Gemma Champ looks at the hottest trends to come out of the style capital's spring/summer 2013 collections.
A fitting finish for Paris Fashion Week
It might be the last fashion week of the season, but Paris always ends things with an explosion of new looks. This season's head-to-head pitting of the newcomers - Raf Simons at Dior and Hedi Slimane at Yves Saint Laurent - seemed to have everyone heading in one of two (or sometimes both) directions: strong tailoring with a 1970s edge, à la Saint Laurent, popped up everywhere; and demure but confident, full-skirted glamour offered another side to the same story. Here's our breakdown of these and other trends in Paris this week.
Right through the season, from New York onwards, the biker jacket has been a consistent trend, bringing a tough edge even to evening wear, and Paris continued the theme. Among the strongest was Roland Mouret's bright orange cropped jacket, worn with a pencil wrap skirt, while at the Toujouri presentation, a matt-silver sequinned version made a glamorous cover-up for night-time.
The season's big story is only going to get bigger with such strong tailors now running the houses of Dior and Saint Laurent, but Jean Paul Gaultier and Hermès showed two contrasting sides of tailoring for spring/summer 2013: Gaultier's Grace Jones-inspired, curvy and powerful trouser suits were a great contrast to Christophe Lemaire's easy, oversized and masculine tailoring in light colours for Hermès.
Not always the edgiest of looks, but in Dries Van Noten's hands the application of girlish 3D flowers to skirts and coats managed to look serious, while Stuart Vevers at Loewe used leather flower appliqués on his tough blouson jackets and soft leather tees.
Black and white
With severe black absolutely the colour of the season (unusual for spring/summer), it took the ultimate monochrome contrast to lighten things up, and the results were chic in the extreme, whether on tailoring at Lanvin and Roland Mouret or the Art-Deco evening wear by Viktor & Rolf.
In a season that still holds strong minimalist tendencies, there were some designers who broke away to channel that most maximalist of countries, India. Manish Arora explored his Indian roots for the first time in years, but Andrew Gn was inspired instead by Queen Elizabeth's visit in 1961, combining rich embellishments with ultra-feminine shapes and exquisite evening wear.
However strong remains the austerity of 1980s-inspired tailoring, the popularity of the full skirt continues. Raf Simon's Dior debut saw him applying his famous stringent minimalism to the Dior classics, including long, puffed-out evening skirts. Rochas's simplified but delicately feminine dresses were like light-as-air meringues in chrysanthemum silk. Andrew Gn used matt paper silk in strong colours for easy dresses with pockets and stiffly flared skirts.
The season's love of the graphic and architectural has led to some dynamic slashes of colour, cut or volume running diagonally across the body. Anne-Valérie Hash is well known for her oblique cuts on jackets and dresses, as well as that famous twist of fabric on her trousers, while Andrew Gn's stole collars added dramatic lines. Roland Mouret used his origami-folding and tailoring to create structured black-and-white outfits that almost looked like they were made from paper cutouts.
Another of the trends appearing right across the season, pleats have been used on everything from long Lurex evening skirts at Viktor & Rolf to neatly tailored box pleats and asymmetrical pleat dresses at Dior. Of course, they appeared at the house most strongly self-identified with pleats, Issey Miyake, brilliantly articulated in black, white and vibrant colour.
A micro-trend that has been creeping along for a couple of seasons, paisley patterns were a significant motif for Andrew Gn, beaded on to evening wear and demure day dresses. Bruno Frisoni at Roger Vivier used an almost abstract paisley motif for his shoes and bags, all worked in tiny square sequins or printed on canvas.
A brilliant way to pick up the season's trends in the heat of a Middle Eastern summer, the flowing, chiffon kaftan, overdress or gown looked especially lovely used with almost grungy nonchalance at Dries Van Noten. Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent, meanwhile, used long, chiffon abaya-like gowns to soften his edgy tailoring, with everything from dense but delicate leopard-print to a finale consisting entirely of long, flowing dresses with matching or contrasting cover-ups.
Running alongside the craze for all things metallic is a movement towards the iridescent, with fantastical pearly organza and sequins creating an oyster-shell effect at Anne-Valérie Hash. Peter Copping's tougher-than-usual take on Nina Ricci's romanticism still made room for iridescent treatment on pretty tweed suits.