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March 8, 2013

Going Graphic

By Chris Boyle

By Jessica Michault

Veronique Branquinho, Marc Jacobs & Dolce+Gabbana

Veronique Branquinho, Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabbana

It might be time to bid busy prints and patterns adieu.

Just before you became too attached, a new, eye-catching trend took to the catwalk—all striking, stripped-down lines and simple palettes.

The era of print seems to have peaked, if this year’s spring/summer shows are to be believed. But now that fashion followers have become accustomed to bold patterns and complex prints, designers have decided to start weaning them off the trend with a monochromatic palette that plays with the idea of contrasts.

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs

The most popular manifestation of this new direction was to pair black and white in graphic styles of vertical or horizontal stripes, although a few checkerboard patterns also found their way into the mix.

The leader of this relatively pared-down aesthetic was Marc Jacobs, who bookended the season with his signature line, an ode to the 1960s and the style of Edie Sedgwick, in New York and, in Paris, with a power-house show of models walking the Louis Vuitton runway two by two in contrasting ensembles of the same grid pattern.

Jonathan Saunders

Jonathan Saunders

Les Deux Plateaux, a courtyard-wide piece by the artist Daniel Buren located in the heart of the Palais-Royal in Paris, might have been the inspiration for the Vuitton show, but the designer never took the column look too far.

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The power of this linear look was also spotted on the runways of designers with wildly diverse sartorial styles. All-American designer Michael Kors added a bit of color to the trend, an option also favored by Raf Simons at Christian Dior and Jonathan Saunders, who gave his chevronpatterned skirts a green backdrop.

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana

Veronique Branquinho tried out the concept of black and white lines of varying widths on her dresses, while Dolce & Gabbana chose to go with looks adorned from head to toe in thick black bands against a crisp white fabric canvas.

The graphic style that gave the season’s runways energy and verve is a stark new direction for fashion. It remains to be seen if it will have the same staying power as all those colorful prints that have come to hold pride of place in our wardrobes.

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