Paris Fashion Week SS12: The Highlights

As the last of the Fashion Weeks, expectations always run high at Paris Fashion Week.
maison martin margiela ss12
A particular point of focus was on the debut womenswear collection from American rapper Kanye West and John Galliano’s S/S12 show (minus the namesake designer.) An array of stylistic contrasts were offered up to the Parisian elite; some designers such as Pedro Lourence opting for the epitome of twenties opulence with dropped waist dresses and flowing fringed skirts. Others like Veronique Leroy preferred a more minimalistic elegance, creating a collection of crisp white shirts and fishing-net crochet techniques.

Swedish designer Maison Martin Margiela created a conceptual collection that oozed nonchalantcoolness. Seemingly deconstructed pieces, exposed zips and seams came down the runway. Models were draped in illustrious silks and chiffons, creating dresses, skirts, and trousers all with vertical silhouettes. Leather was also prominent in his skirts and tunic tops, adding the raw edge that is known and loved in his signature designs.

Doing what she does best Stella McCartney created a classically comfortable and wearable collection, with just a hint of the sex appeal that has given new life to her designs. White opened the collection (a prominent color for the season), which then transitioned into intricate microprints taken from the designs of mens ties, that were printed onto mini dresses, with asymmetrical mesh under garments. Paisley lace was interjected into all in ones, whilst trouser suits were turned into a far more soft interpretation with decorations adorning the lapels.

givenchy ss12Architectural detailing was key to Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci’s collection, appearing on structured lapels and gravity defying ruffles. Tailoring this season was sharp and precise, with suits coming down the runway in cream, black, blush, and even silver sequins. But the meticulously designed tailoring within the collection was softened by sleeveless tuxedo dresses and chiffon tunic dresses that fell close to the body in tiered layers, resulting in a collection where a romance of colors and fabrics intertwined in a beautiful inexplicable way.

Undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated shows of Paris Fashion Week; Phoebe Philo at Celine SS12’s collection exuded a fragility and simplicity that was not only inspiring but wholly encapsulating. Clean lines were key, with inspiration taken from couture sixties silhouettes that were given a modern twist. Oversized pieces were also key - whether they were jackets or trousers; there was still the presence of contours and structure through cinched in waistlines. Although darker than anticipated for spring, Philo’s choice of color palette was punctuated with exuberant whites and unlike most of the SS12 collections; there were no prints, which allowed the structural details of each piece to remain the focus.

lanvin ss12

“Modernity is beauty” this quote by Alber Elbaz’s echoed his SS12 collection for Lanvin. New territory wascrossed for the designer; known for dazzling dresses, this season Elbaz changed tact and took on the suit. Masculine structures were given a feminine touch; side slits were inserted onto the seams of black trousers, high waisted pencil skirts in dark petrol green were accompanied by silk rose colored tops with slits down the sides, whilst tuxedo jackets came with built up shoulders, giving a far more androgynous feel. In addition to this harder, masculine look came the essence of gothic drama with exaggerated pearl-encrusted crucifixes, eagle rings or belt buckles, and heavily embellished necklines formed of snaking serpent bodies that were also used down the sides of asymmetrical dresses.
There is no denying that Paris is the most sumptuously sort after platforms for designers to showcase their collection and who could blame them? Luxury and lavishness exude from the Queen of fashion capitals, where the fashion elite knows everyone who is someone and where everyone wants to be recognized as that someone.

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