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Look To The Orient: SS13 Oriental Trend

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Summer is a time of adventure and travel and this season is no exception. Designers took us on an exciting voyage to the East for SS13 to pay homage to the architectural silhouettes, luxurious fabrics and traditional decoration of the Orient.

Archetypal Oriental influences have been reinterpreted in a Western aesthetic this season, mirroring the growing impact of the Eastern market on fashion. From overt statements at Prada and Emilio Pucci, to subtle hints of Eastern promise at Haider Ackermann and Ports 1961, the Orient is a fashion focal point for SS13.

Prada was a key player in the Oriental trend this season, their modern interpretation of the Japanese Geisha taking centre stage on the catwalk. Boxy jackets and overcoats led the show, symbolising the art of Kimono dressing with exquisitely folded Duchess satin. Never one to shy away from making a statement, Prada channelled an origami vibe with large papery lotus blossoms, which bloomed throughout the collection. 

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Flaunting a subtler approach, The Row's take on the Oriental trend represented a more romantic and feminine notion. This collection created a delicate and graceful feel, reworking classic Oriental silhouettes alongside inspiration from the elegance of the English countryside. The Row provided a breath of fresh air, debuting light and breezy kimono style jackets, clean silhouettes and oversized softly tailored suits. Echoing a sense of serenity and modern simplicity, the Orient was explored with linear layered silk skirts with unique origami inspired folds. Japanese antiquity was represented in a light and contemporary way, using lightweight Japanese cotton and a pale colour palette, splashing ivory and vanilla parchment shades with the occasional hint of regal red and navy blue. 

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The Kimono jacket was a recurring feature in the Orient inspired collections this season. Recognisable by the characteristic oversized sleeves and layering, the Kimono style was reinvented in myriad form on the catwalk, yet always stuck to a minimalist aesthetic. Etro created a martial arts inspired silhouette with large Kimono sleeves, decorative obi belts and wide-leg Judo trousers. Ports 1961 opted for a clean and simple approach, employing a print of graphic blossoms onto oversized boxy silk tops. Haider Ackermann opted for strong androgyny, layering fabrics in an elaborate method reminiscent of the structure of the kimono. This collection had a powerful yet melancholic tone using steely greys and navys paired with crisp white tailoring. The "Bon Voyage" collection at Nova Chiu created a bright and breezy vibe with beautifully fluid batwing Kimonos in brightly coloured prints, inspired by the designers' travels to the East.

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The Orient is well known for its enchanting prints and lavish embroidery, which designers were quick to draw from this season. Emilio Pucci echoed the opulence of Indochina, delivering a stand out display of embroidered jackets and lust-after jumpsuits. A menagerie of Oriental motifs in luxurious gold embroidery emblazoned dragons, lions and snakes, combining contemporary cool with vivid traditionalism. Rising star Huishan Zhang showcased his Eastern inspired prints in a subtle and polished way, fusing Chinese craftsmanship with Western aesthetic. Drawing from his own cultural background, Zhang produced a series of symbolic prints, including birds, boats and abstract geometric shapes. These prints were transferred onto elegant silk dresses, reminiscent of the 1940s tea dress, enhanced with Swarovski crystal embellishments, with the result: a graceful and feminine union of cultures.

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This season was a perfectly detonated explosion of culture, an inspired fusion of Eastern opulence and Western modernism. The restructuring of classic Oriental silhouettes worked in beautiful harmony with elegant and minimalist aesthetics, creating a modern and feminine style that is sure to be imitated this summer. 
By Nikki McMullen

Edited by GP

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