by Kelsey Eichman
“Last season was all black and white, and life unfortunately isn’t that way, it’s all the shades of gray,” Marc Jacobs has said, referring to his Fall 2013 show. He played with this notion of “black and white” by first showing the collection in sepia lighting so as to obscure the colors and details of the pieces. After one round, the sepia lights were gone and collection instantly found new depth in vivid tones and textures. The looks were pared down but not at all boring. Everything was cinematic and mysterious, with subtle shimmers and carefully flung furs a nod to French and American cinema.
Dolce & Gabbana
Inspired by the Byzantine-era mosaics from Sicily’s Monreale Cathedral, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana showed elaborately embroidered dresses and bejeweled skirts that took the audience to a Sicilian fantasy world. Even the accessories were over the top (and amazing): crown headpieces, huge cross earrings and baroque platforms dominated the runway. Despite a few instances of menswear styles, their collection wasn’t exactly “on trend” with what the rest of the fashion world presented, but it was gorgeous nonetheless. How fitting that this collection received praise on praise!
This was probably the most anticipated show of Fall 2013 as Alexander Wang debuted his first collection for Balenciaga. And the verdict? He delivered. Wang kept the traditional Balenciaga aesthetic of 1950s and 60s silhouettes, while modernizing them with his distinct style. The pieces were very minimalistic, but Wang’s attention to fine details and textures kept them interesting and fresh. The smartness and grace of the collection showed that Wang was an excellent choice for Balenciaga’s future.
Fall 2013 was yet another home run for Raf Simons, with his collection absolutely wowing and very much further defining his relationship with the traditional Dior woman. He paid homage to the Dior classics (full skirts, bustiers, Bar jacket) but in a unique and personal way, constructing them in leather and denim. His surrealist motif throughout the collection was expertly grounded in his use of Andy Warhol prints (especially on his gorgeous “memory dresses”), thanks to a collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Ultimately, Simons managed to make Warhol even more iconic.
This collection was loud and gritty, referencing gypsies while mixing in leather, blood red hues and a bit of grunge. Riccardo Tisci played with ultra-feminine silhouettes, like the trumpet skirt, while still keeping them in-line with the collection’s aesthetic by using tough fabrics. Although not exactly screaming “wearable,” the collection was stunning and ornate. Tisci truly showed an understanding of the Givenchy girl.
Marc Jacobs somehow managed to combine all major trends of the season (menswear fabrics, cocoon coats, cinematic references) in a beautiful collection presented in an equally beautiful way. 50 doors of the “Hotel Louis Vuitton” would open to show a mere glimpse of the girl’s personal life while the models strutted down the runway in their gorgeous boudoir-appropriate dressing gowns, slips, and sandals. To finish the show, the amazing Kate Moss took the floor in a gray velvet dress just before slamming the door to her “suite.” Pajamas have never been so chic.
Oscar de la Renta
The most controversial element of the show was not the fashion but rather who was backstage. Several weeks ago, de la Renta invited John Galliano to work as a designer-in-residence at the de la Renta studio. The former creative director at Dior, known for his flamboyant style and the infamous anti-Semitic incident that led to his departure from the house, was certainly present in de la Renta’s collection. Some of the looks traded in de la Renta’s expert femininity for a “darker” look more reminiscent of Galliano and Dior silhouettes. Regardless of who designed them, none of the looks especially “wowed” like many of de la Renta’s have in the past.
Although the collection offered luxe fabrics, colors and skilled tailoring, it lacked a necessary polish and charm. Many critiqued they had already seen these peplum jackets and military inspired looks before, and that the messy shapes didn’t flatter the models. Although some looks offered a more pared back feel, overall there was too much going on in the collection.
Frida Giannini showed an unusually dark collection for fall. She used beautiful skins and textures to give the looks more depth; however, the couture-inspired silhouettes didn’t always work well with the amazing fabrics. Several of the looks came off as stiff and unflattering. Some of the gowns, although ornate and intricate, lacked the elegance and beauty Giannini mastered in the past. However, there were still quite a few looks that wowed and showcased the brand’s modern identity.
Hedi Slimane’s second collection at Saint Laurent proved to be…interesting. Inspired by California grunge, Slimane showed sparkly tights, oversized flannel and tough moto boots that were unfortunately more “lost teenager” than high fashion. Slimane neither grasped “grunge” nor showed anything reminiscent of the days of YSL. Many joked that the “real show” would occur later in the week. This collection had people longing for the days when Saint Laurent had a certain “Yves” heading the name and the brand.