2011 September 29
Spring 2012: Ann Demeulemeester, Balmain, Nina Ricci
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(PARIS) Ann Demeulemeester
Ann Demeulemeester delivered her usual paean to all things noir with a poetic Spring collection dabbling less in goth-y notes and more in the joyeuse bohème side of things. Translation: sheer barely-there gowns or transparent haute hippie bell-bottoms; elongated knit vests or slinking Woolly Mammoth coats; and breezy watercolor caftans in a graduation of grey, black, and white. From beginning to end, there were romantic homages to the traveling troubadour played out in heavily layered looks flowing in the wind. It wasn't hard for any front rower to imagine Stevie Nicks plucking the ethereal white caftan-gown from the lineup for her '81 album cover, Bella Donna. Or Patti Smith performing her opening ditty in the floppy on-the-road black chapeaux and any number of Demeulemeester's hallmark overcoats and mannish blazers. Looks like this tour de force will be a smash hit onstage and on the sales floor.
Yippie ki yay! Balmania saddled up for the wild frontier with another hit collection by Olivier Rouseing, the 25-year-old replacement of Christophe Decarnin. Back in the day, cowboys opted for jeans over gems but in this case, our pioneering captain gave ample play to both in a runway overflowing with down-home decadence and Spanish flavor. Light-washed denim made a cameo or two in floor-sweeping skirts and rolled-up shirts. But it was the glitzy separates--cut with the hallmark Balmain DNA and laced with gilded embroidery--that really roped us in. Think high-top skirts and briefs, covetable blazers, ornate tops, fringed minis, and skintight pencil pants. And when it came to accessories, there was no such thing as over-the-top. High-heeled cowboy boots capped off the Wild West getups with embossed leather and elaborate beading while stacked geometric cuffs and glittering belt buckles got the Midas touch.
Inspired by Zina de Plagny, a Russian artist who collaborated with the house in the 30s and 40s, Peter Copping's Spring runway show blossomed at the Avenue Foch salon with a medley of garden prints popping up on demure 50s silhouettes--two strong trendscapes of the season. The English designer cast his flowery Mad Men approach on high-waisted pencil skirts, flirty frocks, sheer floral applique blouses, and fitted knee-grazing shifts. A budding washed-out parka was a surprise hit in the dressy assortment and one that will surely be an easy sell at retail. White Jackie O suiting (a callback to Resort 2011), lilac or navy gala gowns, and a black and blue fishtail skirt rounded out the delicate 50s sensibility. Meanwhile, Copping added a tinge of naughty to the melange of nice with sultry bra tops, a fiery red come-hither dress, and a new look for the house--the daring Ricci Biker. Vroom!
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