In an era in which communication rests in the hands of social media, and words and sentences are cut short to a “how r u,” an “omfg,” or even a “#lifeisgood,” nothing makes a statement louder than fashion. “In other words” might be the best way to describe the Fall/Winter 2013-14 collection at Lanvin. Alber Elbaz may have avoided using Twitter altogether and instead has opted to evoke his message loud and clear through accessories. “Happy,” “hot,” “cool,” and also “help” were transcribed onto necklaces, brooches, and belts, and these fashion statements added a whimsical feel to the overall dark and mysterious mood of the show.
The collection opened with a black, multi-tiered and asymmetrical dress that was raw at the edges and accessorized with the words “happy” and “help” (these accessories reminded me of the “Carrie” necklace worn by a Ms. Bradshaw but on steroids.) The first look forecasted what would become a swarm of looks that flirted with the fun of fashion. Appliquéd flowers blossomed on A-Line dresses and trousers, and beetles and butterflies attacked a bustier or a blouse. The presence of the creepy crawlers added a youthful feel to the collection, and Mr. Elbaz heightened the youthful theme with flat oxfords and edgy tomboy silhouettes.
Keeping with the dark mood of the show, the collection did not really emphasize color with the exception of a dark-fuchsia, floral print dress. If there was color, it was dark and earthy, or muted down to feel almost neutral in the swarm of black and grey that dominated the runway. Grey is proving to be once again the color of the season showing up on many Fall/Winter collections, and Lanvin has offered it in every variation from herringbone to fur. However, black was the dominant hue and emphasized in an array of LBDs (Little Black Dresses) flowing down the runway. Alber produced them in various lengths from the pleated to slit, A-line to column and necklines with various degrees of plunge representing women of various ages and personalities.
Overall, Lanvin’s Fall/Winter 2013-14 collection was a quieter show that made its statement through accessories. The clothing, raw and organic like the flowers and insects that decorated them, will definitely make their mark way into fashion editorials and onto street style blogs. So, as the editors tweet their Instagram photos from the front row i.e., @LANVINofficial #bugs #parisfashionweek, I will stop here to RT those messages. “K bye!”
Nothing could be more symbolic on the day of Pope Benedict XVI’s last Sunday blessing from his papal window than Cardinal Red blood spilling onto the Dolce and Gabbana runway. The blood was a metaphor for the dresses in that iconic red hue as the models marched out for the show’s finale. Although this Fall/Winter 2013-14 collection was inspired by the Cathedral of Monreale, one could not help but simultaneously think of the Pope’s last few days as Saint Peter’s successor.
The collection was once again an ode to Italy, Sicilia to be precise, Stefano and Domenico’s source of inspiration. This Italian region has proven to be the duo’s gold mine for ideas, and in the past they have taken everything from the peasantry to the kitsch and translated them into fashion success. For their Fall/Winter outing, they looked to the Cathedral of Monreale and literally extracted the mosaics from the walls transferring them onto everything from bags to tunics. In fact, the opening set of looks were romanticized versions of the cathedral’s relics; from the ecclesiastical iconography and mosaics on dresses to the Byzantine Cross in the form of earrings and pendants. The result: a fusion of wealth and Christian imagery.
Dolce and Gabbana also offered several subdued options in comparison to the gilded frocks that made an impression on the runway. A section of looks devoted to the color grey was transcribed by tweed and wool offering blouses, coats, and separates to those with quieter tastes. Following the grey period were the reappearances of the Sicilian black widows and the virgins in white that showcased the duo’s skilled lace handiwork.
In spite of all the beautifully crafted clothing that emerged from this collection, nothing was more powerful than the attire made in Cardinal Red. I find it interesting that the last model came out in a white icon shift adorned in a Byzantine crown and jewels only to be followed by a Holy See, or rather Sea, of red dresses as the finale. Dolce and Gabbana were quite literal in their Fall/Winter 2013-14 collection; the models in that religious red marched out of the show as if they were going into conclave. We know how the story ends: only one of them will return wearing white.
“These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do” was the vibe at the Pucci Fall 2013 runway show. The boots in question, a skin-tight, thigh-high made of the softest suede were Peter Dundas’ reiteration of the modern go go; I am pretty positive that these will be pounding the pavement come autumn. Boots aside, the super-sexy-chic collection had nothing new to say, because Pucci did what it does best — a 1960’s sexual time warp.
