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