Across between a high society gala a la Downton Abbey and the red carpet roll call for the Oscars, Zac Posen offered up a heady cocktail of extravagant gowns, accentuated shoulders and sculpted bodices for his AW13 show. Dramatic pieces crafted purely for the notion of spectacle and spotlight, Posen steeped this season’s collection in Forties silhouettes and vampish femme noir allure teaming contoured creations and flattering skirt suits with crimson lips and pure class.
Dark was the order of the day, only brightened by bursts of brights with canary yellow interspersed with jolts of tangerine and red working their way through the gothic and moodier tones of forest, navy, maroon and chocolate brown. From the rich hues to the elaborate embellishment, each look in all its vintage glory served to remind us of a time when women were women, and dressing up was just that. Feminine figures caressed by form-fitting shapes, accentuated by peplums on jackets and others that were structured and reminiscent of an Elizabethan court. Gowns and coats and jackets were adorned with beautiful embroidery and beading with shades of teal, ruby and lilac coming through and luscious trimmings by way of bows or flurries of chiffon.
From strapless to slinky and sensuous, the dresses wafted down a red carpeted runway teamed with thick opaque tights and velvet heels. It was a celebration of womanly wonder firmly entrenched in the ideals of decades past. One wonders whether Posen’s stark disregard for modern styling was intended to force a re-evaluation of contemporary attitudes towards the sexes. With equality pushed in our faces at every turn, only to sting with high childcare costs and inflexible workplaces, perhaps those ladies had something of the right idea if only they knew it.