2012 March 1
Paris Fall 2012: Carven, Gareth Pugh, Mugler
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Guillaume Henry’s catechistic collection skipped an overtly devout doctrine in lieu of a Medieval mashup of faintly ethereal references. For starters: whirling, swirling tapestry motifs were cut into lampshade skirts, apron jumpers, and matching coats in sun-weathered grey-blues and saffron. Otherwise, a stained glass palette prevailed, especially in velvet or blanket stripe jackets. Or a striking lord ‘n labor scene depicted on swinging minis or flowy frocks. Later on, a blitz of dainty laser-cut leather and suede separates took over repeating elements of Euro-goth architecture commonly seen on ornate basilicas and centuries-old abbies. Witness a pair of midnight silk high-waisted shorts worn with a fitted black suede peplum top, enriched with a kaleidoscope of cutouts, and a white parish-worthy collar. We're already praying for the striped ankle pants and red silk-lined trench, not to mention the cobalt flyaway dress with winged shoulders.
One of the darkest, and most grittily whimsical, of fashion forces stuck with the sleekly sinister M.O. for Fall, riding into the collection via a curious gray fin atop the head, followed by a series of billowing capes, voluminous noir furs, and ample leather. When it wasn't propped atop the shoulders, said furs were fashioned into full skirts, paired with slimmer, typically belted fixings. Also in the mix: long strands of fringe, thick and slightly mop-esque, grazing the tops of thigh-high boots in the form of satin masses tethered to and fro; imminently wearable sheaths, broadly collared coats, and well-cut leggings, all fashioned from supple leather. A few capes in a periwinkle-inflected shade of gray lightened the palette a bit, but not the overall chic creature of darkness effect. But a city slicker could put one of those exquisitely silhouetted toppers, funnel necked or curvaceously collared per her liking, to excellent use while dashing around town. Ditto for those aforementioned leggings...and the sheaths and shells with sculptural necklines...Once again, un peu of Pugh goes a long way.
ln keeping with Mugler's DNA, creative director Nicola Formichetti and women's design head Sébastien Peigné trotted out a collection that's all about those shoulders, strongly striding by. Sometimes accented with peplum detailing to create a touch of aesthetic competition between the upper and lower halves of the body, other times accompanied by massive furry arms for a trippy proportional feast for the eyes. Neoprene got put to good use, often in hilly expanses the shade of snow; after the profusion of white in the collection's opening series, lots of black (rife with angular, piece-y potpourris, often topped with asymmetrical hoods) was punctuated with a clingy saffron number and a monochrome poppy-hued getup. Plus, the rare pop of a pattern or two, like the engrossingly abstract take on an x-ray blanketing frock. Despite the drama, which is to be expected (and relished!), all those peplums over slim pencil skirts, and snippets of sheer black blouson sleeves, looked like department store floor eye candy for those with a flair for the bold and the body-con.