Spring 2013

Paris Fashion Week Spring 2013: Chanel, Saint Laurent & More (PHOTOS)

From Raf Simons’s ready-to-wear debut at Dior to Sarah Burton’s fiery honeybees at McQueen, see highlights.

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Getty Images

From Raf Simons’s ready-to-wear debut at Dior to Sarah Burton’s fiery honeybees at Alexander McQueen, see highlights from Paris Fashion Week.

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Louis Vuitton

If Marc Jacobs’ collection for his eponymous label was all about stripes, his collection for Louis Vuitton was all about the check. His collection, inspired by the work of French conceptual artist Daniel Buren, offered several interpretations of the checkerboard grid. He sent his models down several escalators in the center of the runway, in highly linear silhouettes that were reminiscent of the 1960s. 

Patrick Kovarik, AFP / Getty Images

Miu Miu

Paris Fashion Week came to a close for many with Miuccia Prada’s collection for Miu Miu on Wednesday, which brought out its fare share of young celebrities: from Emma Stone, Chloe Sevigny and Amanda Seyfried. There were several springtime furs in the collection (just like the ones we saw on her Prada runway in Milan), in addition to slim skirts, swing jackets, and thick eyeglasses. 

Francois Guillot, AFP / Getty Images

Alexander McQueen

The McQueen runway was on fire on Tuesday night—both literally and figuratively. Sarah Burton produced a collection filled with giant ball gowns in vibrant colors, which she said were inspired by honeybees, because, she explained to WWD, theirs is “a matriarchal society where the females rule.” Models wore beekeeper hats and textures were as intricate as honeycombs, and there were several layers of caging that came on and off as Burton sent various looks to the runway.

Martin Bureau, AFP / Getty Images

Chanel

Karl Lagerfeld’s seasonal shows at the Grand Palais are always a spectacle—and his show on Tuesday morning was no exception. He outfitted the runway with 12 wind turbines to suggest a lightness to the collection. And the clothes were light and bright, indeed: there were skirt-suits in bright shades of pink, green, blue, and lavender. There were bold tweeds and mesh—but a highlight of the collection came in the form of a giant hula-hoop-size bag.

Chris Moore, Catwalking / Getty Images (3)

Balenciaga

Nicolas Ghesquiere offered a collection firmly fit for contemporary life: models came down the runway with almost no makeup, their hair pulled back, wearing delicate gold necklaces. The collection called to mind the history of the Balenciaga house, but also propelled it into the future. There were flamenco-like ruffles on skirts, cropped pants, and midriff-baring tops. “But in each piece there was also a bit of derring-do, a reminder that you don’t have to yell in order to be heard,” wrote Robin Givhan in her review of the collection. “Because a confident voice, with an original message, can whisper and still capture our attention.”

Jacques Brinon / AP Photo

Saint Laurent

Hedi Slimane’s debut collection was so shrouded in mystery that every morsel of information was traded around the Internet like currency before the collection. Slimane, who had been the beloved designer of Dior Homme until 2007 and had since taken a career turn to become a photographer in Los Angeles, immediately rebranded the house until he got the job. It went from “Yves Saint Laurent” to just “Saint Laurent”—and got a slick new logo to boot. But the collection Slimane showed wasn’t as slick and minimal as his career at Dior might lead us to expect. After all, he had to balance his own aesthetic with that of the brand’s legacy. His menswear-inspired tailoring was his strong suit, as he debuted a series of suits that exuded cool, although they seemed cut so slim that anyone with hips might find it hard to wear them. There were flowing patterned dresses, and white shirts with big floppy bows. As Givhan wrote of the collection: “Slimane created an atmosphere that called to mind backstage, VIP, beyond the velvet rope, Hollywood hipness. It is a place where more than a few women would want to be. The only question is: how many are willing to eat like a bird in order to get there?”

Francois Guillot, AFP / Getty Images

Rick Owens

The angular-beehive hair at Rick Owens may have seemed harsh, but the collection was anything but. There were long skirts in pale colors, fluid strapless gowns, and layers of drapes to hide models rather than show them off. “Owens, an American who shows in Paris, offers women a different way of thinking about girlishness and womanhood without the usual trussing of the bosom or unveiling of a long expanse of leg,” wrote Givhan. “For some women, that approach may seem insulting to the classic female form. Others may find it empowering. Still others may find Owens’s contrarian definition an indulgence that they cannot afford in their by-the-books world. But Owens is one of the lead voices in an aesthetic—embraced by women young and old, Western and not—who find power in what they choose to hide from full public view. These customers are not aiming for androgyny, just an alternative definition of femininity.”

