Between London, Paris, and Milan, there was a whirlwind of denim to keep up with, but we’re making it easy for you by sharing our top 10 favorite denim collections. From Balenciaga’s broken front row bench (Anna Wintour had to stand!) , Gareth Pugh’s models in caged dresses, and Alexander McQueen’s use of lace head pieces,Spring 2012 European Fashion Weeks took more risks, exuded romance and signaled a return to the art behind couture that industry faves like Prabal Gurung craves so much. Designers are taking chances and we like what we’re seeing (well not all of it but that’s the point of this post isn’t it?).
In London, we love Henry Holland’s cloud-like look of bleach splatters on the high-waisted skinny jeans (also shown in another color scheme of peaches and cream). The color palette is pastel but with an edge, as the colors aren’t dulled down but rather pop out. The lavender high-waisted skinny jeans come with an almost animal-like printed spot on them, which have a much more nighttime feel than the bleached jeans.
Marques’Almeida certainly stood out during LFW, if that was even possible. Their take on frayed and ripped jeans and repurposed denim—in this case jeans that look like a DIY project gone out of control—is both visually interesting and creative. The creations exude a tribal nature while exerting a sense of raw rebellion. We hesitate to think the collection is actually wearable, but we give kudos for this entry into the substantial use of denim in a collection.
Paris Fashion Week definitely had a denim fest worth crushing over. Balmain took coated denim to a new level of class by pairing it with light-wash denim for a pantsuit as well as a futuristic denim mini dress that we absolutely fell in love with! We mean after all, if the world is ending in 2012, this is what we want to be wearing!
Isabel Marant was all over the place (in a good way) at PFW with patchwork denim, more bleached denim, and even a scribble print pair of skinny jeans. When you want the comfort of denim but want to take a chance that a pair of blue jeans just can’t give you, look here.
Keeping the ethnic and tribal print trend going strong, Paul & Joe brought a luxe version of the American South West to Paris mixing sheer lurex knits and metallic leather jeans in gold and bronze with bright silk ikat separates. This collection also marks the revival of hippie-chic embroidered jeans and handbags. Get into it because this is definitely the new take on bohemian style!
A decidedly architectural collection with exaggerated shoulders and bold proportions, Balenciaga‘s jeans for women were marked by frontal pleats and a cinched-waist; a method to exaggerate a woman’s slim waistline. A nod to the classic denim jacket, a satiny, over-sized re-interpretation in color blocks is embedded into the collection.
While Milan Fashion Week seemed to be marked by opulence, retro silhouettes and a return to couture, denim collections seemed to be conceived from another planet (save D&G‘s colorful handkerchief prints pieced with denim). The Dsquared2 collection for next season looks playfully urban chic. We love the pompom finish on the denim shorts, as well as the dip-dye boot cut jeans—looking dirty never looked so good!
Leave it to D&G to make foulard look so sexy! The whole collection centers on the print used as everything from killer shoes to blouses with denim details like pockets and full-on sleeves, to gorgeous summer evening dresses. This is the great au revoir to D&G as it will be combined with the Dolce & Gabbana brand after this season.
Also at MFW, the Bottega Veneta Men’s Collection combined leather and denim for a completely hot look, although we do have to say that we’d like to see those pieces as separates. We like the denim on denim style here also, which we think really only works thanks to the dark wash and minimalist detailing. The real eye-catcher was the tye-dye denim pants that almost look spray painted on. We love it on the runway but aren’t sure how well these would work in the real world.
In contrast to Roberto Cavalli‘s golden flapper dresses and couture detailing, his more casual Just Cavalli collection presented leather and metallic jeans styled in a Euro-Boho ensemble. There was some heavy-handed embroidery and pocket detailing, but the denim peasant blouse was one of the few separates we felt was worth a second look. The entire collection boldly displays some of the season’s hottest trends: python patterns and metallic jeans.
Images via Style.com.
While the Spring 2012 Fashion Weeks had some great looks, we hope designers such as Alber Elbaz, Hussein Chalayan, Stella McCartney and even Rick Owens will lend back their talents and generate new buzz for women’s denim. The relaunch of Kenzo in Paris, by the newly-appointed Creative Directors, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim (Co-Founders of Opening Ceremony) who garnered rave reviews for their colorful fishnet print collection, showed creations which could easily be reinterpreted into denim. We know designers are inspired by denim, so we hope we get to see the actual textile play a more dominant role next season.
—Elyssa Linden, Kathy Ng Hassan & Sandoval Gomez
Tags: Bottega Veneta, coated denim, D&G, Denim Menswear, denim shorts, dip dye denim, Dsquared, foulard prints, Henry Holland, high-waisted jeans, ikat prints, Isabel Marant, Just Cavalli, London Fashion Week, metallic jeans, Milan Fashion Week, patchwork denim, Roberto Cavalli, silk ikat separates, skinny jeans
What’s black and white and gray all over? That would be Dolce & Gabbana, Emporio Armani and Gucci‘s Spring-Summer 2012 menswear collection. For Milan Fashion Week, there were liberal amounts of gray separates and suiting, but brands didn’t really feature a lot of denim. As for D&G, that’s an entirely different story. We weren’t sure we loved it or hated it, but it was certainly visually appealing: denim for men was found throughout D&G SS2012 as a sort of trim: the waistbands of jeans were cut out and sewn into silk or linen shorts; silk scarf fabric was sewn into a chambray shirt and vice versa; and sometimes all three fabrics seemed to meld together in a seamless mashup of textile orgy. Check out the gallery for detailed features from D&G and DSquared2.
D&G (left) sews jeans waistbands to various fabrics for SS2012, while Moshino goes retro and Rockabilly.
Dsquared2 was among the few fashion labels to retain bright colors in their collection for the season, while a great number of brands signaled their return to neutrals and muted tones in Milan. In Paris, that was a different story! Even as patterned suiting is returning in a big way, fashion brands seem to use denim as merely a backdrop in SS2012. Prada took a page out of Lily Pulitzer’s spring sketchbook all while going golf resort-chic, while others like Burberry Prorsum, Bottega Veneta and DSquared2 channeled the seaside dock worker, complete with pea coats, woven tams and newsboy caps. In Milan, no other fashion label showcased denim like D&G this season. It’s a shame that many fashion houses still think that denim does not belong on the runway. What brand do you think should have made denim a bigger deal in their SS2012 collection?
For more menswear fashion shows, check out our coverage of Bottega Veneta SS2012 and Burberry Prorsum SS2012. All images via GQ Magazine UK. Stay tuned for our Menswear Denim Roundup Part 2 next week!
—Kathy Ng Hassan
Tags: D&G, Denim Menswear, Dolce & Gabanna, Dsquared2, Gucci, Menswear @@2012, Milan Fashion Week, Moschino