Monday, July 22, 2013

That Sartorial Crisp

While London's unusually blazing weather proves that summer is here to stay (for now, at least), the fashion industry is already looking to fall. Here's something that encapsulates the direction of the season... even though I wouldn't dare think about coats while my British tan is only getting tanner and tanner each day. -- Deanne xx

Fashion tends to be a wild, rambunctious circus. It is not certain who the ringmaster is – is it the designer? The media? The customers?  But everyone who takes part steps in the ring for ultimately one reason and that is to put on a show. A show that makes you as spectator either cock your head to the side and question the sanity of the designer, or look in perennial, magical awe, depending on your aesthetic sensibilities.

Seasons past have continually delivered oddities and fancies walking down the runway pushing street style to the frontier of surrealism. After all, isn’t this what the world of fashion is all about? A playground of all things unreal, imaginative, dreamlike? In a way, yes. But the line between artsy and messy is painstakingly thin that everyday fashion often steps over to the side of the latter.

And then autumn/winter 2013 happened. Thank the Fashion Heavens. The shift was so stark – yet so welcome - that my eyes had to adjust from the neon-colored, print-splattered designs to the subtler hues and cleaner lines. I may hear a collective sigh of boring and blah but dare to step into these collections that deliver calm and cool, simple and spare, elegant and easy.

The purveyors of chic minimalism took the reins: Céline’s Phoebe Philo with her creamy color palette and tailored silhouettes framed a warm winter season while Chloé’s Claire Waight Keller mixed British and Parisienne with pressed wools and tweeds dipped in navy blue. Of course, Jil Sander, slowly easing her way back into her own label, continues her mark of pared-down clothing with tight, elongated jackets and boxy leather shirts.  Even Carol Lim and Humberto Leon of Kenzo, known for their outrageous themes, gradually take on the aesthetic with a white blouse and a black midi-skirt pairing. Ah yes, the designers are clean-sweeping fashion for us!

Jil Sander makes yellow and black chic

Structured lines is the name of the game at Chloé

Purity reigns supreme at Céline 

Set this turn of fashion within the bigger social landscape. If anything, it’s a response to the need of the times, to the need for something more quiet, stable, and versatile in a world where the unnecessary and the noisy seem to forcibly grab our attention. We tend to bite back at the simple pieces and we do so because they’re difficult, but that’s where the mark of a true person of style lies - in knowing how to work with a neutral cotton coatdress and still manage to make heads turn. It’s easy, too easy to steal the spotlight with a ruffled paisley-printed mini-dress. With simplicity and minimalism, our style workings become fired up and the creative mind in us emerges.

With fashion’s inherent cycle, trends come and go but this one is as enduring as the law of gravity because it’s what pulls everything else together. The show may not be as dazzling, but pure luxury and understated elegance can never fail us. Ladies and Gentlemen, sit back and relax in the comfort of delightful purity. It’s going to be a great show.  

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