First View Paris Womenswear SS2013: Drape to Go

An ode to femininity! Embracing womanhood by wrapping ladies gracefully in luxurious layers of precious draped cloth. Slouchy softness in weighty wrap blouses and full trousers. Knotted and folded décolletées, peplums and roomy ribbons. All draped and dressed up to go in layers of luxurious georgette, soft, dense satins and heavy drape silks. Smooth polished surface looks in a sober and strict palette of pearl, silver, black and white. Wrapped, draped and swagged outfits make powerful statements about femininity and sensuality. Each fold minutely controlled, to realise such perfectionism needs in-depth sculptural knowledge of the human body and supreme tailoring skills.

Céline shifts from geometric minimalism to a much softer silhouette. Maison Martin Margiela drapes carefully and restrained. More statuesque and dramatic folds at Victor & Rolf as inspired by old Hollywood. Vandervorst covers as well as reveals in a way that reminds us of the classical antiquity.

Paris shows us a series of supreme crafted styles subtly sculpted by the grand masters of shape.

Stylespot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam

First View Paris Womenswear ss2013: Futurist Foils

All about enchantment, entertainment, fun, freedom and sexiness. This soft side of techno in synthesised sheen. Optimistic vibes that reflect from iridescent surfaces. Sheer foils and parachute veils are layered over plain, cut, as well as printed opaques. Dress-up dresses, most in simple a-shapes, are slashed and cut in graphic shimmery blocks, as well as prettily patterned in luminous florals and arty and decorative abstracts.

Looks like playful exercises, mixing and matching layers and veils to trick and puzzle the eye.

Luminous surface looks add an alienating dimension to pure iconic shapes at Christian Dior. Rue du Mail plays with items, blocks and layers of mixed materials. Dior ’s ball gown skirts in featherweight organza are shot with pearlised reflections. Where Chalayan’s translucent, intergalactic sheen adds a virtual touch to sculpted geometric minimalism.

These futuristic and surreal surface effects revibe even the most classical couture silhouette.

Stijlspot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam

First View Paris Womenswear SS2013: the New Sexy

Our first spot on Paris hints at a classical and mature approach towards fashion. Powerful silhouettes in pure black and white. Well known modernist geometry peppered with a swift whiff of sex. Smooth sensual and pure looks that reveal subtle glimpses of skin. All executed with tailored precision.

Expanding on traditional classical beauty and clearly inspired by historical archives but sprayed with modern gloss. Hard edge geometrics and sharp shoulders are softened with curved décolletées, sculptured volants and roomy pleated pants.  Outfits suggest unashamed sex and sensual looseness but are staged with well-calculated sophistication and couture aspiration.

Balenciaga shows icons of sensuality and femininity in lingerie and swimsuit inspired tops matched with high waisted flat pleat pants. Balmain shows hard edge masculinity in broad shouldered power suits covering simple and sexy bandeaus. Carven is truly sculpting in curved sensual tailoring. Where Balenciaga was clearly intrigued by the Antique when shaping this revealing dress with meandering sculpted volants.

Who would ever have thought that the image of the ‘bare midriff’ could be raised up to classical standards?

Stylespot is a colleboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam



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 Paris Womenswear ss2012

Paris offered us a week of mixed emotions and mindsets. From thoughtful calmness and flirty elegance to sweet prettiness. The overall fashion feel was optimistic which makes a welcome escape from the ‘outside’ world.

Hardly ever before the overall look was that feminine and sensual, and surprisingly some of the most influential collections where inspired by some of the most iconic male drivers; cars (Akris), sex and sports (Stella McCartney). And that involves all global catwalks. Also nice to note that sea world inspiration was back on track with just one winter in between, it inspired Chanel to create organic sea shaped silhouettes and Givenchy to fuse mermaid and surfer looks.

Yet THE lead for summer 2012 is couture excellence and best staged by Celine: her COUTURE SPIRIT showed reduced fashion with sculptural quality.


Then we list the sensual impact of SLITS AND SLICES that made models floating over the catwalks. Long strategically placed cuts revealed legs, midriff and décolleté.


The fashion merry-go-round keeps spinning and brought us sugar SWEET fashion by Louis Vuitton. The word ‘pretty’ was banned from the fashion dictionary for seasons, but made a majestic comeback. Opulence, intricate embellishment and exquisite craftsmanship modernise romance by alternating laser cut silk cellophanes and crafted Broderie Anglaise.


Ann Demeulemeester showed just one of many fairy tale like collections with sheer POETIC VISION; featherweight translucent layers in fluid, floating silhouettes. Wrapped in silky veils, gathered and draped or enveloped in long, lush, layers of silk.


Then there was that single spark of freshness by Stella McCartney. Happy and FRESH, sporty and sexy, framing bright colours and white in bold ornaments and edging them with curvy cutouts.


Accessories where strikingly innovative in most collections; coordinated, iconic and all precious treasures that in some cases reflect the sign of the fashion times even better then garments do.


Stylespot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam


First View Paris ss2012: Slits & Slices

A powerful design-feature this Paris season is the slit. Nothing makes a look that obviously 80’s inspired. Immediately it’s taken out of the reigning 50’s couture prettiness to create a more daring and slick appeal.

Cutout, slashed and sliced and sometimes pinned, wrapped and knotted back together again. Cut-outs unveil long lean legs as well as deep décolleté and hints of midriff. Jean Paul Gaultier plays with wide gathered volumes and wraps, folds, turns and twists these. Where Lanvin unveils in a more cool and understated manner, carefully exposing hints of skin in a subtle and sophisticated manner, Maison Martin Margiela shows more brutal constructions and deconstructions where Mugler goes futuristic and uses cuts and slashes for streamlined, organic and a more architectonic shaping and sculpting.

Sure that it adds movement and flare to silhouettes.

Stylespot is a collaborations with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam

First View Paris ss2012: Couture Spirit

The clear read line through Paris catwalk shows is a couture spirit reminiscent of the fifties and sixties. One designer more then the other found ways to translate this precious era in a contemporary and new look. Finding a shared challenge in the search for new proportions yet clearly inspired by the rounded full shaping of that era. Materials where traditional and precious, yet some realised that typical sculptural aspect in novel manmade yet ever so luxurious fabrics. A, I and egg shaped, reduced and iconic, minimal use of details and executed in mostly black and white.

Going back to the archives was what most designers did. Céline created a masterful understated and reduced version and managed to shape couture within a desirable ‘Philo’ mould. Dries van Noten offered grand couture looks in pouf dresses and skirts, finding a way to update by combining these with print and sturdy biker jackets. Rick Owens shifts in all its striking understatement between pillar and egg. Where Balenciaga made the most modern translation by truly redefining couture’s contours. He turned urban wear into couture, so took another road to come to richness by giving city wear the haute treatment. Rochas, how else could it be, took it factual and dived fully into archives using silk duchesse and organza to show the full flavour and grandeur of the couture legacy.

Stylespot is a collaboration with Stijlinstituut Amsterdam


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