Paris Fashion Week Fall 2012-Winter 2013 Highlights | Day 8 (Part 1)

Love him, hate him, but no one can deny that Karl Lagerfeld is a one-man seismic talent. Season after season he manages to re-energize Chanel as if his life depended on it. This creative lifeline is perhaps one of the most sought-after moments in the global fashion week cycle, if not, at least, one of its most noticed. This season, Czech cubism combined with the masterful embroideries of Lesage in the presentation of a whopping 67 looks of pure Chanel magic (68 looks, if you count the toddler Hudson Kroenig). Following his last couture presentation that played in and around the color blue, this season looked monochromatic at first glance due to its muted palette, thought many colors were present.

Agnès B.’s latest show was a bohemian rhapsody for the low-key bourgeois. Her clothes are always cut with that understated Parisian everyday feel. This season she opted for a little more disheveled look… though still polite. Shearling coats in Paris were a staple in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and were the go-to fur garment for Frenchmen who called them “Canadiennes” (guess the Canadians popularized the garment). This season, Agnès B. introduced shearling throughout its collection to complement the somewhat mid-season sportswear. The look wasn’t Bo-Ho chic in the least, rather a quirky but elegant twist to the everyday look.

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac is experiencing a Renaissance of sorts. This comic-book/popular culture aficionado did the graphic thing before anyone, did the pop thing before anyone, did the “Oh no he didn’t” thing before anyone. Mr. de Castelbajac is a kid at heart but also a very good tailor at that. His cuts are impeccable, his color sense mature and his approach always within measures. This season he channeled Iceland’s duality of iced tundra and mercurial volcanoes with a beautifully assorted collection in black, yellow, red and blue.

With all the hoopla about the new Thierry Mugler label, it is surprising that no one in the international press ever mentioned Hakaan Yildirim for the design director job. His latest collection would make the best calling card for the job. There were enough reverential touches to the Thierry Mugler and Claude Montana collections of the early 80’s, though, without ever looking like copies or appearing vintage. The Hakaan collection was utterly fresh and modern… and will put this new-ish name in Paris at the top of the fashon pyramid.

Are we experiencing an Italian awakening? Seriously, what is it with Italian designers this season and black leather? Valentino, the usually demure and coquettish label is looking super sleek and hard-edged this season with looks that are crafted with a built-in attitude. Of course, being Valentino there was the trademark red, some white to soften-up the line, and touches of rose and praline. Our favorite pieces, besides the evening gowns, were the broadtails that looked like silk from afar. We just love beautiful clothes.

There is always something funky about Junko Shimada’s collections. This time the line-up read like a film with a custom-wardrobe that belonged in a reality show and/or on a sitcom character. The color, fun trims, gloss, and unusual juxtapositions cetainly provided enough drama to excite the senses. Fur details were everywhere down to the accessories (handbag and footwear). This type of sportswear defied the American approach with pieces that look sporty but are in actuality much more worked to look and feel like a second skin.

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