February 23, 2013 11:11 AM

For his AW’13 Collection, Parbal Gurung took inspiration from Time Magazine’s ‘Best Inventions of the Year 2012’ feature on body armor for woman.  Naturally, then, his newest outing was influenced by the military’s focus on developing uniforms fit for a woman’s figure and the hot-button issue of gender equality in the military.  The theme of the collection was female empowerment, which was dictated by the clean lines of the garments and the addition of leather harness accessories designed by Zana Bayne.

In what will be their fourth collaboration, Zana Bayne designed yet another line of distinct and elegant belts, harnesses, and chokers to be worn over Prabals AW’13 collection to bring a look of strength and bravery while maintaining, and even elevating, the military and armor motifs seen throughout.  Using inspiration from a single photo of men in the Ghurka army whose uniforms featured a sturdy harness as the final layer of dress, Zana set out to achieve this hard and powerful aesthetic quality while still retaining an homage to delicate and traditional femininity.  Zana explains her approach “ As a designer who creates harness-inspired accessories, I was interested in altering these holsters to flow with the female form, and act as personal armor.”

Zana created the harnesses using traditional military adornments like epaulets, braided straps fastened at the shoulder (a military signifier of rank) and intricately woven trim. She then combined these elements with sharp cuts of leather to create belts and harnesses reminiscent of the outlines of classic military uniform silhouettes.

The look and feel of Zana’s accessories were transformed once layered on top of the delicate fabrics (silk charmeuse, chiffon) and clean, streamlined cuts of Prabal Gurung’s breathtaking AW’13 Collection.  By using the strong belts to gently cinch in waistlines and by employing deft straps that follow the soft, yet architectural, lines of Prabal’s silk gowns, Bayne's harnesses enhance the elegant silhouettes of the garments while providing a vigor that, as she explains, “Always empowers (but never overpowers) the women who wear them.”







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