Paris Spring 2013 Fashion Week

Spring 2013 fashion season wrapped up with the Paris shows earlier this month. From larger-than-life bags at Chanel to Raf Simons’s Dior debut, here’s a look at what went down the runway – and what you’ll be dying to wear once the weather warms up.

Jean Paul Gaultier paid tribute to iconic 20th-century pop stars – from Ziggy Stardust–era David Bowie to a cone-bra-and-corset bedecked Madonna, making the models look like ghosts of MTV Video Music Awards past. Karlie Kloss channeled Boy George with long braids, over-the-top makeup, and a colorful kimono jacket, while Joan Smalls tapped her inner Michael Jackson (complete with red leather jacket, high-water pants, a single glove, and a fedora-topped Jheri curl).

Things were decidedly less tongue-in-cheek at John Galliano, where creative director Bill Gaytten took the label in a more architectural direction for spring, vis-à-vis origami-esque tops and voluminous trousers, shorts, and kimono dresses, with many looks topped by flying saucer–sized headgear by milliner Stephen Jones.

Vivienne Westwood showed her collection at the British Ambassador’s residence in Paris, taking on the idea of “Climate Revolution” with lightweight corset dresses, bejeweled bustiers, and gossamer patchwork knits worn with elaborate updos, towering turbans, and otherworldly face paint.

Christian Dior has finally (finally!) found a new creative director in Raf Simons, who presented his first, highly anticipated Dior ready-to-wear collection. Was it worth the wait? From first look (a sleek black Le Smoking suit) to last (a modernized take on a classic, full-skirted ball gown) the answer is yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Simons took Monsieur Dior’s sartorial signatures – the nip-waist Bar jacket, New Look skirt, elaborate evening gown – and reimagined them for a new generation of high society fashion lovers.

In a twice-as-nice fashion month happening, Italian designer Isabella Tonchi presented her collection first in Milan and then again in Paris, outfitting mannequins in gothic/pop-inspired military jackets, cargo pants, gold-zippered dresses ,and optical print pieces.

Chanel‘s Karl Lagerfeld went all out this season with a “Neo Coco” collection replete with flirty A-line minis, wide-shouldered cropped boleros, and multicolor plaid day dresses, worn with uber chic striped platforms and circular, larger-than-life hats and bags. And then there were the tattered taffeta-trimmed pieces, including a pair of sheer, wide-legged hostess pajamas that looked like something Cher might’ve worn back in The Me Decade.

At Valentino, design duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli took inspiration from the vintage celebrity photos of Arturo Ghergo and their own memories of Rome, and riffed on the notion of female self-invention by way of contrast-bibbed tops, chiffon cocktail frocks, and delicately embroidered sundresses. Elsewhere, white eyelet shorts skewed more sophisticated than saccharine, while a prim white collar and cuffs lent a subtle naughty-librarian vibe to a lace-skirted day dress.

The esteemed French furrier Révillon unveiled the debut collection from designer Andrew Heather, who fashioned glossy leather into trim spring trench coats, rendered a short-sleeve cocoon in white astrakhan, and envisioned metallic python and laser-cut fuchsia ponyskin as sexy fitted jackets.

Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.

October 26, 2012