There is no city quite like Paris and no fashion is quite like Parisian fashion. I adore many cultures and cities and designers, but there’s just something about Paris that you can’t forget.
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have consistently created lovely collections since taking over from Mr. Valentino himself – Lots of dresses, fabulous splashes of classic Valentino red, and red carpet ready gowns.
Leather, velvet, silk, chiffon, lace, satin, and eyelet all made their way down the runway – Along with the occasion statement coat and jumpsuit. My favorite look was the gold brocade coat-dress that Hanne Gaby Odiele wore down the catwalk – Tres chic!
The Chanel show is always a dramatic, eclectic spectacle and this season was no different with solar panels, turbines, and wind farm-like backdrops.
This collection included everything from hula hoop handbags, stark black & white, youthful polka dots, bright jewel tones, traditional florals, 80’s style fingerless gloves, denim, rompers, suits, wide-brimmed hats, and strappy wedges. I especially liked the chunky pearl bracelets & necklaces, the polka-dotted strapless dress, and the cute Dorothy-inspired blue & white gingham.
The McQueen show is always something to look forward to with eye-catching, one-of-a-kind makeup, backgrounds, clothing, and accessories. No other designer can come close to the types of shows that Lee McQueen – And now Sarah Burton – Put on.
This season’s collection had an S&M beekeeper type of vibe with safari-style netting covered hats, bustiers, thigh-high stockings, harnesses & corsets, bustles, wide belts, and bee, wasp, and honeycomb prints. Excessive, rich, over-the-top, and utterly stunning.
Denim, interesting fabrics & textures, moody prints, and a mixture of silhouettes and lengths all gave the Miu Miu collection a fun but grown-up feel.
I love classic workwear style pieces so this collection was right up my alley. I adored the pencil skirts and sleek sheath dresses, and the retro vibe was to die for with killer furs, boat neck tops, visible pin-up inspired bustiers, leather gloves, slim pocketbooks, and long, demure jackets. J’adore!
“Deconstructed classicism” was the theme and it came to life in sleek separates and dresses done up in black & white, bold, vibrant jewel tones, and silky neutrals.
The collection was sleek and sexy, the pieces modern and wearable. The embellished prints were quite eye-catching but the sleek pieces in navy, black & white stole the show in my opinion. All of the looks above are amazing – I would wear them anytime, anywhere!
Yves Saint Laurent:
New name – Saint Laurent – retro vibe. The 70’s were back at YSL with leather, suede, fringe, wide-brimmed hats, and maxi lengths all evoking classic Yves.
The details of this collection were what caught my attention – The slim, cropped pants, the white piping on blazers, the patent t-trap heels, oversized bows at the neck, and opera-length gloves. I especially liked the pants looks and shimmering, two-toned caplet was the piece at the top of my Must Have list!
While the theme may have been the same, Riccardo Tisci’s sedated and minimal interpretation of Catholicism was a far cry from the extravagant opulence of the Fall 2012 Dolce & Gabbana show at Milan Fashion Week.
The pieces may have been stark – Done up in mostly black & white with severe cuts – But they were still dramatic and eye-catching. I adored the black & white frocks, the flattering tunic-vests, the subtle ruffles, and the thick metallic chokers.
The Stella show was bold in both color and silhouette – Her usual oversized, boy-meets-girl style got spiced up with wrap dresses, jumpsuits, and racerback tops.
The suits and the minimalistic pieces are always my favorite – Though the patchwork prints and cheerleader skirts last season proved that she’s got more up her sleeve. The safari-style tops were cute and versatile and the green she showed was right up my alley!
The LV collection was awash in checkered patterns, bright hues, and in a fun change of pace Mr. Jacobs had all of his models strut their stuff down the runway in pairs.
The mod feeling to the show was modernized by the eye-catching prints. The accessories were cute but minimally applied – Bow adorned headbands, checkered flats, and small patterned daybags. Fun, flirty, and oh-so-wearable. Just what Marc Jacobs does best!
The Chloe collection was primarily black and white with some splashes of burnt orange and fleshy pink throw in for good measure. Very French. Very feminine. Very Sweet.
The silhouettes ranged from oversized and exaggerated to romantic and womanly. While the colors, fabrics, and prints ran the gamut from black & white velvet to salmon stripes to sheer purple ruffles.
The Balmain collection brought to mind the 90’s with power suits, big shoulders, loud prints, thick belts, and plunging necklines. All with a Parisian, Balmain spin on them.
