After a week of seeing clean cut geometries and straight lights cropping up as one of the defining trends of the season, Amaya Arzuaga’s spring/summer 2013 collection felt like somewhat of a palate cleanser. Her work, always intellectually engaging and visually powerful, hinged on the circle and the curve, both archetypes of femininity that the Spanish-born designer likes to enhance subtly.
That being said, subtlety doesn’t mean renouncing a spot on the conceptual edge of the fashion scene. Summer season seems to be when Arzuaga likes to keep her lines fluid and focused on an idea of movement, rather than texture. Colors are vividly honest, like the Gary Hume portraits that inspired them: blue like the hair on a 1998 portrait, or red like his Two-Roses print.
Models walked the luxurious halls of the Spanish Ambassador’s residence in Paris, their foreheads coated in shiny gel, echoing the plastic inserts that sustained “impossible” curves. On the first exit, it transforms a shift dress into a floating bustier. Far from creating a rigid effect, these thick plastic pieces on the contrary reinforced the idea of fluid movement, forcing the surrounding fabric to move against multiplied edges.
“I started thinking about a transparent silhouette,” Arzuaga said, post-show, “so the idea of plastic came after the concept had imposed itself.” But contrasting with its delicate enhancing touch, the plastic also was used for its rigidity. Twice, it becomes a protective bubble, cut in the shape of a bomber jacket, albeit rigidly so and forcing the model into a somewhat robotic gait.
When it comes to Amaya Arzuaga, clothing are best viewed in person, as they are constructed like sculptures. Behind a black and white dress with green plastic shoulders, the black outlining an hourglass bustier figure, flutters discreetly a curved fin, accompanying and enhancing the curvature of the spine. A shift in a watercolor version color-block of bright blue, white and green, ripples past, showing a curved drape below the waist.
- Lily Templeton