Nicole Farhi took what may have been the last of her post-show bows at the end of her spring summer 2013 show

After 30 years leading her brand, Farhi is stepping aside and handing over design duties to new creative director Joanna Sykes. The ex-Aquascutum designer took in today’s proceedings from the front row. We can only guess what was running through her mind, but it probably had something to do with the monumental reputation of the woman she’s succeeding.

This season, however, the show was all Farhi’s, and she marked the occasion with a contemplative collection of soft but strong looks.

Inspired by the marble-dust-infused light in Carrara, Italy, Farhi showed a series of chalk-white, grey and nude garments. She started with the simplest piece—a white cotton dress, strips of fabric forming an angular ruffle down the body—and built in complexity until the final dress, a peach silk slip of a thing that swung to mid-calf.

Along the way there were fantastic midi skirts with paper-bag and origami-folded waists, knitted shorts suits, and a finely pleated blush silk dress that referenced dungarees. Pleats appeared again and again, as in a great trench with slim folds that harnessed the movement of pleats without adding volume.

Embellishment remained subtle. Strips of tonal leather brought solidity to filmy polyester shells, and swathes of white sequins graduated to a line of copper. At the end of the show, Farhi’s mastery could be felt in editors’ quiet smiles as they filed out of the venue. She did it again.

 
 
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