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Back to Graphics and Geometry:Paris Fashion Week S/S 2011

04.09.2011 - 19:25

1This season, Paris paid its tribute to the graphic arts. Bold ‘constructivist’ geometric prints in black, white and various browns and beiges recall 1920’s avant-garde design. In contrast, bright primary colours create a dynamic effect as they are splashed or striped across clearly arranged patterns.  The desire for stylized purified shapes meets the need for pure colour and its positive tune – a plane that had been explored by Yves Saint Laurent in the 60’s with his famous Mondrian dress.

Most brands showed a preference for dresses – just above the knee and with high necklines, as discretion and ‘fitting in’ seem to be the new demands for next spring.

Chanel presented a very contrasted collection of classic tweed suits – the brand’s chic signature outfit, along with light, long dresses in unusually large flower prints. Modern and glamorous  were the short, geometric white and black dresses and ensembles.

Alexis Mabille signed a very fresh, pretty collection that was in complete harmony with the tastes and needs of the moment: simple cuts, geometric motifs, a touch of romanticism, a day-to-night appeal…and his very own nostalgic little bow, black and white ribbon stripes and butterfly shoes.

Felipe Oliveira Baptista’s approach was definitely sportier. He used ‘blocks’ of single colour with tiny repetitive patterns to accentuate his strictly structured silhouettes. White, black and beige materials are constantly juxtaposed and cut out to create trompe-l’oeil effects that are meant to mingle skin and cloth…deconstructing and reconstructing.

Richard Nicoll for Cerruti presented an excellent, complete collection in earthly tones. Although most of his outfits belong to the ‘nude’ trend, Nicoll’s original Art Deco theme and palette, terracotta, pink brown and silver grey, soften and flatter the complexion; elegant and sober total looks in beautiful fabrics and sophisticated finishes make this one of the most successful collections of the season.

2A similar praise should go to Rodolfo Paglialunga for brilliantly reviving the Vionnet brand. His collection was all about the optical effect of stripes and wide coloured straps.  Blocks of primary colours: yellow, red, white and black accentuate the clearly geometric cuts: triangle skirts with angles and square tops, as the playful, graphic motifs recall 1920’s interiors.

Lanvin proposes minimal elegance in rare colours: from toned down prune purple, brick brown, copper, bronze and blue grey to acid yellow, strawberry pink and scarlet red. Alber Elbaz’s vision of modernity is mainly expressed through his studied arrangement of coloured blocks of fabric.

Giambattista Valli’s own interpretation of the geometric trend involves the beautiful mix-match of materials, animal prints and tubular shapes. His great sense of refined detail can be seen throughout the collection, as embroidery and decorative finishes prevail.

Last but not least, Roland Mouret kept his long-time choice of well-fitted strict geometric tailoring as he returned to his galaxy dresses with an even purer approach. Mouret may prefer white and black, colours that reveal the architecture of his clothes, but he knows how to surprise us with bright turquoises and luminous greens like the ones that were seen in this collection.

All in all, as tastes and market changes tend towards the simplification of cuts, brands sense the need to compensate by turning to colour and decorative details, as was also noted in London and Milan.

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Louise Kissa