Paris Fall 2013: Dries Van Noten, Mugler, Gareth Pugh

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(PARIS) Dries Van Noten 
Layering, textures and prints were the focus for Fall at Dries Van Noten. While there were enough dark tones (variations on noir, really) Southeast Asia felt like a touchstone as well, with traditional silhouettes, a la tunic-like skirts and dresses worn over pants, and tropical floral prints. To wit: A menswear inspired navy suit was worn with a knee-length matching skirt with a floral embroidered jacket, a tiered champagne-hued dress worn over suit pants, and a blue button-down topped off with a navy, yellow, and brown striped jacket with similar embroidery and a wide-striped tunic worn over matching trou. Floral prints were also seen in pant suits; ditto for the ’70s-style tiered and flowing island-style dress, or a grey periwinkle floral coat worn over pink pants of a similar pattern. One navy tier-skirted dress worn over grey pants even came embroidered with a gekko on the shoulder. Evening wear took flight with a series of ostrich feather-adorned looks, like a flamingo pink and canary yellow ombre shift dress, or a white button down worn with a khaki feathered floor-length skirt that dusted the runway. Transported indeed! 

While Nicola Formichetti’s Fall vision for Mugler wasn’t exactly Russian-inspired, the new-age babushkas that topped the models’ têtes did give the popular theme a nod. Always sculptural and space age-y, this season’s palette was mostly pastel, with structured, big sleeved skirt suits in baby blues, yellow, peach, and pale pinks. A light blue skirt suit’s cropped jacket had a popped collar that framed the neckline; a similar look in light grey had lapels that curved like upside-down wings. A peach house coat paired with shiny navy vinyl pants casually (and quirkily) set the tone for the tougher looks. As for the ensembles with edge? A black vinyl pencil skirt suit, for example, cinched at the waist and paired with a white chapeau that lent the appearance of a flying nun’s hat, for cheeky contrast. Sumptuous pale peach fur coats came with cut outs, to reveal sensual, body-clinging matching silk dresses underneath and a strapless cocktail dress’s breast line peeled back like a blossoming flower for subtly seductive hints.

Gareth Pugh 
Arresting apparitions appeared on Gareth Pugh’s hauntingly haute runway in the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild. Even the windows at the venue were haphazardly boarded up like a haunted house, to only allow faint rays of light to peep through and highlight the wanly visaged mods, done up with coifs fallen in spidery wisps. Turn-of-the-century style full dresses in white, worn with capes and long coats, hems underlain with bristly branches that floated by. Black macabre dresses in shadowy leather, were comprised of cinched t-shirt dress on top, flared and full skirt hitting at the mid-thigh beneath. An elaborate, woven Victorian-style high collared dress had what appeared to be feathers at the shoulders and hem. In actuality? Those plumes were trash bags. Such dark and fascinating frocks were ominously paraded in an ethereal, funeral-like procession. In what looked like an homage to the departed McQueen’s unearthly spirit, more of the feathered trash bags appeared in huge full-on feathered cloak dresses, or on the hem of a long coat worn with a full skirted dress complete with a matching muff warmer. Several of these looks were worn with hats that mimicked the late designer’s honeycomb beekeeper hats. Leave it to Pugh to create something so wonderfully out of this world that familiar tropes appear completely new, revived, even. And who was that front row? The one-and-only age defying 
Cher. Speaking of otherworldly…

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