Billtornade SS 2013 – Paris Menswear Week, 2012

Well-crafted, luxurious sportswear for the jet-set crowd built around the appropriate theme of summer travel was the focus of the Spring/Summer 2013 Billtornade collection. The most literal interpretations of the theme came in the form of t-shirts and shorts imprinted with a picturesque beach scene or New York skyline. Even when the pieces were devoid of travel iconography, the utility and variety of the collection implied a jet-set culture. The diversity of fabrics helped create an all encompassing wardrobe. A two-toned leather blazer provided a modern alternative for evening, while printed jersey tank tops made for casual day wear. The two-toned chambray shirt provided a desperately needed update to the ubiquitous chambray trend.

The relaxed suiting of the collection had a summer specific appeal. Sartorially acute pieces in khaki, white, and light gray had a crisp, fresh quality—one that will surely resonate with younger buyers. Thin lapels and playfully colored ties successfully infused the “casual allure” designers Bella Saakova and Francis Ronez pursued in this collection. The shortened silhouette of the fitted trousers barely grazed the ankle; when placed in context with the suit jackets however, this proportion seemed prudent. The shorts in the collection fell above the knee, adding to the modern preppy undertones also seen in outerwear and the v-neck sweaters.

Outerwear played a surprisingly large role for a spring/summer collection; perhaps its prominence was in accordance to the theme of travel. The standout piece was a brilliantly tailored, cropped pea coat in navy, a more sporty interpretation of which was shown later. In addition to unadulterated coats, Saakova and Ronez routinely mixed elements of outerwear and suiting in the same piece, generally resulting in a brilliant marriage between volume and fit. An edgy and modern incarnation was a fitted piece that buttoned on the bottom as a suit jacket would, but zipped up to the model’s neck like a jacket. Asymmetric red lines created a graphic edginess although the corresponding stripes running down the trousers veered a bit to the kitschy side. Regrettably, the pieces where the combination of the elements created an awkward amalgam were the weakness of the collection. For the pieces caught in the existential limbo between suit or coat, the design duo’s sartorial prowess went awry, resulting in unseemly fits and odd proportions. The fitted sleeves and detailing on one hybrid was undoubtedly related to suiting, however the absence of tailoring at the waist fell in line with the previous pea coats. Placed in isolation from the rest of the collection, the piece would simply be appraised as ill fit. The creativity and craftsmanship in this collection were excellent, even if the outcome of the experimentation proved unfruitful at times.

Image Courtesy of  Bill Tornade

©2012 The Los Angeles Fashion

 

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