PFW: AMAYA ARZUAGA F/W 2014

Each season there are always a handful of designers that, while not necessarily new to fashion, are new to the particular city in which they’re showing. Amaya Arzuaga falls into that category this season with her first appearance at Paris Fashion Week. While she is far from being a “new” designer, she launched her label back in 1996, the Spanish designer has shown at London Fashion Week on a couple of occasions but not here in Paris. So, one needs to know that a) Amaya’s mother owns a large retail operation in Spain and her father is a well-respected Spanish designer in his own right; b) she operates over 200 branded retail outlets across Spain; c) she also has her own wine label; and d) what you’re about to see, while unique, is actually fairly typical if not a bit subdued for what she normally presents.

Ms. Arzuaga likes playing with folds and fabrics. Looking through some of her past collections, we see that at times she has gotten very extreme with some of those folds, creating shapes that, while certainly creative, were not exactly the most practical one might encounter. While probably 95% of this season’s line falls into the wearable category, she obviously still likes to explore and bring volume to her clothes without necessarily added a large number of extra stitches. Folds are what make these designs really stand out from the crowd this season, which is necessary given her lock-step with other trends.

Remember all that gold we saw in Milan last week? Well, Amaya brings it back, hard core. She springs it on us a little at a time, first as backing behind very carefully defined slits in a black tunic and the top to a black suit. Next, the gold comes behind the strip pleats of a skirt, which is a very nice take on a trend that has almost become ubiquitous this season. From there the use of gold grows until, by the 7th look, the whole dress is done in the color and from there on black becomes the accent. There’s even touches of gold in the ankle-high boots.

Once she makes the transition to gold, Ms. Arzuaga really pours on the folds and draping. There is one dress where the carefully pleated top is almost mesmerizing as it walks past, and another where the draping around the waist is so precise that one wonders just exactly how she pulled off the look without using a lot of duct tape. The way she shapes a tunic dress is so unique that, at first glance, one might think there’s an overlay, but it’s not; this is a single piece of fabric expertly constructed to fold back over the shoulders without looking bulky or misshaped.

Gold isn’t the only color, there is some dabbling in green that comes with a shiny coated material, and a foray into a deep red that I’m guessing is about the same color as the wine she produces. The green designs are more contemporary and a bit experimental, while the wine designs are more traditional and safe. She keeps going back to the gold, though, and when she gets to the gowns is where she displays her greatest creativity with broad umbrella draping so very well structured one might think she had sewn wires into the cloth.

While Amaya Arzuage is extremely popular in Spain, she’s not as well known elsewhere so her stocklist is rather short. Fortunately, she maintains a very well stocked web site and does ship to the US. This is definitely a designer worth following and I hope she shows in Paris again next season.

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