Paris Fashion Week: the Grand Finale

Paris Fashion Week: some may call it the crème de la crème, the cream of the crop, the best of the best of what is Fashion Month…But i’d rather call it the grand finale.

Now I agree to the extent of seeing it as something otherworldly, but I wouldn’t necessarily say the designers who show during Paris Fashion Week are more talented than the rest – I mean would Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs (both hailing from New York) have been chosen to design for Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton if they weren’t as talented as the Parisian founders themselves or their present-day colleagues/rivals? I don’t think so. — Not to mention German Kaiser Karl at Chanel and the spectacular visions of Belgian Raf Simons at chéz Dior.

I do tend to favour Paris over the others, though. New York may be my favourite in terms of having the edgiest, most wearable clothes out there; London may be in its prime for prints and futuristic looks for those who have luxury of never feeling out of place wearing just about anything whilst strutting upon the London streets; and Milan I feel is exciting and outrageous with a sense of beautiful traditionality and decadence within the collections, whilst always pushing the limits and surprising its audiences.

Paris is a combination of the best aspects of all three aformentioned cities but it has something more. It has this lure of luxury to it, with clothes definitely unattainable on my current income, or lack thereof (at least for the moment!), but which I find myself lusting after and can only dream of wearing one day. It just so happens that I spend the most time memorising the looks of every Paris show over the others to see how and where I can slightly alter my wardrobe every season to encompass just some of that Parisian je ne sais quoi so present in the collections.

So again, I think it’s more of a personal thing for me as to why i’ve chosen to favour Paris over New York, Milan and London – the imaginative aspect of it (and much of my childhood spent daydreaming of Chanel handbags and having my sketches inspired by Giambattista Valli gowns!) captures my heart and soul that I just can’t seem to look away.

Therefore, here are some of my favourite shows — let’s call it an ‘ode‘ to the grande finale that is Paris Fashion Week.

From top to bottom: Valentino, Dior, Giambattista Valli, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Céline, Chloé, Balmain

Photos: vogue.com; style.com

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Alexander Wang for Balenciaga a/w 2013

As Alexander Wang was about to make his debut at Balenciaga, the thought on everyone’s mind must have been: “how is it possible to even TRY and follow the outstanding designs which have graced this french house under the hands of the ever-talented Nicolas Ghesquière?”

As the audience departed Balenciaga’s intimate salons on the Avenue George V however, all doubts and worries were laid to rest. Wang confirmed that the show venue suggested going “back to the roots, identifying the codes of the house and translating them into a functioning, full wardrobe”. This not-so-simple task proved a success in my opinion as the collection felt true to the lines of Cristóbal  himself (Cristóbal having been called the master of us all, according to Dior).

The collection was filled with the traditional cocoon coats, jackets with rounded volumes, petal skirts, curved hems, molded and structured peplums and bracelet sleeves (to name a few!) — sculptural qualities for which Cristóbal was celebrated for in the late 50s and 60s. Fitting for a collection going back to the codes of the house… and made innovative with dynamic new materials. 

The emerging trend on Alexander’s runway both literally (the runway itself looked like it had just experienced an earhquake) and embellished on the clothes themselves was faux marble – first showing up as a fractured print on the lining of elegant tops with opened backs, then as a motif on embroidered dresses and then finally on looks which clearly had Wang-style written all over them: tuny shaved fox jackets with high-waisted velvet lace pants.. the play on the two textures = absolutely genius.

The accessories are sure to be a commercial success (along with the collection itself, which was very wearable!).. i especially have my eye on those figure-eight metal-buckled riding boots — which were also seen as closures and decoration on the garments themselves.

Tim Blanks has cleverly interpreted the cracked, paint-spackled mohair knits as a metaphor about the promise of a young designer: ”ready to break with the past when the time’s right”. The promise of Alexander and his intriguing new directions for the future are clear from this beautiful collection and when he does break with the past, I predict it’ll have everyone floored in awe.

Sketched: Prada for Gatsby

Here are sketches of Prada’s designs for the upcoming film The Great Gatsby — a collaboration with Baz Luhrmann.

It was designed by the ultimate female of fashion herself, named as such especially with last year’s exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute in New York, which honoured Miuccia Prada’s work alongside fellow Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli (coincidentally with Luhrmann as creative consultant!).

Prada has created amazingly retro looks of shimmering dresses with fringing, tulle-overlaid, crystal-embroidery, and beaded hems (colours including emerald, jade, gold and topaz.. as seen above) – perfect for the period setting of the film.

This sort of old-hollywood glamour is exactly what i’m looking forward to seeing when the film is released next summer – naturally with a bit of Leo Di Caprio on the side – Prada and Luhrmann actually created the suit Di Caprico wore in the 1996 film version of Romeo & Juliet.. seems fitting in a way, no?