Lightness was a recurring theme at Paris Fashion Week. The spring summer 2013 collections shown on the Paris catwalks had a modern constructivist element and the collections felt airy, light and new.With all eyes on Raf Simons at Dior and Hedi Slimane at Yves Saint Laurent, it is easy to forget that Paris is perhaps the focal point of the fashion universe. Key shows came not just from the aforementioned houses, but also from Balenciaga, Dries van Noten, McQueen and Junya Watanabe, who all took their individual aesthetics but brought something new and directional.
Clean lines, sporty looks and transparency made their way from the New York catwalk, to London, and Milan with Paris as its last stop. A key trend that emerged is the layering top, a popover garment that can be worn over a dress or over another top, almost like a bolero but without a closure. Chloe, Celine and Balenciaga all offered it, the latter in navy rayon crape or a stiff, cropped alternative.
At McQueen Sarah Burton showed immaculate lines, with a Victoriana silhouette defined by a sharply cinched waist, as has become a signature for the house. With a video of bees swarming in the backdrop, there was a reference to a honeycomb palette, but also the potency of the bee's sting.
Balenciaga triumphed showing its Spanish roots and referencing flamenco elements which felt fresh rather than novelty, Nicolas Ghesquire offered skirts and tops with ruffled hems and sleeves. The cropped top appeared as a sports bra worn over trousers, or came deconstructed and bib-like, worn with a fluid skirt or again with trousers.
The tuxedo jacket made a return for next spring, with Lanvin, Dior and Balenciaga showing some of the strongest looks.
Dries van Noten opted for luxe grunge, showing masculine checks in feminine fabrics, like printed chiffon or sheer blouses. Louis Vuitton also opted for checks, though more in 60s style. The show was one of the highlights of the week and saw a collaboration with artist Daniel Buren. Louis Vuitton's Creative Director Marc Jacobs sent models down escalators instead of a runway, which was a grid-inspiration of graphic patterns and checks. Black and buttercup yellow checks were featured in evening maxi dresses, separates for day and a series of 60s-inspired shifts. Elsewhere a tiny floral motif was seen and the house's infamous Damier print accessories was updated with a monochromatic checkerboard.
Paris marks the end of the spring 2013 fashion calendar and much has been written about the changes at Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, with Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane taking over the houses. Whilst Raf Simons at Dior received glowing reviews, the show collection appeared to be without a common theme, showing a multitude of silhouettes, like the new jacketdress, but with technical patterns and motif options that didn't always feel relevant. Hedi Slimane went back to Yves Saint Laurent's heyday in the 70s, showing tassled jackets, maxi dresses, ponchos, and the return of the pussybow. All accessorised with oversized floppy hats. The collection was very 70s Saint Laurent, and very Los Angeles. It felt a tad heavy for spring, but as a debut it was a confident and interesting start.
Images: Dior, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent