paris fashion week: isabel marant

(images via style)

i’m sure you know by now that i’m not, like, a huge isabel marant fan, that i’ve never really been one, and that i probably never will be, as i find a lot of her clothes recycled americana ideas that one could find in vintage or thrift shops, or perhaps even in the racks of those classic american clothing mall shops (aeropostale or american eagle, maybe?). but. if all of these seasons (see f/w 2010, s/s 2011, f/w 2011, s/s 2012, f/w 2012, s/s 2013) i’ve retained a hesitation no matter what the fashionies are crowing (and buying), i must admit that my opinion has altered slightly for her f/w 2013 collection presented at paris fashion week, which for the first time in a long while (by my watch) felt as much about design as it did styling.

in other words, that’s a good thing, and i think it marks homegirl moving forward. maybe she was spurred on by the success of those platform trainers she’s been pushing, which have just been validated by beyonce (and peta, in that they’re shunning them, with any kind of attention usually a ‘win’ for everyone in this era).  but no, on the whole, i wanted to say i found many of her layered little fall dresses quite sexy and compelling, without once an idea coming to mind that i found she’d directly cribbed the pieces from. and while i’m sure you can argue, like, hip hop culture, it still felt more about the works themselves than the cool girl aura her models project (to ultimately sell the clothes).

and so, just in time for the critical rundown, uk vogue offered that “(i)n a darker palette of slate, black and navy and a few sandy shades mixed in, this was a capsule wardobe of all things mini and only jackets came big to make the rest look even more mini: layer it, dance in it, hang out in it, work it – and preferably with that band boy on your arm. Towards the end we had a serious dose of embellishment: studs on a miniskirt and a jacket – which then segued into Joan of Arc moments for tunics in mesh, slashed at the bust to reveal another layer (sometimes sheer) beneath.”

meanwhile, fashionologie chimed in that “the collection was edgier and darker than we’ve come to expect, with the rock ‘n’ roll vibe leaning closer to heavy metal — quite literally. Shiny nailhead studs were the adornment of choice; they traced the hems of square-shouldered jackets, sparkled like sequins on skinny scarves, and covered every surface inch of wrapped miniskirts for an almost chain-mail effect. The studs were also present on bustiers and bra straps, both of which were revealed via cutouts across the bust on sheer, body-con tops.”

“The look was built on layers of fine-gauge and ribbed knits in black, ivory, or navy, worn over minis so short you could barely call them skirts or over leggings. Not leather leggings, mind you, but the stretchy kind you roll out of bed in to go walk the dog or pick up your morning latte,” reflected a surprisingly passive style. “All in all, a mixed bag, though Marant is probably smart to try to stay one step ahead of her customer by trading in her popular Americana-inflected eclecticism for something more stripped-down.”

and according to wwd, “(a) tight, stretchy silhouette — leggings, some done in leather and suede, and fitted sweaters and dresses with multiple hemlines and suggestive anatomical seams and stitching — provided a solid canvas for big coats and the evolution of Marant’s viral hit wedge sneaker, now shown in strappy, furry bootie versions. For further accent, there were silver studded scarves and belts. That was basically the look: skinny and scant, or loungewear with a kick, whether by way of stretch pants and body-con sweaters with cutouts ’round the bust, or flimsy printed dresses with hefty outerwear and shoes doing the heavy lifting.”

elsewhere, we heard fashion week daily describe how the designer “sent out her mods in edgy yet pared-down looks, like a midnight navy mini was layered with a black pull over micro top that revealed just a peek of cleavage was paired with black knee-high pony hair boots A silver tulip mini was fashioned from chain metal, mingling with a sheer black blouse. A long, oversized black tuxedo jacket also went with a very brief-hemmed skirt, and then paired with strappy booties. Black leather leggings and studded shirt were layered with a sheer sweater and slouchy coat.”

and, quite similar to style, us vogue was less impressed with the offerings: “Sure, a fun-time girl like Marant’s has to rest now and again, but the usual charm and liveliness was missing from this collection (and without Marant’s clever styling, the value and fashion within those plain dark pieces may not resonate on the sales floor). Although it was, as Marant intended, effortless. ‘The idea was that in winter you don’t want to dress up. It’s already cold and you just want to be comfortable and warm. So I layered plain and efficient garments that won’t make you pull your hair out.’ Getting dressed without having to overthink it, well, that’s pretty rock ’n’ roll, too.”

“With a heavy-metal lashing of studs on cropped jackets, low-slung wrap skirts, and long skinny scarves,” explained fab sugar, “models like Arizona Muse showed off a parade of black, white, cream, and navy. Marant went deep into sexier knitwear this season, focusing on a second-skin shape with cutouts just above the bustline. As for her much-loved shoes, it was all about the wedge boot — ankle-high and knee-high in lush suede and sometimes clad with biker-like straps.”

finally, though, there was the typically droll telegraph, reflecting that “(s)upertight, layered knitwear in black, navy and cream was her daywear thesis. It looked good, and more realistic when swathed beneath understated sheepskins and oversized duffles. Most of the ensembles were monotone, with the detail in the three, sometimes four hemline levels…The only real mis-step in this most Maranty of Marant collections was a stupid look in which a black and grey bodyless jumper and black, gauze and ball bearing topped were combined to create an excruciatingly transparent nipple-window.” oh, snap. but i glad they liked it. we often agree. and i suppose it’s quite fitting that i do when some of the fashionies–possibly for the first time ever–don’t. but so be it.

(check out the fashion show video here)

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