paris fashion week: roland mouret

(images via vogue)

okay, so like, seriously kids, i just don’t know. about two things. first, why fashion designers of late have absolutely refused to let the eighties go. i mean, sure, there may be far too many women still parading around in that awful leggings-as-pants trend, and so many of the other unfortunate ideas that decade wrought upon us (studded motorcycle jackets, acid wash denim, day-glo hues that don’t look good on anyone about the primary school age), but, like, seriously? i thought fashion was alleged to be all about ‘newness’ or some such nonsense. so why the persistence in holding to those structured shoulders, plunging necklines, and tapered trouser hems? after all, two out of those three never look good on, like, any mortal women.

okay, so that’s first. and second, why is it that we so frequently see so many designers culling from the same sources? it often seems to me that they must get together in a little room or something and determine just what historical figures, films, artists, and the like they can draw from, with a lot of revolving around much the same table. and yes, this one sticks, because while i can understand that the former may be down to taste, i thought these kids were (again) all about newness. so why the perpetual recycling of a handful of themes?

in other words, these were the thoughts spinning in my brain going into french designer roland mouret‘s a/w 2013 exhibition at paris fashion week. of course, i think you’re aware (as i’ve stated so many times in the past–see a/w 2010, s/s 2011, a/w 2011, s/s 2012, a/w 2012, s/s 2013, pre-fall 2013) my love for the designer, but i’d be lying if i said i wasn’t a little hesitant about the fall range, which drew from the eighties, of course, and the 1983 catherine deneuve film the hunger, which we’ve earlier this week seen inspire alexis mabille as well (and a handful of others in the past, to boot).

but if it sounds i’m coming down a little too harsh on mr. mouret, don’t worry. i’ll probably always love his structural, architectural designs, even if some of his more compelling asymmetrical pieces weren’t at play for the upcoming season. i missed his knotting and draping effects, too, as he seemed to rely a lot more on colour-blocking and prints than we’ve seen in prior works (save, perhaps that which was for the spring), but there were some nice fitted jackets that could probably work for those of us old school enthusiasts of the label, while a black blocked (in both fabric and leather) coat worn by irina kravchenko was for me a particular standout.

and so, with that introduction, are you ready to talk critiques? here we go, then. so, in a brief little analysis, the irish times explained that “Roland Mouret – he of the famous Galaxy dress – basing his collection on Catherine Deneuve, focused on strong tailoring, three-dimensional folds, bold colours and ‘an air of danger’. That meant catlike leopard print dresses with origami-style panels or handsome brocaded black leather coats worn with chignons, kitten heels and quirky thigh-high spats.”

and us vogue declared that “he sent out a sharper collection than as of late—still one that had a fitted knee-length dress as a centerpiece, but this time with a strict patchworked geometry applied to its surfaces, either in solid-color contrasting blocks or jigsawed leopard spots. The top-to-toe togetherness of eighties chic read from the mean, conceptual cat-eye sunglasses to the padded-shoulder coats down through the sheer black stockings, ending in gold-metal-tipped pointy boots or pumps.”

“The bold palette popular of that era — with its blue marine, russet, beige, black and dark red — worked with panache here in setting off the saleable va-va-voom silhouettes,” noted the washington post. “As ever, Mouret’s derrieres, with long alluring zippers at the back, were the most flattering seen this season. But the most interesting feature was his square details and paneling.’I focused on … an “air de danger,”‘ said Mouret. Sometimes softly asymmetrical, the three-dimensional folds of his clothes did give the collection a feeling of being slightly — but successfully — off-kilter.”

and according to fab sugar, the show “was filled with slim pleated pants with a knee detail that recalled the look of over-the-knee boots, sleek sheath dresses with origami-like folds carefully placed across bodices, and structured bustiers with stiff fabric chokers. Crossbody bags in rich leathers complemented the collection, while colorblocked coats with oversize shoulders appeared in violet and black. Evening was a strictly black and white affair with an emphasis on pants over his star-loved gowns, but we hope he has more like the one open-back stunner he sent down the runway.”

meanwhile, reflected wwd, “(a)s a reference, he looked to Catherine Deneuve’s vampire turn in 1983’s ‘The Hunger,’ ‘the nasty Deneuve, not just the nice one,’ the designer said before the show. The inspiration gave the clothes a distinct, sometimes too literal Eighties vibe. Sharp shoulders topped strong tailored pieces; bold asymmetric color blocks in blue and brown or leopard patterns weren’t always flattering, and surface tweaks and folds showed off the designer’s signature origami skills. Throughout, it was evident that Mouret pushed himself to evolve from his skin-tight, waist-centric silhouette with clothes that moved along the body less severely than usual.”

and elsewhere, fashion week daily chimed in that “(s)howing off his signature origami-esque cuts, he debuted pieces like a black, brown, white and blue top with a touch of peplum on each side paired with two-toned trou. Next up, a pantsuit cut to look as if it was paired with thigh-high boots. His curve-conscious dresses were less nipped and tucked this season, like a B&W dress avec animal print detailing. A duo of grey cheetah print peplum pieces factored into the mix as well…The animal magnetism transpired throughout the eveningwear as well, thanks to a tiger print one-shoulder column gown, accessorized with a white collared necklace.”

“‘I’m challenging myself with the silhouette. It’s still quite body-con but without the waist emphasis. It’s more military, there’s a quirkiness to trousers,’ said the designer of his direction. ‘It’s weird, at my age, I’m still learning,’ he added,” reported uk vogue. “And it looks like his woman is too, heading in a new direction from the one she came from – more graphic and stylised, slightly harsher. But there was still the draping worked in there too – diamonds on hips rolling into peplums, panels of leopard print in green and red and black twisting out over svelte dresses. There was his own clever take on the tux, transformed into long gowns of monochrome proportions. Gaiters on trousers zipped the whole way down to the shoes to mimic those that ran the line of spines on dresses and biker jackets were a real high point.”

finally, though, there was the iht‘s suzy menkes, rejoining that “(h)is vision remains trapped behind geometric lines, a graphic use of seams and inserts that shows a powerful grasp of fit and shape. But altering that for the winter season by mixing in mustard brown, blue and black or familiar leopard prints was not enough to give any design urgency. Beautifully crafted dresses, with the familiar bold zipper at the back, included some that were the epitome of 21st century elegance — for example, the animal-print digital patterns. But what the show needed were other angles than those on the dresses: more outerwear, with a wider choice of both coats and jackets; perhaps even a section of sportswear elaborating on the knits that were so powerful in Mr. Mouret’s early collections; and a fresh take on long dresses. His favored 1940s shape is a favorite in fashion at the moment.”

(check out the show video here)

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