Pierre Verdy, AFP / Getty Images

Dries Van Noten

When Dries Van Noten’s blonde, tousled models first appeared on the runway, it looked as if an army of Kurt Cobains had been brought to life. And, possibly in homage to the Nirvana front man, the collection offered a play on plaids: there were plaid work shirts, plaid structured jackets, and loose plaid shorts. The Belgian designer offered a play on masculinity and femininity—and admitted that his graphic pumps were a little bit Courtney Love.

Martin Bureau, AFP / Getty Images

Valentino

Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli presented a feminine and modest collection on Tuesday, filled with A-line dresses, delicate details and embroideries, and ethereal fabrics that swept over the runway. Dresses came in several shades of ivory, pink, and of course—signature Valentino red.

Pierre Verdy, AFP / Getty Images

Balmain

Twenty-seven-year-old Olivier Rousteing’s third collection for Balmain was inspired this season by Cuba, rap, and the singer Sade. There were large hoop earrings, embroidered jackets, super-short dresses covered in jewels. The result was sleek, polished, and more than a little bit rock star.

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Lanvin

This season’s Lanvin show was all about intimacy: designer Alber Elbaz slashed his guest list and brought his audience closer to the clothes. The collection was a little bit punk: models came out in a series of jewel-toned minidresses in shades of purple and pink that Givhan called an “aggressive collection … with more fist-pumping audacity than shrill speechifying.” She added: “These clothes are for a woman who doesn’t just talk the talk, but one who is utterly certain of her bad-ass status.”

Francois Guillot, AFP / Getty Images

Christian Dior

Raf Simons unveiled his first couture collection for Christian Dior in July to rave reviews, so the fashion flock was abuzz for his first ready-to-wear collection, which showed in Paris last week. The house was packed with editors and retailers—and, of course, Kanye West. Simons showed tailored jackets, super short and bright mini-dresses, and then voluminous and relaxed dresses for evening, surely a nod to Christian Dior. As Robin Givhan wrote of the collection, “Simons acquitted himself well with this collection; he left his audience wanting to see more.”

Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho, WireImage / Getty Images

Jean-Paul Gaultier

Jean-Paul Gaultier’s runway was inspired by ’80s pop stars such as Madonna, Grace Jones, and Debbie Harry, with whom Gaultier took a final spin down the runway. But it all may have been a little too literal. “The collection was a mess,” wrote Robin Givhan. “It was little more than a stage full of costumes and accompanying impersonators.”

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Céline

Designer Phoebe Philo introduced a typically minimal collection at Céline, which this year was more relaxed and nonchalant than ever before: there were satin blouses, loose dresses in drove gray and ivory, and trousers in mixed matte and shine. But the footwear was the most jarring: a series of bright and fuzzy heels offset the muted collection—one of which looked like they’d be favored by Big Bird.

Francois Guilot, AFP / Getty Images

Hermès

Christopher Lemaire’s collection for Hermès was all about luxury travel. There were backpacks and silks, pockets as big as saddlebags, and exotic prints that came in an assortment of tropical colors.

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Givenchy

Riccardo Tisci’s collection for Givenchy was lighter and airier than the dark, almost Goth fare he has produced recently. There were baby blues, creams, and ruffles. It was an almost an angelic collection—which made sense because Tisci said it was influenced by his Italian Catholic roots. There were priest collars, and church-like garments, too.

Patrick Kovarik, AFP / Getty Images

Stella McCartney

McCartney’s coming off a big season, having designed the uniforms for the British Olympic team at the Summer Games. And the collection she sent down the runway in Paris was also sporty-chic, featuring sweatshirt-style pullovers, windbreakers, and loose dresses in a series of bright, carefee colors.

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Chloé

This year marks Chloé’s 60th anniversary, with an exhibition called “Chloé: Attitudes” currently up at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo. And the collection Claire Waight Keller presented on Monday seemed perfectly in step with the house’s long tradition. There were black mini-skirts and cropped pants, flowing white blouses and camel-colored jackets, and for evening a beautiful blush-colored dress.

Martin Bureau / Getty Images

Comme des Garçons

Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garçons presented a line filled with dresses that were folded and pinched around the body—no darts at the bosom or curves at the hips. The collection, filled with black and white tones, featured headpieces that looked like little metal buckets. As Robin Givhan noted, the collection “raised questions about how our perceptions are altered by the cultural connections we have to color, light, speed.” The clothes, she wrote, forced us to reconsider traditional representations of femininity in fashion.