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Carlos Miele Spring 2013 Show — Welcome To The Jungle!

The feral and the fluid danced cheek-to-cheek at the Carlos Miele Spring 2013 show, held on September 10th at Lincoln Center. The leopard, giraffe, zebra, and tiger prints in the collection recalled a Tanzanian safari, but the acid yellow, phosphate blue, and cyan green shades in which these animal patterns were interpreted added a hallucinatory edge to the pieces showcased, as if the garments had been filtered through a mind-bending, fantastical, psychotropic, magical Fantasia-esque filter or, perhaps, an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole replete, not with Cheshire cats, but with smug wild cats. Not only did Miele concoct his own hallucinatory jungle via the use of vibrant colors, but he fused together animal prints in a way that was unexpected but harmonious, with predatory beings that would hunt one another in the wild somehow co-existing peacefully. Animal prints, of course, are nothing new in the realm of fashion, but somehow Miele’s interpretation felt remarkably novel — not just because of his penchant for mixing-and-matching or his kaleidoscopic use of color, but also because of his flair for the sensual, the demurely feminine. Sure, Cavalli has built an empire with his leopard and tiger prints, but his pieces are typically more structured and body conscious than those favored by Miele, who largely prefers more ethereal silhouettes.

Most of the garments in Carlos Miele’s Spring 2013 collection, then, were fabricated using silk chiffon that billowed, floated, and danced as models walked down the runway. In fact, the show opened with a model standing at the end of the catwalk, extending her arms in opposite directions as if hoping to take flight, the phosphate blue giraffe print silk chiffon cropped caftan layered atop her floor-length oxidized yellow tiger print silk chiffon dress drifting and gliding as the breeze gathered beneath it. Similarly, a black-and-white snow leopard print silk chiffon caftan with long, wide sleeves floated atop a black-and-white leopard print chiffon dress that moved fluidly, with wisps of cloth surrounding the model’s silhouette like a halo.

The most riveting pieces in the collection combined a sense of structure with an almost liquid elusiveness, a transient lightness. A yellow tiger print silk charmeuse fabric, for instance, was used to craft an elegant evening dress with an expertly draped, body-hugging bodice and a layered, featherweight skirt, and then embellished with the addition of a phosphate blue giraffe print fabric draped over one shoulder at a slant, like a pageant sash, with another strip of this blue giraffe fabric sewn atop one side of the skirt like an asymmetrical apron. Beaded embellishments at the shoulders completed the effect, creating a duality between soft and hard, dainty and strong, chaos and entropy. Similarly, palazzo-style pants in a snow leopard print were paired with a green silk chiffon blouse, a delicately pleated one-shoulder asymmetrical top operating as the focal point but softened by a sheer chiffon overlay covering the entire bodice along with the arms.

Thigh-high slits, plunging necklines, body-hugging pleats, and intricate embroidered silk taffeta belts oozed sex, without it ever appearing crude or crass. In the end, Miele constructed a jungle that felt dangerous but exciting, a place where exotic creatures abounded in an unconstrained state, at once charming and tempting those they encountered with their sinful beauty.

Take a look at the photos above and below, along with the video of the show finale, to get a feel for Miele’s brand of savage beauty.

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