Round Up Paris Womenswear FW2012

We have seen some supreme tailoring in Paris, resulting in sensual rounded shapes, exaggerated and challenging proportions and exciting fabrics. The world is clearly connected and the runways as well. Power looks, sculptured contours and very literary historical references were all over the place. Where we first spotted a hint of powder pink romance this was too scarce to be labelled a strong influence. The general feeling of tough powerplay and getting ready to withstand challenging times is ruling. Executed in a careful play with the existing parameters of couture, yet tailored with the contemporary flavor for bold statements. Think big.

It was not just the silhouette that takes on new dimensions this season; there is also the stage. Vuitton and Chanel confirm the feel for drama, stage setting and grand gestures. Catwalks became movie-sets, the models actors and the garments costumes. To quote one of the grand old NY ladies in the wonderful upcoming documentary: ‘Advanced Style’. ‘I dress up everyday for the theatre of my life’. That reflects clearly the attitude of women who opt for the most eccentric looks that where shown in Paris past week. These represent the icing on a cake that tasted very well, but were confirming the fact that the flavors of cakes today are not regionally bound any more. Globalization is a fact in fashion.

Stylespot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam


Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent staged fierce and perseverance. Ferocious, brave and powerful women with a provocative attitude. Forceful shades as black and red gain power by leather sheen, high polish and slick coatings.



Balenciaga and Chanel teamed up showing challenging material with a science fiction character. Priestesses of techno cult in bonded materials, plastics, liquid films and technical coatings and foils.



Lanvin was the master of sculpture. An expression of exalted womanliness with a generous emphasis on the curve. Comme des Garçons took it to an extreme by showing models as paper cut dolls and labeling these as ‘the future in two dimensions’.  The exaggeration of shape, the bringing back contours to the explicit essence, seems key.



Louis Vuitton takes us back in the old days by showing series of costume outfits that stand out by their absolute supreme elaboration and embellishment. Making history relevant once more by showing truly innovative skills and craftsmanship in embellishment, scattering crystals generously.


ORIENT claims that Haider Ackermann has the most sophisticated color sense of anyone in Paris and we just want to confirm this. He seems to reflect on the orient; the passionate shades of the east in subtle monochrome harmonies are stunning and truly inspiring. This combined with the intricate and elaborate patterns Dries van Noten showed are great inspirations for garments that will please the crowd.








First View Paris Womenswear FW2012: Hard & Slick

One more spot on power and hard-edge construction. Just to express the importance of this influence. Not to be pampered and cuddled in crisis. Women stand up and seem ready to fight. That is at least what designers suggest. Ready to march the battlefields. Dominatrix and fetishist and at the same time precious, upscale, ultra feminine and glamorous. From wasp-waisted x-shapes to rounded cape like sculptural silhouettes. Satin sheen, polished high gloss as well as slick. In leather, lacquer, chain mail and bonded satins. Metal, fur and rubber details. Creating looks with an almost sacral seriousness. Strict and severe and addressing the archetypal human need for religion as Gareth Pugh stated.

Monumental shaping is perfectly executed by Yves Saint Laurent, heavenly tailored by Viktor & Rolf, futuristic textured by Laurent, and it is hard to figure out if the look of Givenchy is monastic or vampire. It is an expression of utmost luxury.

Stylespot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam


First View Paris Womenswear FW2012: Fierce

Ferocious, brave, powerful and slightly provocative. Clearly a ‘so what, don’t mess with me’, attitude. An expression of exalted womanliness in a stunning range of fierce brights is headed by Lanvin.

A generous emphasis on the curves, hourglass silhouettes and flared frocks that flow from the hips. Silhouettes are rounded, curvaceous and body enhancing. Nothing sweet about these dresses and suits though. Graphic cut outs, chunky mesh and lace layers and inserts, sculptural ruffles, flounces and peplums combined with bare or rounded exaggerated shoulder parts.

Lanvin excels in intense, delicious colors in a quest to reshape women. Yohji Yamamoto goes for contrast in streetwise silhouettes where he wraps models in red jerseys wearing flat combat boots. Balenciaga adds a surrealist touch to a traditional evening wear silhouette, sculpted it in futuristic fabrics. Mugler stays close to its roots staging super heroines shoulders and a body-loving cut.

