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For Spring Summer 2013, Maria Grachvogel took inspiration from the natural elements, using a palette of ‘lunar’ whites, opal, slate and Aurora (Borealis – the Northern Lights) green. Swimwear featured for the first time in her collections, styled with a deep V-neck and cut-out side panels, swimsuits were worn underneath tailored sheer chiffon cropped trousers and matching dress coats; surely the most chic beach cover-ups on the market. A polyurethane covered silk ‘moon-rock grey’ mac, worn over a printed pink swimsuit, added a hint of edge to what was otherwise a runway of all-out elegance.

A beautifully cut white ‘Triton’ cotton shirt looked both classic and modern paired with the ‘Hyperion’ white cropped tuxedo trousers, evoking perfectly the futuristic simplicity and clean silhouette promised by the show notes. However, the following look – a halter-top and wide trousers with the novelty accessory of a tie-on single sheer white chiffon sleeve – somewhat missed the mark.

Much of the collection was characterised by its wearability and minimal femininity, with beautiful silk blouses and shift dresses in pale pinks and mink tones romantically detailed with sheer panels over the shoulders. A variety of draped dresses and flowing lounge suits, along with gently cocooning skirts and softly sculptural tops, were a luxurious vision of day-to-evening wear.

Grachvogel’s signature raft of prints included a rather busy Eighties zig-zag style, which was far eclipsed by the stunning, smoky watercolour styles hand painted by the designer herself and printed in dramatic mirror image onto flowing flared-leg jumpsuits and billowing grecian and slim column dresses. Inspired by ‘igneous intrusion’ (liquid rock that forms under Earth’s surface) these prints were the show stoppers of the collection.

It was a beautiful collection of day and evening wear that might not excite the legions of street style snappers outside the Somerset House catwalk space, but the Maria Grachvogel woman would be quite glad of this, I’m sure. Subtle but irrefutable elegance was prized, and on the whole, achieved.

Words and images by Charlotte Gush

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