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Piecing Together Trends

By Lea Piazas

This spring is all about patched together pieces. Designers all over the world are mixing different fabrics and textures to create quirky,chic patchwork collections. Fashion houses in New York, London, Paris, and Milan have developed beautiful collages for many of their lines - Proenza Schouler, Paul Smith, Rodarte, Alexander McQueen, Fendi, and Derek Lam.

Jack McCullough and Larazo Hernandez of Proenza Schouler built their spring/summer line on a structured patchwork look. The line’s opening look incorporated a chartreuse vest accented with reptile textured paneling and collar and a detailed leather skirt coordinating the outfit. The designer duo took basics and intensified them with exotic textiles, bonding leather to jersey and applying laser cutting.

English designer Paul Smith took a more subdued approach to the trend. He contrasted muted hues with bold patches of fabric in chic boyish silhouettes. He added touches of lace and flowing skirt lines, which gave the look a feminine edge. Smith envisioned “clothes that are easy to put in your own wardrobe and match with stuff you already owned” in his effortlessly androgynous collection.

Rodarte designers and sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy mixed lace, silk, and woven jacquard with leather, macramé, and metal to create a beautifully feminine but edgy collection. The line began with a mix of jacquard and silk dresses in light, fresh colors. The sisters then took a turn for the dark side in metallic and silk dresses detailed with metal and fringed leather jackets. The team was definitely out to make a statement and, according to Vogue’s Calgary Avansino, the line was a success. “The workmanship was exquisite and the fabrics were over the top, as usual,” said Avansino.

Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen approached the collage trend in a unique fashion. “It was bringing back the silhouette of the house and embracing the female form - the hip and bust. But there was a lightness to it. It still felt erotic but not overt,” said Burton about her collection inspired by the idea of women as “working bees.” Burton literally incorporated bees by creating beautifully executed patchworks of honeycomb-inspired pieces.

Fendi’s spring/summer 2013 was an explosion of bold shapes and luxurious fabric combinations. The extravagant fashion house took patchwork to another level with layered lengths and proportions, cutouts, and paneled jackets with a chic, utilitarian sensibility. The line incorporated collaging in an architectural and graphic way, as well as adding twists and curves to create a shaping contrast. The line’s luxe fabric mixed summer fur and leather in bold and neutral colors, to make the pieces pop. The accessories tied the line together, with architectural bags and studded heels of multilayered leather.

Avansino described Derek Lam’s line as “a surprisingly autumn collection...but perfect for London.” Lam pulled off the muted tones in his line with splashes of bright blue and yellow. Textures such as lustrous tweed, quilted jersey, and macramé with knitted detailing were fused together to create beautifully collaged looks. Leather was mixed with different fabrics throughout the collection.

2013’s spring is all about mixing things up. Designers are layering, fusing fabrics, and interchanging colors and textiles, using technological advances to create something new.

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