Basil Soda Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2013 Paris

For a collection inspired by metal, Basil Soda’s ready-to-wear, shown in the elegant salons of the Crillon, presented a face that was decidedly not rigid, nor was it metallic in its palette. Instead, he showed elegant outfits with delicately rounded, molded cuts in sportier fabrics, in the blue, fuchsia and greys found in the reflections of melting metal. “The fusion of metal caught my eye,” said the Lebanese designer in his singingly accented French.

It was far removed from the delicate romance of his spring couture collection, shown a few weeks ago in Beirut and showed the other face of the Basil Soda aesthetic, the one that most draws from his architectural past. There is one thing that Basil Soda did best of all for his fall collection, and that was imbue his ready-to-wear with an embellished austerity. It was striking in its purity. Efficient, even. Just like the woman he seeks as his muse, “a woman who works all the time, but also a party woman.” Note the term woman, and not girl. But there is no doubt the collection will appeal to his affluent fans of all ages, with their timeless full skirts and well-cut bodices that contour the woman’s body just so.

Eye-catching were his geometric embroideries, designed in his workshops and executed in one of the last still-operating Cornelli machines, a lovingly maintained piece of sartorial history that has been around since the 1950s. Using hand-drawn patterns as guides, the blend of hand and machine produced a beautifully artisanal touch to these metallic embellishments. If his couture represented a bucolic escape from a busy lifestyle, Soda’s ready-to-wear showed his woman is just as efficient in the boardroom as she is in the ballroom.  

- Lily Templeton