My main reason for coming to Paris this week was to work on an exciting collaboration with Cartier. I didn’t attend many shows the first few days, but I’ve been catching up via showroom re-sees – which is almost just as fun as the shows because I get to see the ready-to-wear, bags, and shoes up-close and personal. Paris Fashion Week is always a mixed bag of chic surprises and brilliant takes on femininity, and Spring 2014 is no exception.
At Balmain, wunderkind Olivier Rousteing unveiled late-eighties and early-nineties denim redux. The Balmain girl is a little more covered up this season (flared skirts struck just above the knee), but that doesn’t mean she’s gone soft. This is denim and silky-thin leather done up every which way: quilted for volume and tricked out with ghetto-gone-glamorous gold chains, silver chain-mail, and elements of sheerness and lace. The standout motif: graphic and oversized houndstooth (the prettiest houndstooth of the season!). Rousteing was going for “realer” clothes you can wear during the day, and the sportiness (coveralls included) translates to less of the Vegas-inspired razzle-dazzle we’ve come to expect but an equally strong statement.
No blurred lines at Roland Mouret! My favorite dressmaker proves he’s one to contend with in the shoe and bag department. The mood of the collection is upbeat and gutsy: bold blocks of amplified pastels and lots of mint-turquoise and hot-pink hues worthy of a retro South Beach palette. Body-conscious dresses and jackets with New Wave-era edge laid the foundation for beautifully sculptural hand-melded clutches – some gigantic – and statement day bags. With some of the chicest shoes I’ve ever seen (unapologetic straps and lines for major statement pumps and flats), you’ll want to go head-to-toe in RM, pronto. Because who doesn’t want to look simultaneously flirty, fun, confident, and deeply chic?
As for a favorite relative newcomer, Maiyet won me over. Love their bags? Get ready to obsess over their fluid and pretty ready-to-wear. From the smart shirt-dresses, little jackets, and breezy-sheer dresses for day and night to the belly-button-baring crop-top and capri-pant combos (they plead to be taken on a tropical getaway, or at least be worn in the company of tropical cocktails) all exude enviable casual ease. Founder Kristy Caylor proves their strong suite, however, is their way with bags. Just bold enough to make a statement and still be carried everyday if you want, they are delightfully structured, particularly against the softness of the ready-to-wear. Maiyet isn’t alone. This is a juxtaposing combination on many runways that has set the tone for Spring 2014.