Saturday, October 5, 2013

Doll's Eye View: Paris Spring '14 Revised Classics

Not everything shown on a Paris catwalk is avant-garde fashion. While many designers strive to capture front page news with their designs, most do what comes natural....making beautiful clothes that flatter the woman. In fact, what the French houses (and those foreigners who aligned themselves with this market) do best are classic styles with a fresh new twist that remains quintessentially feminine. In this, the last of our Doll's Eye View for Spring Summer 2014 Trends, we present the best of what we saw in Paris last week, quite naturally.... from the not-so-humble perspective of our 12-inch fashionistas.

FADE TO BLACK
In a word, this is about timeless fashion. Whether for day or for night, the "little black dress," goes everywhere. Simple to make, chic for all ages and eras, the simple sheath dress looks particularly new when pulled in at the waist with a wide, waist cinching belt. At night, our dolls slip into a whisper of Chantilly lace, cut into curvy dresses that show off the body.

SO PRETTY
When we would invite designers into the classroom for the Designer Critic sessions, the one resounding characteristic of French style communicated to our students was....FEMININITY. Paris loves to surprise, but this underlying element makes style a giddy, girly-girl experience. Think fitted bodice, pinched at the waist over a flared, gathered or even pleated skirt.

 SHORT CAKES
Yes, let us remember that, in spite of the fact it is October, we are looking at next Spring and SUMMER fashion trends. Let us assume that somewhere on this earth it will be hot and that your dolls WILL want to wear something really cool. Let's talk shorts. There's nothing to making a pair of short. What she wears on top is totally at your discretion. Keep it easy, breezy or cover her up a bit. We like the city tops with sleeves that can be just as easily paired with a skirt as it can with shorts. 
 
BASIC BLOCKS

The color blocking trend, which started last spring, continues on. While the silhouettes themselves are pretty easy to make, putting these looks together means cutting the design or pattern piece in white or black, then reassembling them like an old-fashioned jigsaw puzzle. The take-away here is to think back to the kicky "Mod" styles of the 1960's but give them a bit of a twist to ground them into the current decade.
 
VARIATIONS OF A THEME  JACKET
And so, you think a suit is simply a jacket and skirt/pants? Think again. Take a look at the options in this tableau. You can start with a classic, hip-length, double breasted jacket over trousers like the one at Balmain, a super long blazer over micro mini skirt at Chanel, or a longer, curvier version emulating the "New Look" introduced by Dior in the late 1940's. But why stop there. Have some fun with the dimensions, proportions or even the placement of the jacket's elements as seen through the prisms of avant-gardists, Victor & Rolf or Yohji Yamamoto.


 
 
 
 
 




















We could not pass up recreating a mini-version of the classic power suit designed by Balmain. It is a short (cut just above the top of the hips) double breasted jacket with patch pockets.
 
Once we finished that one, the temptation was too great to then attempt the blazer as redesigned by iconic Japanese designer, Yohji Yamamoto. This starts with a curvy jacket with over-sized pockets and sleeves that fall away from the shoulders. It was a bit of a challenge, however when finished, it is quite a little marvel to look at. Note: we'll be doing an exercise on creating suit jackets, shortly so you can get in on the fun.

JEANS POOL

These are not exactly your mother's denim gear. The designers take blue jeans to the next (creative) level. We love the jean bustier with metallic jean zips wrapping horizontally around the body. We also like the surface treated blazer by Barbara Bui. The key word here is TEXTURE!

In an earlier post, we found a square of embroidered silk tulle that we made into a tunic dress. Here, we took that tunic, added a long piece of sheer black fabric at the hemline, then paired it with wide jeans. We also loved the idea of denim with a painted design by Barbara Bui. Here, Melissa wears a denim (sheath) dress made from a pocket taken off a pair of men's jeans. We traced part of a design taken from an Art Nouveau poster with blue marker, then painted in the negative space in a slightly darker tone.
 
SKIN FLICKS
There's nothing more classic or edgy than black leather. Worn in touches or as an overall look, designers had fun, treating it like any other fabric, cut in simple, bold silhouettes.
 
FRINGE BENEFITS
There's not so much bling on the catwalks these days. Replacing twinkle-twinkle is fringe! It accentuates the movement of the body and adds an overall drama to an otherwise nondescript silhouette. Here the designers played with direction and length.
We loved Jean Paul Gaultier so much, we could not resist doing a doll-version of this very sexy dress. To make matters easy, I used a matte stretch vinyl fabric which gives the illusion of leather. You will need a special machine needle to sew this, as I discovered. (I ended up sewing this dress by hand!) It is a 2-piece dress consisting of a one-shouldered top over a wrap skirt. I added rows of fringe (the same fabric cut into slivers). Okay, so it won't sashay around her thighs like the model behind her, but it still adds a very sexy edge to an already hot look.

IT'S A WRAP!
What could be easier? The wrap coat is back with a vengeance. The simplicity of this style gets all jazzed up when you choose a floral, op-art or even leather.
 
SWAN SONG
The night time version of our "So Pretty" theme, soft, filmy fabics and lace make for an elegant and graceful look. What's new for next spring in this category is the coat-dress ensemble. A look that takes us back to the early 1960's Jackie Kennedy era, the coat and dress shown here by Nina Ricci, are conceived as a total look (as opposed to a separate coat tossed over her shoulders.)

SILVERADO
We don't see so many beads and rhinestones. On the contrary, fashions continue to shine on in shiny, metallic fabrics. Our girl, Joy (third from the left) mimics Lanvin's sterling 2-piece dress. Hers is cut from silver leather which she wears with a necklace made from a bit of pie-tin. Again, silhouettes are super simple.

GOLD STANDARD
Well, some people REALLY cannot help themselves. Though there is precious few of these golden looks forecasted for next summer, the one we saw were stand-outs. Look for lame. Or better yet, chain-mail.. 1960's revisited.
 
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