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SINGAPORE – Singapore’s top international fashion label Raoul showed its Autumn Winter 2013 collection to a fashionista-packed tent at Singapore’s Audi Fashion Week 2013 on May 16.

Inspired by legendary European artists, designers and visionaries like Serge Lutens, Madame Gres, Leon Bakst and Yves Saint Laurent, the collection included the brand’s signature use of multiple prints and minimal, 1960s shapes alongside its increasingly popular long, elegant evening wear.

Opening with a sharply-cut pantsuit of rich, bronze brocade – reminiscent of Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking, an evening pantsuit created in 1966 – the collection segued through a series of ornate prints inspired by the elaborate costumes of the Ballet Russe designed by Leon Bakst.

Audi Fashion Festival 2013 RAOUL AW13 DECOR 1Raoul Autumn Winter 2013 featured lots of prints including a fabulous bronze brocade.
Images: Wesley Kow

From the bronze brocade through paisley and byzantine border prints, the collection featured sensuous, “touchable” fabrics like velvet devoré and silk georgette; there was even a bit of fur in the form of a gillet over a long, gold flecked skirt.

The colour palette was relatively dark for Raoul – better known for its primary brights and muted pastels – but this choice was apparently influenced by the work of photographer Serge Lutens’ dark earthy tones.

Relieving the darker tones was a shot of tangerine in the form of a simply astounding leather cloak which looked somewhat like a luxurious safety garment as it added a jolt of orange to the generally more muted palette.

A crisp black and white print, some kind of oversized fleur de lis, also brightened the collection – a stand-out tabard shift dress was particularly striking, as was the shell top and trousers in the same print topped with a shaggy white fur.

While the bulk of the collection included seemingly innumerable prints – there really is something for every type of print wearer – the collection also included monochrome, minimal pieces in the form of simple 1960s style shift dresses, coats and classic trousers.

Olive green was also added to the mix of bronze, red, tangerine, sage, magenta and gold in the form of solid, almost boxy coats, dresses and a-line skirts, the shapes echoed in classic black and white versions.

Once again Raoul sent a number of elegant, long gowns and separates down the runway for AW13 in the form of ankle-length brocade or velvet skirts worn with long sleeves and lamé-flecked georgette column gowns.

Audi Fashion Festival 2013 RAOUL AW13 DECOR 2Raoul is fast becoming known for its elegant, long-skirted evening separates and gowns. Images: Wesley Kow

In what is becoming a signature of the design team headed by Odile and Douglas Benjamin, there were a number of evening gowns featuring embellished necklines; new to the lineup was a series of dresses created with “micro pleating” in a homage to the couture gowns of the legendary couturier Madame Grès.

Overall the Raoul AW13 collection continued to develop the brand’s evolving “voice”; the referencing of the late 1960s – sharp, short, modernist – and the 1970s – printed, embellished, flowing – continues. Signature shapes and themes at Raoul are beginning to emerge – the shift, the a-line skirt, long evening skirts, column gowns and prints galore juxtaposed with blocks of black, white and single colours.

There is so much happening in the AW13 collection, however, that sometimes the gems get lost among the myriad of pieces on show; there is an abundance of influences within the collection which sometimes appear to be more contradictory than collaborative.

As a range that shows what the brand is capable of creating, the AW13 collection wins first place, but one wonders if relying on the motto “less is more” might have been a way of better highlighting what Raoul does best. Sometimes it is an even bigger win to do one, or two, things perfectly

WATCH THE RAOUL AW13 FINALE:

The Raoul Autumn Winter 2013 collection will be available from Raoul boutiques and online store towards the end of 2013; for complete list of stores, go to www.raoul.com/store_locator and to shop online, go to www.raoul.com. You can follow the brand on Facebook at www.facebook.com/raoulfashion on Twitter at @RAOULFASHION and on Instagram at @raoulfashion.