Paris S/S 13 Denim Runway Highlights

As the S/S 13 shows draw to a close, we take a look at the final denim looks to emerge from the Paris shows. Parisian designers are most notably recognized for their modest and clean takes on denim as well as the more avante-garde cuts that you come to expect from the larger design houses. This season proved no different with fashion favorites like Isabel Marant, Balmain and Jean Paul Gaultier delivering a range of fresh silhouettes, prints and novel design details that continue to keep denim in the spotlight.

Isabel Marant

Marant has been the catalyst for many a women’s denim trend over the last few seasons and is now the one to watch for fast-fashion and High Street “inspired by” looks. For S/S 13 the designer continued her American West theme from F/W 12 but injected a heavy dose of pastel girliness into the equation. The main inspiration was Elvis and his strong love for Hawaii. This theme influenced classic studded and bejeweled items (that Marant does so well) on leather and denim pieces including jackets, micro shorts and flares. Marant also drew inspiration from pictures of Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin on holiday in St. Tropez, which accounted for the bohemian paisleys, soft suedes and lace-up collars.


After just three short seasons at Balmain, Olivier Rousteing has established a cult following. Countless editorials have documented his Baroque embellishments and slouchy take on luxury, a trend sure to continue for S/S 13. Turning his attention to the 90s, a decade when the 26-year-old designer was only a small child, Rousteing produced his take on halter tops, pleated trousers, exaggerated shoulders and playful graphics. Showcasing a denim-heavy display of sharp, highly structured Western-inspired silhouettes, Balmain’s layer upon layer of power shouldered monotone denim served as a fitting tribute to the designer’s 90s roots.

Jean Paul Gaultier

Along with re-visiting the designers greatest hits for S/S 13 (from tuxedo pantsuits to cone bras, with models styled up as the pinnacles of eighties fashion: Boy George, Madonna, Annie Lennox and Michael Jackson), the designer also celebrated denim in his classic, over-the-top style. Soft and tumbled vintage looks were digitally printed onto a mass of sequins that were worked into top-to-toe styling. The denim section of his runway took the collection down a tone or two, creating a grungy attitude with upsized pant fits, sloppy dresses and floor-sweeping shirts. However, a bondage-inspired, cut-out electric blue trucker in high-gloss coating was the statement denim star of the show.

Atsuro Tayama

Japanese designer Atsuro Tayama juggled many ideas in his spring collection. One of the key themes felt throughout the collection was one of texture with frayed swathes of denim layered over slouchy knits that channeled the undone look of the 90s. Tayama used a range of tones, from retro mid-tone shades to bleached-out indigos, rich greencasts and stonewashed denim. Additionally, a range of tie-dye washes injected some visual interest into pants and bags. Easy silhouettes like peg-leg pants cropped just below the knee, pieced shirts and popover shirt dresses gave looks a casual nonchalance, while unfinished hems’ haphazard patchworking added a raw touch.

Miu Miu

Miuccia Prada’s focus on prim and restrained ladylike attire was cemented in elegant matching sets of glowing and glossy raw denims for S/S 13. The pencil skirt was a key item and this modest, mid-calf column was given a casual handwriting with tobacco twin needle topstitching. Swing coats and cape silhouettes were also modernized, and intentionally raw finishes and bright, saturated indigo casts added an undone attitude to these otherwise restrained looks.

Paul & Joe

Relaxed and casual, Sophie Albou-Mechaly’s spring collection for Paul & Joe had all the right elements for a perfect vacation wardrobe. Comfortable denim and cotton were made into roomy bottoms and easy button-ups, and eyelets added a touch of femininity. Soft délavé denims were paired against milky pastel shades of mint, peach and dove grey to create a soothing Summer mood, while highlights of Hawaiian hibiscus flowers and tropical bird prints helped channel the 50s appeal. Slouchy knee-length shorts, fluted ankle-grazing pants and casual parka jackets rounded out this sweet offering, which is sure to appeal to the Juniors who follow the label.

Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.