‘New Romance’ can still blossom in winter and it’s a budding example of how tradition and luster can embody a sense of ease. In a growing market catering to polished looks that offer comfort within a specific price bracket, it’s no surprise as to which the strongest contenders are. Both Oliver Theyskens and Vera Wang possess esteemed careers in luxury, his past experience in Haute Couture and her ongoing success in Bridal Wear. The king of Contemporary Romance – Oliver Theyskens – won over the hearts of the fashion industry through his critically acclaimed careers at Rochas and Nina Ricci. Now as creative director of Theyskens’ Theory, his attainable collections have pleased consumers around the world. To the delight of many, his strong DNA can be spotted throughout his new range and heightens towards the end of his show as his separates shift to slinky gowns of chiffon and spattered gems.
Vera Wang’s approach to her ready to wear line is soft and enchanting, yet she manages to sneak urban elements into the mix. Sheer nude chiffon and lace contrast against structured wool pieces and the most valiant example is a black embroidered jacket molded to the body and paired with a printed flowing skirt, reminiscent of a watercolour painting. Sally Lapointe, a young up and comer, boasts an undeniable strength in this category. She understands proportions and executes to elongate the wearer. Her rise in popularity lends thanks to a special celebrity client, Lady Gaga – ambassador of love, originality and romance. A most fitting match as Lapointe’s looks are feminine yet play with devilish geometry and a dash of grit.
Leather conquered the runways this season and the sheer abundance urged for diversity. As a result, designers explored new territory by rendering leather in unique ways. The designer of Calvin Klein, Francisco Costa has an immaculate image to uphold. Abiding to the houses’ sensibilities, each season he flourishes through clever diversions. This season released a bittersweet sense from ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ Trilogy. The rigidness and strength hit high notes on the runway and few geometric bobs matched appropriately with front row actress Rooney Mara.
An exquisitely tailored leather peplum jacket brought structure to the hemline through the use of darts. With the lack of a horizontal seam to create the volume, we’re reminded of Costas’ inherent ability to manipulate patterns and edit out the unnecessary, making us all believers in a less is more mantra. His leather paneled skirts and dresses were appreciated by all and left Costa standing in a category all to himself. There’s truly no match for the caliber of his easy to wear garments.
Respect to the fashion innovators who’s forward thinking and unapologetic visions of the future enthrall us all. Nicolas Ghesquière, a simple Frenchman with a not so simple fashion policy is a daring trailblazer. As the creative director of Balenciaga, he doesn’t rely on the house’s extensive archives. Instead he invites us to a world highly immersed in the avant-garde with a fortress of unseen before looks. With colour alone Phoebe Philo at Céline dropped any recognition of a drab winter and sent uplifting messages floating down her private showing. With a baby on the way, one couldn’t help but conclude that the bright and heartening chimes resonated from a delicate place. With stripes, colour- blocked accents and sensationally bright pieces, Philo committed to a lasting fun impression without loosing her oh-so cool factor. Although ethically questionable, her calf length pink fur jacket was a shocking sight and all fur accents for that matter can be interpreted on an individual basis. Proenza Schouler has a technical mandate concerning their identity. Thinly sliced leather strips were woven into large panels to create the most exquisite leather jackets and skirts. The many angular cuts and stringent lines were inspired by Eastern ideals but designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez dissected their muse and returned her to international appeal. Some may label Narciso Rodriguez a minimalist due to his clean lines and meditative designs, but it’s a slightly misrepresented title and undermines his detailed work. His strength lies in his seamless cuts and use of texture; he flirts with basic colour or rather shades of colour and opposes bold contrasts hindering the illusion of minimal. Overall, there’s a handsome quality in innovation when it’s properly executed.
THE MUST HAVE COAT is oversized with a drop shoulder and slightly larger bicep that drops evenly to the sleeve hem. Made in dense wool to with hold the desired silhouette. Pair with fitted garments to help balance the full structure of this piece.
Prepare for a season full of expression, pieces adorned, embroidered and devoted to every detail. For some these looks may run along a fine line of excess but there’s an underlying sophistication here. Without a doubt the most powerful message came from Balmain, designer Olivier Roustieng used embroidery, appliqué and embossing techniques on nearly every piece in his collection. A mixture of pearls, crystals and needlepoint housed some of the most coveted pieces of the season – the embellished jacket and decorative velvet trouser! Continuing in the lap of luxury, Jenny Packham stunned with her 40’s inspired Hollywood Glamour. As a successful Bridal Wear designer, her Ready to Wear line doesn’t hold back where crystals and sequins are concerned and her looks are commonly seen on red carpet starlets. Diane Von Furstenberg embraced art deco inspired appliqué in repetitive circular shapes contoured by alternating rays of silver. Her quintessential seventies glitz and glamour shone through and left some with visions of her famous past.
By Janelle Gauthier – NICHE Magazine Winter 2013