2012 March 1
Paris Fall 2012: Balenciaga, Ann Demeulemeester, Azzaro
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A parade of primary colors, rendered in techy, angular fabrications and razor-sharp cuts. All are recurring motifs at Nicholas Ghesquiere's Balenciaga, but this season, the designer was both more daring and restrained. The shoes? Walkable. The outerwear? Exaggerated, proportion-wise, but perfectly at home on the chicest sidewalks in the world. Sweatshirt dressing was just one big idea: leather and embroidered, covered in pailettes, or silkscreened with trippy, Star Wars-y mantras like "Out of the Blue." (Possible to pre-order the sienna and blue?) A high-waisted, blousy pant, folded over and belted at the waist, in lurex, lavender, blue was another new concept, as were the jumpsuits and bonded leather coats, all arm and shoulder.
There's that purple again! Serious color trend alert: that dark sapphire has been everywhere from Kane to Prada to, now, Demeulemeester, and it added a jewel-toned injection into an otherwise straightforward meditation on noir. Of course, Demeulemeester's take on that is anything but simplistic: this season, it involved raven-reminiscent feathered headdresses, narrow leather trousers, curious micro capes in geometric shapes, and the gathered skirts and jackets she's known for.
In Lanvin vet Mathilde Castello Branco's first collection for Azzaro, the Vanessa Seward influence loomed large. The house hasn't strayed far from its unabashedly girly commitment to shine, sparkle, and the occasional shiny, sparkly bow, but the focus on daywear that Seward seemed to pursue in her last few seasons for the house has been eschewed in favor of the going-out frocks and coats that Parisian party girls crave.