Browsing through the latest Paris shows I spotted what I think will be a Key Item for the Spring 2012 season- a blazer vest in soft feminine fabrics and color.For Fall 2011, we saw the Teddy Boy look popularizing menswear items and I believe Parisian designers have an updated Spring version in the soft blazer vest.
I saw three incarnations this week by Givenchy, Issey Miyake, and Costume National. They all represent their own take on this item but share the same feminine and soft appeal that is just right for Spring. I don’t see the menswear influence leaving anytime soon and this reincarnation of the blazer is a perfect example of the staying power of this current movement.
|Givenchy S/S 2012|
The tailored blazer vest stands out among the sea of vibrant prints and fluid layers we have so far seen dominating the Spring runways.The practicality and instant cool factor of a blazer vest will capture the heart of girls looking to move along with fashion. And the femininity injected in this updated menswear look will compliment well with the vibrant colors and prints overflowing from the Spring runways.
Because Paris is so Major League and each day is full of fan favorites and new surprises, I feel the need to feature a few of my favorites so far knowing there will be plenty more to come in the remaining days of Paris Fashion Week.
So far I’ve loved Dries Van Noten,Pedro Lourenco, and Balenciaga. Dries I have always loved and of course Balenciaga never fails. It was Pedro Lourenço who surprised me the most with improvements in his tailoring and craftmanship as well as over-all aesthetic appeal.
Dries Van Noten.
I am constantly surprised and I fall in love season after season with this designer. I am a huge admirer of Van Noten’s prints as he reinvents them each season with inspired skill and innovation. This season he collaged photo prints from different elements and time periods: seascape with baroque, wall paper with historic garden and tropical scenery.
|Dries Van Noten S/S 2012|
What was really interesting was his collaboration with English photographer James Reeves. The photographer’s photos of iconoclastic landmarks at nighttime were used on the surprisingly couture like shapes toward the end of the show. Seems like the Cristobal Balenciaga exhibit this past Spring might have had an impact on more than just Nicholas Ghesquiere.
I love how all the prints work so effortlessly together especially the on trend couture inspired shapes.
Balenciaga/ Pedro Lourenço
The other two of my favorites so far share a perculiar resemblance to each other. But since Nicholas Ghesquiere has been on the scene for much longer, one can argue that Pedro Lourenço is closely following Ghesquiere’s footsteps. Their similarities in style was one thing that I noticed ever since the name Pedro Lourenço became familiar to my ears. The way they both favor dramatic shapes, the way they handle fabric and proportions, and the manner in which sporty elements are infused with traditional technique, these are all positive elements that make both of their collections an instant winner for the women who dare to wear Fashion.
|Pedro Lourenco S/S 2012|
Pedro Lourenço has come leaps and bounds since his meteoric debut two years ago as a teenager with enormous talent. It is good to see that he is growing in maturity and in the execution of his aesthetic. His collections have diversified and shown that he is attuned to what his customers and supporters want to see and wear.
I would say the one thing that separates the two designers at the moment is Nicholas’ vast Balenciaga archive in which he can explore endlessly.This season, he once again used it wisely featuring prints from Cristobal’s famed archive of sketches and fabric. His ability to take traditions and apply them in an utterly urbane and modern manner is something that will translate well at any fashion house and it’s a modus operandi that defines much of today’s fashion elite.
|Balenciaga S/S 2012|
Spring 2012 Paris: Ones To Watch.
And finally Paris Fashion Week starts today marking the beginning of the end of the Spring runway season. So far we’ve been seeing tons of vibrant fashion from NY, London, and Milan making the theme of fashion pretty pronounced this season. The big question is whether Paris will follow suit and present us with bright colors and a sporty vibe, or will it embrace the optimism and nostalgia of the 50s and 60s, and which designer will continue the bra top look that is popular in all the cities so far. Lots of critics and fashion editors look to Paris for the consolidation of big trends and sometimes a whole new movement can come out of this city alone, therefore it is exciting to see how the City of Lights caps off Spring 2012. But before we do that, here are a few labels that you should pay close attention to as they are very likely one of the brands that will contribute to either consolidating or setting more Spring trends.
The talented design duo Kaito Hori and Iku Furudate helm this edgy and trend leading brand. They always seem to be one step ahead of the curve, which is something I value and personally strive for. For instance, some of the hottest trends we are seeing so far such as cut out transparency, sporty items, and intense color-blocking were all explored in Commuun’s Fall 2011 collection. I cannnot wait to see where this fun yet sensible brand will bring to the table for Spring 2012.
|Commuun S/S 2012|
I have often said that Opening Ceremony duo Humberto Leon and Carol Lim are taking over fashion and their latest role is their appointment as the new creative directors at Kenzo. Earlier this year amidst the fashion musical chair of exiting Head Designers, Antonio Marras parted ways with Kenzo after being the Creative Director of the brand for 6 years. Soon after, the brand released the surprising news that Leon and Lim will be taking over starting with the Spring Collection and that instantly made Kenzo one of the most anticipated shows this season.
|Kenzo Duo Leon And Lim|
Seems like I am leaning toward Japanese designers this year as I am also excited to see the new Undercover collection designed by Jun Takahashi.Undercover is a super underground and avant-garde brand that is not well known in the States and I have loved this brand for a long time. Designer Takahashi has a way of making clothes with a twist that forces you to pay attention and look twice. His last Fall collection marked his return to the Runway after a few seasons of showroom presentations and the result was exquisite and nothing short of his signature. For example, a simple parka turns out to be made of drab chiffon and felt panels, and mini skirts sported extra panels and zippers that seemingly end in the middle of nowhere. I have always been a big fan of this brand of fashion and I am so glad to see what Undercover has to offer this season.
|Undercover S/S 2012|
My last “Ones to Watch” is Paris resident Julien David. My Japanese obsession does not end here. As it turn out Julien studied fashion at Parsons in New York before working for Narcisco Rodriguez and Ralph Lauren but then he moved to Tokyo and launched his label of silk printed scarves that have a heavy Japanese avant-garde influence. Last season marked his first foray into a full collection and I instantly loved what I saw. The Japanese influence was apparent and besides the on trend Creepers, it included a clean color palette with a few hits of colors, sharp tailored lines with unexpected yet not outrageous proportions, and naturally his signature silk prints popped up here and there. Julien has a bright future ahead of him with new fans after each season. At this rate he is poised to become a new force in the Parisian-Japanese scene.
|Julien David S/S 2012|