Stripes & checkers, bold yellow, oversized hoop earrings, metallic accessories, midriff baring tops, denim, and oversized blazers all had me checking the models faces to see if Cindy, Linda, Naomi, or Christy were there.
Raf’s debut collection for Dior was full of dichotomies – Stark but romantic, minimal but dramatic. He played with colors, prints, lengths, and silhouettes while still presenting a very Dior collection.
The suits and coat-dresses were my favorite, they came in different cuts and lengths, but were utterly chic and utterly timeless. The kinds of pieces that you invest in and wear for the rest of your life.
Previous Paris Fashion Week Collections: Paris Fashion Week Fall 2012, Paris Fashion Week Fall 2012 – Street Style & Front Row Fashion, Paris Fashion Week Spring 2012 Part I, Paris Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Part II, and Paris Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Street Style & Front Row Fashion.
Additional reviews, photographs, shows, and videos: Raf Simons, Hedi Slimane and the Tectonic Shifts of the Paris Fashion Establishment from Business Of Fashion, FabSugar’s Paris Fashion Week Diary, Precious Details from The Man Repeller, and Derek Blasberg’s A Photo Diary From Paris Fashion Week.
Which Paris Fashion Week show was your favorite? Do you like the classic, Paris Fashion Week institutions like Chanel and Valentino best or newer, more modern houses like Chloe and Alexander McQueen?
Phenomenal. Breathtaking. Eye-Catching. Dreamy. Unbelievable. Divine.
Those are all words that I could easily use to describe the Fall 2012 Couture collections that were shown in Paris this past week. The locations ranged from the Grand Palais to the Ritz Hotel to the Musée Bourdelle, and the themes ran the gamut from old school glamour to futuristic to Game of Thrones.
Yes. Game of Thrones.
The big story this season was Raf Simons’s inaugural collection for the house of Christian Dior after leaving Jil Sander at the end of last season. The show began with classic Dior colors and silhouettes, elegant suits, ladylike dresses, and then ball gowns that I can guarantee will feature heavily on the red carpet in the coming year’s award season.
The collection was anything but boring though with metallic belts, gorgeous embroidery, dramatic peplums, oversized pockets, opera-length gloves, bold collars, tie dyed pieces, tweeds, and reach-out-and-touch-them textures. It was soft and elegant and oh-so-Dior, but with a dramatic, extravagant edge.
I’m not sure if I can put it any better than the fabulous Mr Blasberg who proclaimed: “In the last 13 minutes, Raf Simons just single-handedly altered the contemporary haute couture landscape.” Curious how the phenomenal flower-strewn setting was created for this show? This video gives you a fabulous backstage peek at the process of creation.
New Vintage was the theme for Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel Fall 2012 Couture collection – “Vintage is depressing, but ‘new vintage’ is something to come. It’s preparation for something that could last.”
Bold plaid & checkered patterns, metal-tipped pumps, traditional tweeds, metallic silver tights, chunky knits, shimmery separates, slouchy sequined caps, oversized outerwear, maxi skirts and full pants, velvet coats, pussy bow blouses, Peter Pan collars, and dresses adorned with feathers, chiffon, tulle, and sequins all had a sassy retro feel with modern and sometimes futuristic-feeling details.
Givenchy‘s Riccardo Tisci is nothing if not detail oriented. His collections are traditionally small in size and he and his design teams & seamstresses really focus on making each look unique, one-of-a-kind, and highly intricate. His Fall 2012 collection focused on beading, heavy embroidery and brocades, leather working, fringe, and even sequins.
The restrained extravagance of this collection perfectly complemented the earthy, folksy theme that was somewhere between Little Red Riding Hood and Maid Marian. And I couldn’t have envisioned a more appropriate background than the lush green forest that these looks were photographed against.
While there was some of the famous Valentino red at the end of this show, the colors de jour were navy and creamy pink. The thick brocades and heavy embroideries in cream, peach, and pink played perfectly against the sequins, sheer panels, and flowing silks in varying shades of moody blues.
The details in these pieces were phenomenal, from delicate accordion pleats and metallic-laced brocades to dramatic floral cutouts and sheer chiffon ruffles. Chiuri and Piccioli have been getting their footing over the last few seasons and this couture collection seems to be the coming out party for the new Valentino – An opulent, dramatic twist on the old school glamour and romance that Valentino is known for.
In the world of couture Giorgio Armani’s Fall 2012 Armani Prive collection offered up something wholly different. Wearability. Given that couture is considered an art form and that pieces in these collections can range anywhere from $20,000 to $2,000,000, wearability is hardly the word de jour. But with the full, flattering cuts, cool, pale silks, and touchable, midnight dark velvets, wearable was just what he presented.
