Saturday, 8 September 2012

MBFW S/S13: Alexander Wang and Cushnie et Ochs

So, New York Fashion Week is upon us (known as Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, corporate lovers). Here's what has grabbed my attention from Alexander Wang and Cushnie et Ochs for next season:

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang SS2013
[All images from].

Wang brought us separates that worked together to create a blank canvas for the wearer to either personalise or use as a barrier to the world. The stark minimalism was tempered with an edge of cut-and-paste as layers of leather and cotton shirts built up to reveal a stunning monochromatic look overall. I can definitely see those thin-strapped stilettos being fed down to the high street.

Alexander Wang SS2013

The body was either elongated with metal zips, enlarged with wide jackets or sectioned horizontally with multiple-strap black boots that diced up the legs with a precision that reminded me strangely of the anatomist Gunther von Hagens (if you've ever seen his Bodyworlds exhibition, you might recall the body sliced into thin lines). Anyway, enough of the gore - this collection was about pure minimalism and playing with proportions using graphic lines. The finale, using black light to make the white pieces glow, proved that Wang wants you to make an impact in these clothes.

Cushnie et Ochs

Cushnie et Ochs SS2013

Another show full of clean lines came from Cushnie et Ochs, a design duo whose main palette was black and white, with splashes of aqua and cobalt blue. Though the footwear was less inspiring than Wang's, it continued the trend of stripped-back shapes (and also reminded me of 90s heels, which was a little scary). Where the designers excelled was in the necklines, shoulders and decolletage, adding points of interest that made their creations suddenly stand out. That meant embroidery on what appeared to be voile, an amazing heavy shoulder addition on the aqua dress in the centre, and wave-like cut-outs on the right.

Cushnie et Ochs SS2013

Here are some more neck and shoulder details that definitely inspired me. Each one looks so crisp, like it's been cut out with crimping scissors or a scalpel, and it entirely removes the need for necklaces or earrings. Perhaps there's a risk that these dresses could end up wearing you, rather than the other way around, but I'd be willing to give it a try and find out. I'd team one of these necklines with nude lips and cobalt blue angular eyeliner, then I'd add sculptural wedges a la Alexander McQueen.

I didn't just pair these two designer reports because they seemed vaguely similar; they both have their own take on minimalism and have added memorable traits that can translate into sales. I'm looking forward to seeing creative necklines and oversize zipped shirts in the shops.

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