showcased in the form of quirky playsuits, oversized shirts, coordinating skirts and fluttering jumpsuits.
In keeping with the jungle theme, super-sized leopard print was splashed onto oak leather jackets, bright bikinis, belted jumpsuits, silk pea coats and bustier tops in order to cover everything the â€˜summerâ€™ weather can throw at us.
Tigers were covered with graphic lines and circles on orange and khaki jumpers, only initially visible by their red and blue oral features.
This was a collection that stood out amongst the trend of Parisian monochrome â€“ Kenzo is fun, youthful and wild.
Rei Kawakubo is the Queen of deconstruction.
As a major player in Paris Fashion Week since the 80s, the Comme des GarÃ§ons founder is used to sending her creations to an eager audience with unashamed reviews. This season, the designer seemed to select ideas from her â€˜best bitsâ€™ archive and assemble them to form the latest mythological offerings for SS13.
With long, white unicorn-esque hair falling to the knees and heads topped with a variety of ordinary items, this strong collection of cut-and-pasted Comme history celebrated Kawakuboâ€™s artistic flair in an oxymoronic combination of austere Vs. caricature.
The overall message of the showcase was that more is definitely more: feeding into our idea of fast fashion being something that gathers speed so quickly that it becomes easy for us all to get lost within the hullabaloo.
Cream, ivory and white calf-length looks were sent down the runway, pinned with folds of yet more material over the shoulders, around the neck and across the midriff to create a heavy, burdening visual which the models - looking not unlike Lewis Carrollâ€™s White Queen character from Alice in Wonderland â€“ paraded slowly around the intimate show setting.
Flashes of blue, red and purple broke Kawakuboâ€™s signature black, grey and white colour scheme and added drama in the form of violent ruffles, separated-aprons and dissected skirts.
Most of the looks werenâ€™t exactly wearable to a mass market, yet this anti-fashion aesthetic is what always makes a Comme des GarÃ§ons show such a hot ticket: itâ€™s unattainable, unapologetic and unforgettable.
Dries Van Noten is the master of the unanticipated, and this season we got exactly that.
Taking the idea of a traditionally manly lumberjack shirt, the designer paired the checks with floating organza trousers, ruffled tops and floral sheer overlays.
Hips were exaggerated, blazers were slouchy and lips were a bright pop of magenta; a blur of masculine meets feminine that we love to see season after season.
Japanese robes and kimono jackets stood in contrast to the drooping cashmere jumpers and low-slung chiffon trousers (which gave but a glimpse of layered shorts underneath).
The shapes fit together fluidly whilst the prints contrasted theatrically, with some looks featuring varying sizes of plaid, pretty florals and draping block colours; amalgamated with chiffon, silk, organza and hand-sewn sequins to create an over-the-top look that had â€˜funâ€™ written all over it.
There may have been a rueful lack of song and dance this season after the celebratory tenth anniversary collection back in February, but Alber Elbaz certainly came back with a bang for SS13.
As with his previous showcase, this season was all about enhancing the shape of the body whilst applauding womanliness with a mannish appeal.
However, for a new decade at the helm of one of Parisâ€™ most acclaimed brands, Elbaz decided that a new look was also on the cards, sending his models down the runway in a masculine mix of black jackets, tailored trousers and statement jewellery that served as the only needed embellishment on the monochromic creations.
Jewell encrusted jumpsuits and navel-baring necklines projected a strong image of sex, enhanced by printed dresses of naked torsos and â€“ in some cases â€“ a lack of material behind silk tuxedos.
Not forgetting swimwear, Elbaz presented his asymmetric one-pieces paired with simple black trousers, and high-necked styles worn solo; decorated with chunky metal necklaces.
Alongside the figure-hugging ensembles, boxy dresses were introduced with high square shoulders to reflect the new shape that Elbaz was inspired by this season. Shifts, skirts and jackets were constructed with this new silhouette, bringing an extremely wearable and buyable aesthetic to a cleaner, darker, and altogether â€˜newerâ€™ collection.
Ann Demeulemeesterâ€™s SS13 collection gave us all an excuse to go gothic for summer.
Inspired by butterflies, Demeulemeester took the least straightforward approach and instead of transcending a colourful, floaty expression of the delicate creatures, she went in the opposite direction.
Set to a palate of black, white and midnight blue, this collection focused on the ghostly movement of butterflies with their solid bodies and almost translucent wings.
Reworking the sleeve was a major part of the season, making them long, loose and darkly romantic.
Layering was also key as metallic coats were worn upon monotone jackets, thus creating a cocoon-like effect with those dramatic black sleeves peeping out from above the wrists.
Following AW12â€™s gothic demeanor, the show was softer and more supernatural; with gently blushed faces and long straight hair that was parted in a deep-V at the back of the head.
High-necked pale fluttering maxi dresses created a naÃ¯ve, innocent aesthetic which was swiftly followed by harsher looks featuring black leather chokers and harnesses, bare navels and deep necklines to bring back a not-forgotten sex appeal that oozed old-school Demeulemeester with a hint of androgynous Japanese influence.
Ever the minimalist, Gareth Pughâ€™s offerings for SS13 were predictably structured yet surprisingly romantic as the designer celebrated his forth year on the Paris circuit.
Sticking to his usual palate of black, white and grey, the collection was vamped up with unexpected punches of scarlet; matching the smudges of eyeshadow around the modelâ€™s eyes, which cast an almost demonic spell upon the show.
