Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Transparently Sporty

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Transparently Sporty

Article excerpt

Stella McCartney said her summer 2013 wasn't really about her involvement in the London 2012 Olympics.

Surely Stella McCartney must have been reliving the dynamic part she played in the London 2012 Olympics as she created her show of mesh dresses, knife-sharp pleats and vibrant sports colors like orange and grass green?

Backstage, in the furor of her friends (that's Kate Moss and Co.) and family (as in her father Paul McCartney) the designer pondered the Olympics question.

"It was not something that was in the forefront of mind of the collection. I always have the conversation between a man and a woman and the fragility of that," said Ms. McCartney, giving a deeper meaning to her mannish 1980s jackets belted low and to the floral dresses that appeared later to suggest a feminine side.

But the show's strengths were in the perforated fabrics, which gave an airy effect, right down to the uppers of thick, transparent platform shoes. The collection felt polished and hyper-modern.

The energy was increased by diametric lines, and a dress of brightly colored pleats, set inside a white frame. And even if Ms. McCartney was not admitting to a sporty tunnel vision, she significantly left out of her collection the long dresses that have recently had a success on that most demanding of runways: the red carpet.

Giambattista Valli's woman stepped nearer to her man this season. The look was tailored and masculine, as in white shorts elongated to a jumpsuit or the relatively severe jackets that had replaced the designer's more decorative style.

"It's good to be contemporary -- and she's a confident woman," said Mr. Valli, putting that statement to the test by baring a woman's legs, if not her soul.

Floating white veils replaced skirts, with chunky underpants keeping things decent. The effect was of an X-ray -- as though the women were walking out with a revelation of femininity that was more an idea than a reality. …

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