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Fashion Week Roundup: Pretty Hard

Dazed & Confused's Senior Fashion Editor Katie Shillingford takes a closer look at the Fashion Week shows that blended soft with hard and feminine with masculine

Many of the best shows this season had something in common, although it apperead in different shapes and forms. Overall there was a sense of a femininity that battled through a hard and aggressive edge. The heavy black buckled harnesses worn over soft, fragile dresses at McQueen was an obvious example of this prettiness with a hard edge. Also, a harsh leopard print appeared on a soft fake fur coat at Junya Watanabe, amongst hard leather jackets and skirts that were tailored and cinched very much to emphasize the female form. Leather and fur comprised the girly pleats in feminine circle skirts. It was clearly a hard aesthetic on first glance, but something remained girlish throughout.

The fetish-like shoes at Mugler were teeteringly high, empowering the girls and creating super model giants, but at the same time triggering a sense of vulnerability with each step. The 'eye-bra' at Gareth Pugh’s A/W show was a form of 3D eye makeup in the same gold and blue tones as used in the collection. The hard structures were almost like upside-down yet solid eyelashes, which formed a sort of eye armour. But the shape gave a soft feline flick with a nod to old Hollywood glamour. Chiffon panels within structured, tailored shapes mimicked this sense of a softer side of a hard aesthetic.

Merging the feminine and masculine is a constant theme for Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, and this season's womenswear led on from his menswear with panther prints in place of the Rottweilers for men. But the prettiness appeared in his use of floral prints; purple orchids that were embellished and embroidered onto tough, boyish bomber and varsity jackets and sweatshirts. Lanvin jewellery is always a high point and this season didn't fail. Slightly larger-than-life size roses formed the chunky jewellery in clusters of jewels and metal. The pretty petals were hard and tough, twisting around necks like robotic vines.