Best in shows: our favourite S/S 2013 collections revisit the cool minimalism of 1990s Sander and Lang
Miuccia Prada reveals her slightly askew vision of bourgeois dressing, with a pencil skirt and crushed silk top paired with a mink coat that first glance looks like it’s a relic from Granny’s closet. Then you the ink-stain floral and voila, bad girl extraordinaire!
Fur coat, price on request; top, £420; skirt, £420, all by Miu Miu. Shoes, £245, by Church’s. Socks, £35, by Bresciani
Photography: René Habermacher; Fashion director: Isabelle Kountoure; Women's fashion: Ursula Geisselmann; Men's fashion: Mathew Stevenson-Wright
Oh, to be the respectable dandy. Not the over-the-top clown, but suavest, most comfortable dresser in the room, the man who has no problem wearing an apricot-coloured jacket and tapered trousers. The go-to designer for outfitting this confident peacock is Paul Smith, who is, without a doubt, a magnificent menswear cutter.
Jacket, £625; jumper, £225; shirt, £219; trousers, £300; shoes, £275, all by Paul Smith. Socks, from a selection, by Falke, Roll neck (just seen), stylist’s own
When Giorgio Armani nails a menswear collection in Milan, he really nails it. The coolness of his Emporio show, rooted in the designer’s signature neutrals and beautiful fabrications, was undeniable. This was a collection that should give most men reason to stop whining and go shopping next season.
Blazer, £635; T-shirt, from a selection; shirt, £185; shorts, £155, all by Emporio Armani
Not so long ago, the Ferragamo woman was shackled in a bouffant, sensible heels and plaid jacket. In just a few key seasons, creative director Massimiliano Giornetti has transformed that caged-up woman into an adventurous dresser who dives into altogether slinkier combinations.
Top, £649; skirt, £6,019, both by Salvatore Ferragamo
When you outfit millions of women for the no-nonsense world of work, not falling into a sartorial slumber is no easy feat. But this season, the designers at MaxMara were eyes-wide-open, dreaming up office-ready clothing that was kicked into the fashion big league thanks to subtle military-safari details. The desk-friendly pencil skirt (a wardrobe workhorse for the working girl) made its move with boxy tops, tricked out with safari pockets and shoulder loops.
Jacket; skirt, both price on request, by MaxMara
Relatively speaking, this Raf Simons shirt looks normal. Sure, it’s got a rather witchy-looking pointed collar and is working a subtle baby blue and white colour-blocking scheme. But that’s peanuts compared with the rest of Simons’ collection, which proposed floral effects for men and shorts with kilt-like slits skimming the edges. That’s the beauty of Simons’ menswear: it works in a myriad of ways – some logical, some not, but all of it truly engaging from a design standpoint.
Shirt, €251, by Raf Simons
For fashion lovers, the expectation that preceded Raf Simons’ debut women’s ready-to-wear collection at Dior were stratospheric. And the outing had everyone bouncing with zero-gravity glee over the designer’s newly cool vision for the Parisian maison. Injecting his rigorous design principles into the house’s signature bar jackets, Simons replaced frills with straight lines, using architectural pleating and layering of sheer techno-coloured veils to add a pop of modernism.
Dress, £4,320; net veil, £190, both by Dior
For four years, the Italian designer Marco Zanini has been patiently toiling away at the Parisian house of Rochas. Zanini is not a grandstander and he doesn’t need to be. His beautifully crafted clothes stand on their own. This season his love of traditional ladies’ accoutrements came out loud and clear with bras and knickers in seamed satin that gleamed expensively.
Satin bra, £1,341; satin knickers, £442; knitted knickers, £438, all by Rochas, from Matches
No one in a million years could have imagined that track pants would ever be this exciting. That is, of course, until Miuccia Prada took the 1970s vertical stripes and put them on the inside legs of wool slacks and crisp business jackets. The cool contrast shades made for one of the more subtle, yet spectacular, design motifs of the season. Just wait until spring when they are bound to pop up on every snappy dresser you know and then knocked off everywhere you look. Mark our words.
Jacket, £1,130; shirt, £535; trousers, £435, all by Prada. Roll neck, stylist’s own
American designer Rick Owens has a very deft way of knocking down the more banal question of ‘Who’s going to wear this?’, preferring to pave new roads for fashion to travel down. Although he’s best known for his cocoon-like womenswear and second-skin leather jackets, his men’s collection continues to set the standard of what’s new now in fashion.
Jacket, $1,986; leather top, $2,260; shorts, $1,060, all by Rick Owens
Céline creative director Phoebe Philo has redefined the working woman’s wardrobe over the last few seasons. In this collection there was a new lightness, flow and feminine flourish among the assured tailoring. There were also understated witticisms – from the dishevelled, slightly off-kilter silhouettes to the rolled leather ‘paper’ lunch bags and Birkenstock-ish flat sandals lined in luxurious mink fur. It’s all so wrong, it’s right.
Top; skirt, both price on request, by Céline
Maison Martin Margiela
It’s never a shock to see everything turned upside down at a Margiela show, but among the runway high jinx, the house always delivers a few pieces that shock in their quiet elegance. Take this bustier top and wide-leg trousers with their sheer pockets exhibiting just a whisper of coolness. In today’s more is more world, sometimes the subtle stuff is the most jaw-dropping.
Top, £450; trousers, £556, both by Maison Martin Margiela
In the able hands of creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, lace or chiffon gowns can swing just as easily from ladylike to lethal. And the smart application of a small metal stud, which has been their greatest trick over the past few years, has now become a house signature, adding a touch of punk to the well-mannered women who wear them.
Coat, £4,705; shirt, £710; slip (worn underneath), £1,030; skirt, £1,030; shoes, from £710, all by Valentino. Socks, €13, by Fogal
It may seem easy to make minimal fashion look good, but as any minimalist will tell you, nothing is trickier than taking things away. Italo Zucchelli, creative director of Calvin Klein menswear, however, manages to make it all look easy. His tested formula of simple sportswear realised in a bevy of hot, techno fabrics makes his shows stand out.
Jacket, £600; T-shirt, £120; trousers, £287, all by Calvin Klein Collection
Jil Sander, the woman and founder of this beloved label, is back. And all that time she spent pruning her roses has clearly kept her precision cutting skills sharp. The spring/summer collection was an ode to all things Sander-esque, that is, pared down and razor-edged: neat collars, perfectly cut jackets and very attractive looking Bermuda shorts that ballooned with new, gotta-have-it volume.
Jacket, €810; shirt, €260, both by Jil Sander
Riccardo Tisci hit a double homer this season, knocking both his menswear and womenswear right out of the park. Not every designer can swing so deftly between the sexes, but Tisci is uniquely sure-handed. In both cases, something lighter was afoot in his pared-down, almost clerical-looking aesthetic. Stripped of the usual goth glam, Tisci jumped into an Easter basket of fresh pastels, where sweet shades softened his sharp tailoring, couture fabrics and hard accessories.
He wears jacket; shirt; trousers, all price on request; she wears jacket, €1,900; shirt, €980; trousers, €640; necklace, price on request, all by Givenchy