March 03, 2013 Paris
Simoëns' inspiration this season was Swan Lake, a theme he extrapolated in a few literal ways, including short, flared skirt silhouettes redolent of tutus, and plumage-like textured fur. But the most intriguing work here found the designer making the sideways leap from the ballet's opposition of black swan and white swan to houndstooth checks with an interlocked opposition of black and white. He followed the idea through by extracting a single check, and using that shape as a graphic motif in clothes that were vibrantly colored. A group of evening pieces, with the check shape etched in metallic embroidery, was particularly well done. The show could have used a tighter edit, though. On the one hand, you sometimes felt that Simoëns was working his houndstooth theme a little too insistently, and on the other, there were more than a handful of pieces that seemed off-topic, like gowns and cocktail frocks scattered with marble crystal.
More generally, the qualm here had to do with Simoëns' silhouettes, which weren't daring enough to make much of an impact. That tentativeness was made up for, to a degree, by the designer's nervier use of materials—the standouts were his featherlike fur and sparkly blue and black velvet. But on the whole this collection came off a little bit shy. Perhaps there were a few jitters, after all.