A good piece will sell itself to you on looks alone, a splendid piece will sell itself on reputation. How many times have you watched a celebrity sashay down the red carpet and wondered what the heck they were thinking? Fashion isn’t meant to be conventional, or even beautiful. Sometimes it’s meant to startle, to elicit emotions, to challenge the way you think about yourself and the world around you. But none of this is possible without the creative genius behind the designs. Fashion designers sometimes feel like they’re a dime a dozen these days. Anyone can design, but not everyone can execute, and that’s the difference. Until the sketch weaves its way into fabric, it’s just a sketch. I thought it would be fun to pay homage to some of the most exciting designers of the summer 2013 season. So let’s put a face to a label, and see who is dressing the best this year:
Founded by Basque born Cristóbal Balenciaga, the first Balenciaga shop opened in San Sebastien in 1918. Cristóbal’s earliest designs were deliciously feminine, robust and a direct reflection of passionate Spanish culture. He was once referred to as the “master of us all” by none other than fashion mega house, Christian Dior. You know you’ve made it when! And if Dior’s testament to Balenciaga’s skill wasn’t enough, the protege’s that spurned from this fashion house are some of the most influential in the world. Givenchy, Emanuel Ungaro and Oscar de la Renta were all students of Balenciaga at the infancy of their careers! This summer 2013 season, with Nicolas Ghesquière at the helm, the line-up included flamenco-style ruffled designs, cropped Spanish inspired tops with signature criss-cross detailing, and ultra feminine bubble skirts.
2) Jil Sander
This minimalist inspired German born designer has been dressing us since the late 1960’s. She opened her first boutique in 1968, and after wearing a number of hats within the fashion industry including editing a German fashion publication, Jil settled down to do what she did best, make us all look like uber chic Europeanized super models. Famous for her impeccably cut pantsuits and exquisitely tailored blouses, Sander’s earned herself a reputation as a ‘best dressed over 50’ by the Guardian in March of this year. After an eight year long haitus from designing, she made a celebrated return with a collection of deconstructed sweaters, smock dresses, sleeveless vests and feminine yet mature school uniform-inspired designs.
3) Veronique Branquinho
A relatively fresh faced to the world of fashion, Belgian born designer Veronique Branquinho first came to the seem in the mid 2000’s with a fantastic men’s collection. This season, she brought us a little taste of glamor with a collection of flowy, goddess-like designs that would make any of us feel like we should be moving to Mount Olympus. Gold’s and tawny browns were a plenty, and with a twist of minimalism, her designs are distinctly European.
4) Yvest Saint Laurent
Just saying the name makes you feel you’ve been dipped in perfect opulence. Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint Laurent (try saying that three times fast!) is one of the most celebrated names in the history of fashion and was once regarded as the most “consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty-five years.” Not only was is it masterful design that brought him fame, it was his willingness to blur racial lines and incorporate non-white models into his work, unlike many of his colleagues at the time. Sadly, we lost Yves back in 2008, but the label gained Hedi Slimane, the director for Dior from 2000-2007. Hedi built on Yves celebrated classics and brought a flavor of his own this season.
5) Simone Rocha
She’s so hot and new, Wikipedia hasn’t even had a chance to do up an article about her. This 26 year old creative genius was the talk of London Fashion week, and to this day, tongues are still wagging about her phenomenal show. So what’s all the hype about? It’s her experimental designs and ultra unique fabric techniques that have earned this designer her stripes. Her summer collection features tweed floral skirts, and meticulously embroidered silk organza jackets. She isn’t afraid to take risks, and I for one am excited about the possibilities for this new designer!