paris fashion week: maxime simoens

(images via vogue)

yes, my kidlings, i’m sorry to have to do this one to you, but do you remember the young couturier maxime simoens (see a/w 2011 & s/s 2012)? the one we all agreed had some promise, but hadn’t yet fully fleshed out what he was about to be about? well. i’m here to inform you that he presented his first-ever ready to wear collection, for the a/w 2013 season at paris fashion week, with the influx of cash to do it thanks to…lvmh. yes, bernard arnault’s henchmen have bought him a minority stake in yet another label.

for a designer, i think we’re all aware that the money portends great things in what they’ll be able to do, both for textiles and materials, and for the future of their brand/expansion, moving ahead, but if this mainstream fashion month has had a theme, i think we can all agree it has been the big brothers of fashion (lvmh & ppr) lurking in the shadows, manipulating press, bloodying the histories of beloved historical labels, appointing ‘celebrities’ as designers, and a whole lot of other carnage.

or, well…that’s my take, and i’m sticking with it. and oh, how pleased i am that they don’t have editorial pages they buy from opt, thus ensuring my silence & cooperation with that same iron fist they use to run so many, many magazines/websites/publications. and yet! all that aside, i have to allow, whatever my weakness of stomach from repulsion at what’s before us there, that i really do like mr. simoens’ work for the upcoming autumn. and i’m pleased to say it still looks quite a bit like him, taking the ethnic-y patterns he so likes on once more.

but if the designer’s prints have tended to have an almost tribalist feeling about them, with colour-blocking and firm geometric lines combining into some surprisingly morose (given how vibrant they tend to be) motifs, then his themes are usually quite divorced from that which we would ordinarily guess, like vampires, or, in his turn this season, that same concept we were getting so bloody tired of after a certain black swan was released, swan lake.

anyway, are you ready to hear the backstory and simultaneously enjoy the suddenly-enthused report-age? right, then! so, as us vogue related, “‘I’ve based the collection on Swan Lake, the white swan and the black swan. There are shoes like ballet pumps: They’re the first I’ve been able to do on my own, with LVMH helping,’ he said, as a girl in a short, full-skirted red dress with a graphic black patch on the bodice stepped forward. Simoëns considered her. ‘I’m trying to focus on my own style,’ he reflected. “’t’s a bit about glamour and elegance—not really casual…I want to search for something more special.’”

meanwhile, wwd piped up that “(a) series of bustier dresses worn over transparent long-sleeved blouses and turtlenecks dominated Maxime Simoens’ debut ready-to-wear collection, giving the lineup a repetitive feel. The designer worked the dresses in watery prints, geometric graphics and cashmere-leather combos meant to look like feathers…the pieces were very structured, much like the costumes of prima ballerinas, but feminine in essence. Slightly edgier was the cropped jacket with geometric inserts in multicolored tweed paired with skinny tuxedo pants.”

then, according to fashionising, the “collection meant not only a break from all the couture the designer had focused on for the past seasons, but also a remarkable return to ready-to-wear, with a beautiful line up inspired by the ‘Swan Lake’ ballet. Quite literal at times, the influence of the tutu’s silhouettes translated to a full sequence of bustier-like dresses featuring flared skirts, worn over black sheer long-sleeved blouses.”

“the most intriguing work here found the designer making the sideways leap from the ballet’s opposition of black swan and white swan to houndstooth checks with an interlocked opposition of black and white,” declared style. “He followed the idea through by extracting a single check, and using that shape as a graphic motif in clothes that were vibrantly colored. A group of evening pieces, with the check shape etched in metallic embroidery, was particularly well done. The show could have used a tighter edit, though. On the one hand, you sometimes felt that Simoëns was working his houndstooth theme a little too insistently, and on the other, there were more than a handful of pieces that seemed off-topic, like gowns and cocktail frocks scattered with marble crystal.”

elsewhere, now fashion relayed how “(i)t was clever to see the designer’s bar code logo make its way into long cuffs and belts, and if anyone was doubting his haute couture creds, one strapless navy gown put those questions to bed. At a distance the gown looked like it’s skirt was cut from knit lurex. But when it came closer it revealed itself to be crafted from thousands of shimmering navy beads.
 The problem with this collection was that it was just too much of a good thing. It is understandable that Simoens was brimming with ideas he wanted to get on the catwalk. But he would be wise to remember that famous P.T. Barnum saying, ‘Always leave them wanting more.’”

and uk vogue rejoined that “(i)t all had that distinct sense of LVMH luxe about it and was a very accomplished collection complete with that certain gloss that comes with a conglomerate giving you a helpful pat on the back. It also meant that Swan Lake reference wasn’t too literal – even though the show notes’ explanation of it was – which made for a working and wearable wardrobe. ‘I like to give a strength to my woman,’ said the designer, noting that luxe and being new were key parts of this.”

then, finally, there was the telegraph, weighing in that “(t)he heft of LVMH was evident in the flawless finishing of this collection. Elaborate shoes with vine like ebony tendrils that looped up the leg looked expensively and perfectly produced. A beautiful aquatic horizontal-wash gabardine that was meant to echo the wateriness of Swan Lake – Simoens starting point for the collection – was gleamingly accomplished. His black or white, corolla-skirt dresses with faux-astrakhan panels nodded to the ballerina but brought her from on-stage to cocktail party. …Cigarette trousers were neat and close, their tweed paneled jackets in blue and black efficiently sporty.”

(see the runway video here)


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