Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Paris Fashion Week: Oversized sleeves and capes flutter on the catwalk

It's the last of the major fashion weeks for Fall/Winter 2012 collections and Globe Style's Amy Verner is there, dispatching from all the big shows at Paris Fashion Week. Over the weekend, power fashion houses Viktor & Rolf, Jean Paul Gaulltier and Hermès presented their freshest looks

1 of 20

Designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren consistently start with classic elements and then blast proportions or twist tailoring to dramatic effect. This peaked-lapel suit, for instance, looks perfectly normal until you zoom in on the sleeves – oversized even for Jeremy Lin but created to add cape-like flare.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

2 of 20

Forget cougars: This is a fashion wolf, sheared and shaped more masterfully than the competition canines from last month’s Westminster Dog Show.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

3 of 20

And for those with an aversion to fur (or perhaps its price), here’s a black and white trompe l’oeil. It’s certainly more graphic – and will wear better – than the faux stuff. Again, the designers have enlarged the sleeves and collar. The buttons, meanwhile, are comparatively beady-eyed.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

4 of 20

Model Karlie Kloss closed the show in a period-style dress trimmed in ruffled tinsel fur, underscoring the designers’ idealistic, rather than realistic, vision.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

Story continues below advertisement

5 of 20

And then the blue moon turned to gold.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

6 of 20

Underlying the kookiness inherent to Comme Des Garçons – no, this outfit isn’t just wool felt panels stapled together – is a meticulous approach to craftsmanship. As with any other art form, only once the rules are understood can they be so eccentrically broken.

Remy de la Mauviniere / AP/Remy de la Mauviniere / AP

7 of 20

If you’re going to wear a bondage mask, it might as well be in a floral print.

Remy de la Mauviniere / AP/Remy de la Mauviniere / AP

8 of 20

Just in case you had any doubt, this look proves that designer Rei Kawakubo realizes the absurdity of her theme. Interestingly and intentionally, the juxtaposition of dress-on-dress still manages to look completely flat.

Remy de la Mauviniere / AP/Remy de la Mauviniere / AP

9 of 20

Could this really be the work of Jean Paul Gaultier, Monsieur Enfant Terrible? A leather jacket-vest combo that folds in on itself and detaches as desired is supercool, as they say, but also more indicative of a designer approaching his 60th birthday. Which is to say, talent without excess.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

10 of 20

Ah, now this is more like the Gaultier we know – an airbrushed-inspired print paired with a massive pylon-orange fur blanket. All she needs is a boom box.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

11 of 20

Tag! You’re in an It dress (worn with a three-button blazer, as if adding respectability to the graffiti).

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

12 of 20

Hermès declares a theme each year. For 2012, it’s The Gift of Time, which is widely open to interpretation as it relates to fashion. Then again, designer Christophe Lemaire did an excellent job of conveying timelessness. White shirts – with collars or with raised rounded necklines – appeared frequently.

Stephane Mahe / Reuters/Stephane Mahe / Reuters

13 of 20

At least to start, Lemaire incorporated numerous gaucho references, from belted blanket coats to roomy lather pants. But he stopped far short of literal and used a sober colour palette to underscore the rich fabrications.

Thibault Camus / AP/Thibault Camus / AP

14 of 20

A woman wearing a tie is nothing new. But the silver tie bar? Now that’s sharp.

Thibault Camus / AP/Thibault Camus / AP

15 of 20

In addition to suede sweatpants with rolled ribbed cuffs, Lemaire (who previously designed for Lacoste) expressed his sportier side with stretch panels, seen running up the side of this marigold suede dress.

Stephane Mahe / Reuters/Stephane Mahe / Reuters

16 of 20

The prints so synonymous with the luxury house inevitably find their way into the ready-to-wear collection. Here, they even appear on opaque stockings. Just do your best to make sure they don’t snag after one wear.

Thibault Camus / AP/Thibault Camus / AP

17 of 20

Fuller, jockey-style trousers also appeared at John Galliano, which is under the creative helm of Bill Gaytten, who is currently also designing for Christian Dior. Inspired by the illustrator Aubrey Beardsley, he played with ruff collar blouses, equestrian elements and caps fronted with clusters of branches.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

18 of 20

Providing a trousseau for town and country, Gaytten created day wear for “aristocratic heiresses” that often featured a one-sided cape accent, as seen here.

Jacques Brinon/Jacques Brinon / AP

19 of 20

Gaytten continued the Galliano tradition of barely there diaphanous gowns cut on the bias. His additional flourishes: diamond panelling and billowing capes.

Jacques Brinon / AP/Jacques Brinon / AP

20 of 20

And here is a boudoir version of Little Red Riding Hood. Oscar Wilde, a friend of Beardsley, famously said, “One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.” Alas, this collection was more overworked than wearable.

Jacques Brinon / AP/Jacques Brinon / AP

Report an error Editorial code of conduct