Sunday, 18 March 2012

today i love... the best of a/w '12

It's been a while since the end of Paris Fashion Week now and the trends have had a little time to sink in, so I thought it was high time I posted a round-up of my ultimate favourite shows from A/W'12. As ever there were some fantastic, eye-catching and seriously covetable collections, so I was spoilt for choice, but I've narrowed it down to a select few. Read on to find out which trends I'll be picking up on and which designers I'll be channelling come autumn...

Why I loved it / Let's face it, Marant never disappoints. She absolutely has that trait which I consider to be indicative of a truly great designer: she can design whatever she likes and make you really, really want to wear it. Some of her shows don't convince me initially, but by the time the season in question rolls around I am always 100% converted. This season, though, I was immediately won over. A collection with a midwestern feel to it, it showcased as ever the casual, offbeat clothes that Marant does so well. With embroidered shirts, belts slung low on the hip, ankle-cropped trousers, fringing trims and hints of lace, it was very much made for the modern Parisian cowgirl. Highlights for me were the laced-up leather skirts and trousers, the embroidered black minidresses and the cowboy boots which, mark my words, will soon be gracing the feet of everyone who's anyone.
Trends / Cowgirl; western; leather; studs; fringing.
Colours / Black; white; dusky pink; red; cobalt.

Why I loved it / Wang is consistently one of my favourite designers because he understands the appeal of boyish minimalism like no other. He also shares my penchant for leather, something which definitely showed in this collection. It was a very hard-edged show, a fact obvious right from when the first model emerged with her face half-obscured by a mesh mask. An almost entirely monochrome collection made up of about 75% leather, it was certainly simple but tough. There were some flattering silhouettes, though, and a smattering of fringing in a few looks softened things up a little. All in all not a collection I'd wear straight off the catwalk, but mixed in with other softer pieces it would provide the perfect basis of a no-nonsense winter wardrobe.
Trends / Leather; tough; mesh; structured; minimalist.
Colours / Black; white; oxblood; navy.

Why I loved it / Topshop Unique is a label whose collections I always want to love, but I haven't always got there every season. In the past, motifs have been overly hammered home (the wild animal collection complete with fur everywhere; the dalmatians with matching noses and nails) and it's all been just a little try-hard. But the last two seasons have been edging in a different direction. S/S'12's Egyptian-themed collection spoke of a more sophisticated focus, with the clothes ever more covetable and easier to work into your existing wardrobe (still can't get the rose gold leather shorts out of my head); it was still very much centred around a theme, though. A/W'12, however, really was all about the clothes. It was slightly grungy and slightly military, but with no central motif as such, and all the better for it. There were mannish silhouettes as models wore oversized coats with work boots and clutched leather bags under the arm; there were checks and caps and loose, slouchy trousers; there was a slightly 90s feel from boyish dungarees, tempered nicely by a crisp shirt here and an opulent finish there. It was grungy and utilitarian, but utterly modern, too. In short: I was thoroughly impressed.
Trends / Military; leather; grunge; loose, slouchy silhouettes; oversized.
Colours / Black; grey; khaki; cream; red; burnt orange.

Why I loved it / Definitely one of my favourite ever Proenza collections. Like many other designers this season, McCollough and Hernandez relied heavily on leather, but where Alexander Wang took the fabric's hard-edged connotations to the extreme, they made head-to-toe leather looks seem utterly wearable. In a fresh and colourful palette, the Proenza Schouler show played on leather's motocross roots, giving it (in quilted, patent and mesh finishes) a sporty feel. They interspersed the leather with playful embroidered pieces hinting at Chinoiserie influences, and put slouchy sweaters with shiny surfaces against asymmetric miniskirts. After each look it was impossible to predict the next, but still everything tied in together. The cherry on the cake was the furry clutches: an unexpected but inspired touch.
Trends / Leather; motocross; tough; structured; oversized; mesh; miniskirts.
Colours / Black; white; cream; orange; burgundy; navy; cobalt; aqua; gold.

Why I loved it / I've featured Rocha on my blog a few times now and she's definitely one of my favourite up-and-coming names to watch. Her simple designs - minimalist but with a standout edge - are right up my street, and A/W'12 was no exception. Rocha stuck to what she does best with a mainly black and white collection, peppered with flashes of silver and neon green. Texture as ever was where she excelled, fusing at once satin, chiffon, lace, smooth fur, feathery fringing and (hooray) plasticised finishes. Although I wasn't a fan of the flat shoes (not a heel in sight!), everything else won me over immediately.
Trends / Leather; lace; metallics; structured; fringing; fur.
Colours / Black; white; silver; dove grey; cream; neon green.

And my favourite of all...

Why I loved it / So for the second season running Mr Lim has acquired the (obviously much coveted) title of my favourite show of the season (though Proenza came a close second). He just seems to be able to read my mind: the A/W'12 collection was pure perfection. Sleek monochrome tailoring dominated the show, alongside oversized chunky ribbed knits in grey or navy, and the occasional flash of burgundy, teal or pumpkin orange. Texture was key: there were layers of sheer chiffon peeking out over skirts and unexpected coatings of fur on shoulders and sleeves, while zip details adorned to-die-for structured biker jackets and three-quarter-length trousers. The accessories were particularly perfect: bags were either soft leather clutches folded in the hand or minimalist perspex zipped pouches (obsessed with these). Shoes came in stark black, pristine white or deep molten gold, while the defining accessory was the collar: unattached, sitting aside a tailored blazer or a chunky jumper, and in clear or black perspex or shining silver. All in all: pure fashion joy.
Trends / Leather; tailoring; structured; collars; perspex; fur; belts.
Colours / Black; white; grey; teal; navy; chocolate brown; orange.

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