As soon as the first model stepped out and walked in those boots oozing sex appeal, the attitude for the show was in full gear. The collection was a celebration of the 1960’s and opened with a model wearing the aforementioned thigh-highs and an outfit of mixed prints — Pucci print skirt, zebra print belt, and a psychedelic print blouse articulated by sequins. Welcome to The Sixties! Hair and makeup mimicked that of Brigitte Bardot, the epitome of a sex symbol: long, straight hair with signature bangs and a flawless face made all the models crazy/beautiful. I am sure that most men would want their girlfriends to resemble a Pucci girl. No man-repellers here.
The collection continued its ode to the decade with more hippie glamour that included psychedelic tunics and fringe on bags, coats, and dresses. Jackie O who was catapulted into the limelight in the early 60’s seemed to have also influenced one of the looks in Dundas’ collection — a blue, double-breasted trench that would have gone well with her pillbox hats and Chanel suits. Baby Pink, a color immortalized by the former Mrs. Kennedy, also popped up on several looks adding bold color to the collection. My personal favorite was a fur coat dyed in that Baby Pink shade. One last important trend of The Sixties that made its way onto the runway was mod, and Lindsey Wixson did her best Twiggy pout impression in a turtleneck, hot pants, and a beret.
Silhouettes such as hippie and mod and icons like Bardot and Jackie O have established the 60’s as one of the most fashion forward decades of the past century. It was a time of conflict and progression, and it is symbolized in the individual trends born from the decade. Peter Dundas captured the best of what The Sixties had to offer in a young and sexy Fall 2013 collection for Pucci. Everyone from Hollywood Starlets to Russian princesses will be adorned in these clothes. And although bell-bottoms were absent from this collection, I do not think anybody cared, because all of the garments were hemmed above the knees. This show was all about legs, legs, and legs and maybe the boots that were made “to walk all over you.”
There is no doubt that Prada’s Fall 2013 RTW collection was influenced by Hitchcockian elements. From the dark shadows cast onto the walls to the presence of platinum blondes — Aline Weber and Juliana Schurig were perfectly cast as femme fatales. But the show did not entertain terror, instead it brought to the surface a melancholic feeling on the brink of despair. As an ardent New York theatregoer, my mind is trained to participate and empathize with the protagonist, thus forcing everything else into a blur. In the case of Miuccia’s Fall 2013 collection, the clothing became secondary to the models/actresses in the show. Do not get me wrong, everything was quintessential Prada: modern, glorious, and a buyer’s dream, but what Ms. Prada manufactured at best was an emotional dialogue to the audience.
Though I saw the show during the livestream, I am sure it was much more impactful in the flesh. I could only imagine the tell-tale hearts of some of the observers beating loudly under that wood-paneled runway as the models walked out to a soundtrack that only amplified the suspense and drama. For me, the Prada girl is one of mistaken-identity. Miuccia Prada was quoted to having said: “Romanticism is forbidden.” Although I am a Pisces, I am afraid she is right. Most of the models reminded me of a girl who was probably having an affair with a married man, and she was left in the rain after one last rendezvous in the backseat of a town car. The styling from the unzipped and unbuttoned garments to the wet hair and the larger-sized bags suggested the concept of the other woman. I know it is quite literal, but I want and need to discover why “Romanticism is forbidden.” Other models seemed more tailored and together like a housewife, while others looked like the so-called other woman attempting to assimilate into the role of a housewife.
Even if the clothing is the supporting cast of this show, it is a super collection in that each garment and accessory will most likely be picked up by every buyer in attendance. The collection had perfectly tailored coat dresses and separates in crocodile leather and tweed with hints of metallic, and dresses with modern hems layered on top of sweater-like henleys. One luxe urban look in particular, a red leather skirt paired with a teal sweater and a chestnut fur coat, brought to mind Carrie Bradshaw. However, it seemed she just had a goodbye with Mr. Big. If Miuccia’s intention was terror, then she succeeded because Romanticism is definitely forbidden in this collection; a scary thought for a Pisces.