Leather was stretched tight around the upper-body, splaying out into cape-style trains that dragged along the floor in wake of Pughâ€™s least structured display to date.
The long trailing sleeves and lingering hems were inspired by groomed feathers; which may help to explain why some lengths of silk feature frayed and unfinished edgings.
Other inspirations seemed to stem from opposite corners of the world, such as a Spanish influence through the use of striking mantilla headdresses and an Asian aesthetic from the razor-sharp hair chopsticks.
A regal English theme was also suggested with the Edwardian-style button back blouses, which proved a wearable option for such a serious, avant-garde collection.
Pugh experimented successfully with opposites, unveiling looks that featured both structured bodices and corsets with billowing fringing, offset perfectly with chunky leather peep-toe boots and a wink of blood-red varnish.
â€˜Excessiveâ€™ must have been the word of the day when Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff went over ideas for their SS13 collection.
The show space at Bedford Square was decorated with ornate screens, 18th Century wallpaper, decorative chairs, flowers and stacks of cupcakes whilst birds twittered delicately in the background before a quote from A Streetcar Named Desire was announced through the speakers. This signaled the start of the show â€“ and what a show it was.
The Late Baroque themed spectacular was a theatrical performance of Austen-style rich girls sauntering through parlors, aimlessly picking flowers and tasting cupcakes at ease.
Bows, lace and ribbons were used in infinite amounts, alongside quilted silk, woven jacquard and embroidered stockings.
There never seems to be a limit with Meadham Kirchhoff, and this season they really gave it their all.
Taken away from the rococo setting, the sculptured bustiers and high-shoulder brocade bodies also had a hint of French renaissance, with hand-embellished hats and haughty costume jewellery.
The pinned curly hair and natural makeup also gave the collection a sense of history, yet the crystal encrusted Nail Rock nails and scattered facial diamantes brought the overall look back to the modern day (as did the occasional appearance of an angry looking Minnie Mouse).
The audience seemed touched with the notion of false nostalgia, as if the show was a window into which we could gaze upon a time when life could be so sumptuously beautiful.
Simone Rochaâ€™s highly anticipated second collection referenced her teenage years as she took us back to the days of wearing our school uniforms.
Oversized shirts, streamline suits and Simoneâ€™s trademark perspex-souled shoes were met with much admiration from the crowds of industry know-alls who flocked to see the show.
Although the shapes themselves were classic, high-waisted shirts were modernized with lace overlays and sculptural cut-outs whilst dresses sported a broderie anglais technique that was ladylike with a hint of rebel.
The hair was also given this rebellious streak as stylist James Pecis explained.
Hair was thoroughly backcombed and tied in a ponytail whilst being drenched with Does It All spray by Bumble and Bumble.
The top section of the hair was then sprayed smooth with Does It All so that it lay flat to the head. This acted as a firm anchor in which to add the hairpiece; specially made, chopped and coloured for each model to create a short boyish fringe.
Once the fringe was in place, James then backcombed sections at the crown to give it a messy, schoolgirl look before finishing off with more spray.
The makeup was also inspired by the idea of an archetypal schoolgirl, so eyeliner was a must. Instead of going for a predictable black-lined eye, however, MAC used a mixture of silver and gold above the lids in one thick line.
The base was left dewy and fresh, and pink lips finished off the look with a dusting of foundation to draw all attention to the eyes.
Itâ€™s not often that you can describe a multicoloured zigzag printed dress adorned with mirrors, teamed with a white shirt and lime leggings â€˜ladylikeâ€™, but for a Louise Gray collection, it actually seemed an apt term compared to her pervious work.
NOW WHAT showcased the fun side of fashion, with doodle-prints, cheeseburger motifs, slashed dresses and Steven Jonesâ€™ mirrored hats.
Despite the amalgamation of fabrics and textures (silk, sequins, leather, chiffon, mohair â€“ the list could go on), the shapes in this collection were decisively strong.
Androgynous tailoring was splattered with newsprint, shift dresses were symmetrically ripped and jumpers were entwined with lace.
A slight 60s theme seemed to echo around the Topshop Showspace in Bedford Square, with coiffed bouffants and nipped-in waists, creating a â€“ thereâ€™s that term again â€“ â€˜ladylikeâ€™ aesthetic with a more sophisticated edge.
The pieces themselves were â€“ although mental â€“ actually very wearable. Each piece in itself offered something special. The mohair cardigans and knitted bomber jackets could easily be paired with dresses or jeans, and the patterned shoes (Louise Gray for Robert Clergerie) would make a great statement addition to any outfit.
The makeup was also off-the-wall; with orange lips, beauty spots and cartoon crown-shaped eyebrows drawn high on the forehead, courtesy of MAC.
Gray teamed up with Barbie this season, re-working her All-American style into something a bit more streetâ€¦ and with only a minimum amount of pink.
Black and white â€˜Barbieâ€™ adorned dresses were covered with large round badges and paired with matching monochrome tights, shoes and jewellery.
Video Barbie (the high-tech cousin who has made more than one appearance at LFW) also accompanied Pixie Geldoff, Henry Holland, Diane Pernet and co on the front row as she snuck inside their goody bags to act as a spare camera, perfect for a bit of FROW filming.
Images credited to Style.com
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