Stylespot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam

First View Paris Womenswear FW2012: Pastel Beauty

As Suzy Menkes questions in the NY Times: ‘Is it inevitable in a time of economic depression that fashion takes a backward look at similar moments in past? So much has changed that it is a designer’s tough task to make references relevant.’

Historic Dior, the New Look, hit the runway. Faultless collections, as icons of couture craftsmanship in impeccable tailoring, express lightness in a tender palette of soft powder-pinks. The focus is on the waist and skirts are full or flared and over-the-knee, in chiffons, silks and layers of tulle. Less exquisite and full-blown as in the 40s, making place for a contemporary, stripped-down urban sense of luxury and soft modernity, yet still ultimately recognizable.

Roland Mouret shows smart sculpted peplum silhouettes with a lady like elegance, Nina Ricci’s designer Peter Copping did find the right twist to turn the historic into the contemporary. Barbara Bui entered a more free-flowing craft aspect in a skin shaded sensual silhouette, where Bill Gaytten stays closest to the Dior heritage without obviously taking a 21st century turn.

Stylespot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam

First View Paris Womenswear FW2012: Sci Fi Today

The fantastic futurist, Nicolas Ghesquière, revived and reinforced his ever-innovative message. This did not confirm yet the Parisian position as stage for the pioneering and the extreme. Designers seem to stick to their personal profiles rather then wanting to push fashion forward. Balenciaga’s surreal source of inspiration, corporate life, brought him on track of power dressing reminiscent of 70s and 80s. Futurist dressing where challenging proportions team up with not less challenging materials. Bonded fabrics that build exaggerated silhouettes.

Where Milan went for beauty Paris went for power, staging super-heroines, priestesses of techno cult and battle girls.

Balenciaga showed satin sweatshirts with spacey slogans and sci-fi prints as well as flimsy featherweight dresses combining constructing textures creating star war princess looks. At Mugler the historical oeuvre was studied carefully. Super-heroine shoulders in contouring body gloves as well as peplum silhouettes. Gareth Pugh showed rather mutant force then Girl Power in funnel necks jackets with spiked shoulders,

We feel the longing for revolution, the need for groundbreaking novelty. But still the nearest road towards that seems to lead via the past.

Stylespot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam


Round Up Milan Womenswear FW2012

Milan was all about beauty and redefining feminine presence. The importance of womanhood translated into powerful design. Reports noted clear, modern sensibility and elegance rooted in the classic past, but applied to today’s woman. From linear, architectural statements to rock and roll romance, from virtual princess looks, to pre-Raphaelite twists and martial arts references. Inspiration was well documented and there seems a clear wish to find the context behind these hybrid collections. Where New York mixed identities Milan reinforced them. We spotted impeccable tailoring, love for crafts and embellishment, sublime couture and a daring choice of materials inspired by the wish to tap into the duality of the 21st century woman.

Prada was much more then just ORIENTALIST, with a vibrant collection with strong contrast and  sharp & graphic silhouettes. In these outfits we see a glint of the well spread oriental inspiration shining though with opulent, high tech embellishment. Marni also joined this direction.


Many designers explored a dark color palette, but the DARK VISION of Dolce & Gabbana was at the same time an Italianate vision of palazzo life. They showed, as Bottega Veneta and Aquilano.Rimondi did, a more costume message.


Sportmax explored details in martial arts dress forms and applied these to a TECHNO FORWARD collection, combining natural and tech materials with retro futurist flavor. As did Fendi and Max Mara.


Raf Simons at Jil Sander was one of the designers for whom it was ALL ABOUT BEAUTY, both impeccably tailored and meltingly soft. Bottega Veneta presented a more powerful woman, but also beautiful in every detail.


Missoni, Roberto Cavalli and Fendi showed their NATURALIST character by applying their masterful crafts to nature’s textures, weaving an urban wardrobe out of wood, stone, fur, tree bark, and mica-sparkled minerals.

Milan’s collections where strong, spirited and powerful.

Stylespot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam



First View Milan Womenswear FW2012: Techno Forward


Show reports told us that Ennio Capasa of C’N’C Costume National had “imagined a woman in a virtual metropolis” who is “post-punk, post-chic but above all technological.”

