paris fashion week: maison rabih kayrouz

(images via wwd)

interestingly enough, there were a couple of ateliers we’d been introduced to in the past (however briefly) solely as couturiers, either making their debuts in the field of ready-to-wear, or simply gaining more attention as time goes by, as was the case for maison rabih kayrouz (which we’d been introduced to back during the f/w 2011 haute couture shows), with a f/w 2013 collection that represented the designer’s third outing at the rtw paris fashion week shows (who knew? not me!).

i’d been drawn to the designer’s work about a year and a half ago largely because of the languid, soft quality that was at once polished and sophisticated, but very, very minimal, with a few colours (in pastel shades, of course) to complement the mostly white (with shades of black and navy) palette and subtle–if any–decoration, but surprisingly enough, for the rtw outing, i found his work almost…punchy.

perhaps it had something (or rather, a lot) to do with the bold colour choices this time through, with electric blue and navy, sunset and tangerine orange lit up with some graphic prints and stripes, and plenty of texture, thanks to the accentuation of the furs that have been punctuating practically every runway this paris season (incidentally, the other day, i was asked in a rather shocked voice, ‘is that real fur?’ and i was a little ashamed to have to answer, ‘yes’. seriously, it was a good question, and one we should be looking to for the future, but then, i’m getting ahead of myself here).

and so, back to the clothes at hand. they were definitely quite good, very wearable, as they were back when we were first introduced to the house, and sophisticated in a way that, while more of-the-moment and attention-grabbing than we’d last seen chez kayrouz, were still very classic in many respects, with some gorgeous tailored wool coats and smart basic trenches, textural sweaters (and twin sets!), and pretty, if simple, day dresses.

on the critical front, we were lucky to get at least a few voices chiming in, with wwd explaining that “Rabih Kayrouz said his subtly sensual pieces were aimed at an independent woman ‘who is not afraid of simplicity.’ The Lebanese designer stuck to his pared-down aesthetic with skirts in car-wash panels, laser-cut wool coats and ribbed knits, including a tubular style made from viscose and contrasting bands of cashmere felt,” as the nyt‘s eric wilson reflected that the label “had a high-class show with bold silk dresses and separates made of intricately ridged knits, like a creamy white sweater and skirt set that revealed strips of shocking orange beneath.”

meanwhile, according to the lebanese daily star, “(t)he bright colors gave airy silks –such as two flowing mini dresses – a warm-weather feel among the wintery wool coats and sweaters. Winter white also played big in this collection, such as a white wool coat over a simple white top and calf-length skirt and a white maxi dress with a modest neckline. Part of his focus on geometric patterns included different interpretations of the line. Zigzags across sweaters, stripes on skirts and tops and knitted rings gave sleeves the look of ridged tubing. Besides the sleeves, quirky patterns were knit into the sweaters in textured 3-D patterns; and leather jacket and dress patterns revealed Kayrouz’s ridged geometry in their razor-straight seams.”

“this season the designer,” they prattled on, “ventured into rectangular silhouettes. He paired a black oversized cardigan with a pair of patterned silk trousers; square-shaped sweaters fell at the hip over pleated skirts; and a fur jacket hid any hint of shape in its fuzzy depths. In fact, Kayrouz’s use of fur – a mainstay on the runways this year – bordered on playful. He created a dramatic mixture of texture by attaching full fur sleeves from shoulder to wrist to a thin white top,” as elle offered that (trans.) “(a)ny of the cream boiled wool dresses were particularly successful.”

and, finally, we heard style reflecting that “(t)he knits were the obvious standout here—in particular the sweaters with an unusual, magnified rib on the bodice or sleeves—and Kayrouz’s slit skirts came a close second. Knee-length, with a full shape, they had been razored between pleats with a surgical precision. That sort of technique can easily come off messy, but these skirts looked sharp; they were also surprisingly modest, given the length of leg on display. And there was another kind of modesty, too, in Kayrouz’s rather simple silk gowns and knee-length dresses; fluidly draped and banded at the waist, they were just very attractive, nothing else. Although some of the other looks here were a touch mannered, those dresses and gowns proved that Kayrouz is a designer who knows when to leave well enough alone.”

(enjoy the full fashion show video here)

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