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Paris Fashion Week Fall 2012-Winter 2013 Highlights | Day 8 (Part 2)

We really like Manish Arora’s work at Paco Rabanne. We are appreciating the way he tackles the founder’s codes, makes an effort to bring them back, yet, doesn’t make carbon copies of established looks.  He instead looks at the fashion styles around him (What Would Paco Rabanne Do?). This season, Mr. Arora is looking to prove that Paco Rabanne can produce distinct clothes that and are both innovative and wearable. He chose leather, chain-mail, and a selection of interesting textiles – some even had metallic sheens. This collection is really part of a greater set-up; last season was the introduction, this season is the presentation, next season will surely be the new Paco Rabanne.

What do you get when a Taiwanese-Chinese designer channels Chinese sartorial vernacular? Surely not Chinoiserie! Shiatzy Chen did just that with a collection that looked East, yet managed to deliver its own unique style. The Shiatzy Chen aesthetic is definitely not ‘Western’, it favors Chinese trends and color choices, but unlike other Chinese contemporaries, this label knows when to tone it down a bit to elevate its status as a luxe label. As expected,  the entire collection was peppered  with fur accents and a multitude of length, texture and colors.

Paul & Joe is settling rather well in its newly found femininity; let’s not forget that that label began really as menswear, one so successful that a fair share of female clients began ‘sporting the pants’ so to speak. This collection couldn’t have been more feminine, but it also kept that no-nonsense easiness that is both a Paul & Joe trademark and Sophie Albou’s design sensibility. The line-up evoked an autumnal stroll through the English countryside. There were tweeds of course, Liberty of London style floral prints, great coats and trenches. The easy styling looked appropriate and honest for this sportswear label. The fur pieces were the showstoppers. Red fox is perfect for fall!

The King may have passed on, but long live the Queen… long live McQueen! Sarah Burton will undoubtedly be logged in the annals of fashion history soon. She is what so many designers should aspire to be: equal part tailor, artistic director, and fashion visionary. The Alexander McQueen look is both directional and classic (just break down the looks and you’ll be amazed how wearable the pieces can be). This season the inspiration was “Optimism” in the designer’s words (more likely optimism in the theatrical sense?!?). The looks still possessed that 16th century flavor so dear to the label and some of that cyber vibe, but this time, the paralleled misogyny of collections past was entirely absent. The virtuoso work in fur and feathers is something everybody should see first hand. It is spectacular!

Very few re-energized labels show more than one collection during Fashion Week, much less  entirely different collections in different cities. We saw Moncler ice-skating in New York’s Central Park a few weeks ago, and now Moncler Gamme Rouge in Paris. Seriously, this label is so cool! How do they come up with so many variations on the  parka and still manage to keep everything so fresh with each collection? Whereas the New York presentation was more “Fun”, the Paris line-up was more “Serious” in that it was a full-on fashion show, albeit with a little 1960’s flair. New for  this show was the luggage and other accessories. Seriously, Moncler isn’t a mere label anymore, it is a lifestyle. It taps on the current trend to dress warm and light and delivers ski-gear for chic civilians. This explains the beautifully crafted parkas in lovely stenciled prints trimmed in lots of fur.

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