Ok, so Paris fashion week ended today and what a week it has been! The gothic romanticism of Milan has clearly crossed over to the French capital and it has become clear that head to toe black is going to be all that come fall. Let’s have a gander at the first instalment of the collections that made my heart pitter-patter.
Ricardo Tisci has been on a hot streak at Givenchy, well, kind of ever since he started at the label seven years ago. But he just keeps evolving and getting better and better with time, the sign of a true master. Every collection he proposes receives a cult-like following (who could forget last fall's panther!) and surely this time won’t be any different. He always incorporates gothic elements to his clothing, but for fall 2012 it was more so in the color palette than in the actual garments – it was all darkness, but with such a sharp tailored sensibility that all his badass elements (baggy leather trousers) felt incredibly sophisticated.
It was the great Stefano Pilati’s last collection for Yves Saint Laurent. In fact, it has just been confirmed by the house that Hedi Slimane – the man who, years ago, brought a whole new level of cool to Dior Homme before leaving to pursue his photography aspirations – was taking over as creative director. You see, it’s kind of bitter sweet because Pilati is seriously amazing and has had some stunning fashion moments during his time at YSL, but Slimane is almost like a magician. It’s really exciting to think about what he’ll do for next season and how his dark androgynous aesthetic is going to align itself with the label.
Anyway, so the Stefano Pilati for YSL requiem was a perfect exit. It was dark, minimal – almost solemn, but more joyful – with just the right touch of the house DNA. It was incredibly elegant and in spite of all that black and the sad news, it didn’t feel heavy, but very powerful (chain mail made an appearance) and sensual (is there anything sexier than bare shoulders and collarbone?). There were bits of calla flowers scattered on the clothes and accessories throughout the collection, which undeniably awakened the senses. Basically, it was beauty incarnate.
Dries Van Noten is a genius. He hasn’t given in to all the between-season collections (as in, he doesn’t do pre-fall nor resort), he’s maintained his independence within an industry where luxury group conglomerates reign supreme and yet, he is in the height of his glory. Sure, he’s always been celebrated – every since the Antwerp Six took fashion by storm in the 80s – but he NEVER CEASES TO AMAZE. Not an easy thing to do, especially without the financing of one the aforementioned major fashion groups (such as PPR or LVMH).
Moving on, Dries always seemingly draws inspiration from all corners of the world – there are ethnic elements to all of his work, as though he dresses well-traveled women who seek sartorial exoticism. We’re talking about a designer who engages in extensive research prior to each season (surely he has the time to really dive into it, as he only does two women’s wear collections a year), so inevitably, the references are rich, numerous and detailed. No matter how complex the back story, the result never appears complicated – easy elegance is this Belgian’s forte. This time around, it was clear that we were faced with an eastern conquest tour de force. When the Orient beckons, why not answer the call?
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have been doing sensational things at Valentino since they took over. Not only did they succeed in rejuvenating the house by injecting youthfulness in the label’s heritage, but they also, simply put, made Valentino cool. For fall 2012, there was a lot of leather, but it was still sweet and feminine, done in their signature silhouettes. There was a lot of black, but there was also a kind of folkloric element, with dresses in pretty embroidered patterns, scalloped edges and maxi dresses. I can already see all the young starlets and it girls calling their stylist to request these pretty little numbers.
The Paris fashion week love affair is to be continued...
Want to read more about the fall 2012 collections?
All images via Style.com