It seems to cover the choice of many: Fabrics, like extra shiny, slick patent leather, seemed to take priority over flattering
fit, as robust outerwear came in boxy shapes with diagonal zippers. It was futuristic and powerful. Uniforms inspire, which shows in mechanical straight lines, Bauhaus minimalism and military and naval tailoring.

Fendi shows harness belts combined with silky sleek tops and flared plisse. C’N’C Costume National shows two girls zipped in square cut shapes combining the high gloss with the soft touch. Where Sportmax was obviously
inspired by the uniform of martial arts: Karate, judo and other elegantly dressed forms of fighting.

Stylespot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam

First View Milan Womenswear FW2012: Sharp & Graphic

Pleasure and having a good time was the lead team for some of the designers in Milan this week. It translated itself in a series of glorious graphics and optimistic vibrancy. All had their reasons to come up with the full dose of color, black and white contrast and sharp metallics. The mood ranged from Rock Chick rebellion to retro reminiscence and faint memories of Robocop and Blade runner. Clearly this was not just about having fun. It was serious couture craftsmanship and a minute interest in shape and detail. We saw geometric print, graphic straight-line cutting and embellishment. Next to positively shining metallics, iridescence, shining foils, plasticised embroideries and holographic surfaces.

At Prada the pants made the story, but it was the embroidery in all its glassy glamor that brought an extra dimension to this powerful show, Versace showed some robotic retro futurism, where Moschino threw a parade with cheerleader skirts and uniform jackets, Prada again played with daring color harmonies in optical patterns and Blumarine staged (as well as Fendi) funkiest and artistic furs painted in more than bright colors.

Stylespot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam

First View Milan Womenswear FW2012: Dark Vision

Beauty and confidence are what designers wish for their models to spread in Milan.  ‘Importance’ being a more significant message for women then mere ‘power’ as Miuccia Prada stated. And that is what we recognize. Dark glamor in various signatures ranging from soft ‘Goth’ to dark romance and reminiscent opulence. The future is taking refuge in the past and historical icons are wonderfully mutated in futuristic executions. The mood is stern yet the detailing rich and affluent. The spirit dark but generating pleasure rather then gloom. Love for materials is translated into embroidered and bejeweled aspects, laser cut lace effects and lots leather and lush velvets.

Prada shows virtual princes, avatars of fashions digital age – where Etro frames its iconic patterns in androgynous sculptural tailoring, Versace taps into a more sacral and medieval inspiration adding armors, chain-mail and crucifixes. Gucci mutates menswear into fluid classical drama with a smooth pre-Raphaelite twist.

Stylespot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam


Round Up New York Womenswear FW2012

This was an interesting week in New York. This season seemed one big exercise. Testing shapes, volumes and proportions. Trying textures, various embellishments, prints and crafts from different origins and inspirations. Probing periods, from 20s, 30s, 70s to 80s. And the fun factor is that it is hard to guess what comes from whom. It seems ideas are exchanged, copied, re-edited and re-interpreted. Identities mixed, profiles and signatures blurred. Scatter collection snapshots and guess its origins. It will be a wild guess this time!

We spot a feel for the extreme and ECCENTRIC, iconic and humorous as Marc Jacobs showed it, reflecting on grand fashion divas. Altazurra and Libertine are two among others staging artful embellishment and intricate crafts.


Ports 1961 hit on a SCULTPURAL trend, showing a peplum silhouette, one of the favorites this season. But there is more; masterfully executed by the grand master of simplicity Calvin Klein but also Philip Lim, Peter Som and Alexander Wang showed bold rounded silhouettes.


OVERSIZED is an understatement when talking about the Proenza Schouler collection. Also both Donna Karan and Y3 super sized items within their range. Y3 is one of the few collections faithful to sportswear as we were so used to in The Big Apple.


NY was DRESSED UP this season, Donna Karan hat topped ladies dressed reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich. Victoria Beckham shows shapely contouring shifts and Diane von Furstenberg sensual draping.


Friendly and relaxed were the global travellers; modern NOMADS in multi cultural referenced cuddly warps and layers. Rag & Bone, showed city nomads, Y3 global hybrids and Proenza Schouler went east.

This fashion mash-up makes us curious about what comes next!

Stylespot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam


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