These looks were all about textures – Soft, sleek, touchable fabrics that you could almost feel against your skin. The jeweled and beaded veils were one of my favorite parts of this collection, they added serious drama and brought out a mysterious quality in the clothes that took you to another time and place.
The Versace show at the Ritz Hotel was wild and fun – Xena Warrior Princess meets Couture Barbie. The Versace woman is strong, fierce, and fearless, she embraces her sexuality and loves to show some skin. These clothes are not for the faint of heart, they were all about dramatic peek-a-boos, slashes, and slits.
Wide, tooled belts, multi-strap & buckle adorned heels, sheer cloth, sequined netting details, and spiderweb thin mesh gave this show unabashed shimmer, shine, and sex appeal.
The Versace girl is bold, uninhibited and in these clothes, she’s ready to party!
I always look forward to Giambattista Valli‘s collections – His esthetic is divine and I love how he always adds a little edge to his classic, ladylike silhouettes. And his second couture collection made me say to myself for a second time, Valli was made for couture.
And here in this dreamy place far away the moody reds and greens, organic prints, and flowing cuts & ruffles were all borrowed from nature; all-over muted floral patterns, applique and embroidered plant life, ruffles, flares, folds, and thick lace were all born of the outdoors. And with jewelry, accessories, and hairpieces evoking bugs, butterflies, and leaves, the theme was complete throughout the collection.
Rather than a fairy princess vibe the earthy tones and themes brought to mind wood nymphs and dryads – Woodland creatures who personified the various aspects of the natural world that they watched over; strong and eternal.
Well, after a crazy month of fashion we’ve finally arrived – the final week of collections for Fall 2012. After New York, London and Milan you’d think that the fashion world would be too exhausted to muster up much enthusiasm for the Paris shows, but that is never the case. Instead Paris is the culmination of all the weeks of runway shows, the center of the fashion universe, with designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada and Nicolas Ghesquière and houses like Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton keeping it in the spotlight.
Karl Lagerfeld took nature as his muse and created a dramatic spectacle filled with giant crystal stalagmites and an icy snowscape for a runway. The Chanel Fall 2012 collection was predominately dark with the occasional splash of brilliant green, purple, pink, yellow and blue. What did Uncle Karl give us this season that will soon be all the rage? A new combination of separates – Jacket, skirt AND pants. One version that he showed was wrought in Chanel tweed with purple undertones and had a flared skirt, a boxy high-neck jacket and slim, cropped pants.
He also showed great outerwear – cozy ankle-length dusters, cropped open jackets with big pockets, sleeveless mid-thigh length collared coats worn over a cropped jacket, and of course the traditional tweeds.
The accessories were just as striking as the clothes for this show. Gem encrusted belts, mineral formation-inspired shoes, floral pins, sequined embroidery on sleeves & collars, and jeweled bracelets & purses that looked like they were adorned with roughly cut amethyst and pyrite.
What was one of the first and most striking things that you noticed during the show? The brilliant jeweled eyebrows sported by the models – made by the couture embroidery house Lesage.
The Fall 2012 show for Valentino was beautiful and demure, with dramatic undertones. The collection included lots of leather, lace, native & floral prints, separates with sweet details, long dresses, vivid outerwear & capes, jumpsuits, ankle strap heels, and of course, the always striking Valentino Red.
The show was inspired by folk costumes and that theme was picked up in the knee-length capes, braided updos and provincial prints, but it was the separates, accessories, pale embroidery and dresses that really caught my eye.
The Chloe collection for Fall 2012 was relaxed but chic, with a certain nonchalance that we’ve come to enjoy from this house over the years. The pieces included wide leg pants, belted & large pocket-adorned dresses, lacy coats & zip-up jackets, chunky sweaters, pencil skirts and shirtdresses in an array of colors – pale peach, blue and pink, antique white, burgundy and midnight blue.
The accessories and details for Chloe were quite sweet – satin, pastel ankle strap heels, dainty belts, lacy edges and muted, girly plaids.
While Christian Dior remained at the center of rumors and speculation, Bill Gaytten put together an outstanding runway show full of black and soft colors like dove grey, ballerina pink, and pale, pale lavender. The clothes may not have been innovative and new, but I think most audience members would agree with me that the pieces were incredibly beautiful and wearable. I especially liked the flowy skirts in soft colors paired with ankle strap ballet-inspired heels and mixed with harder fabrics and edgy pieces like leather adorned cropped jackets or boxy tweed coats.
I absolutely fell in love with the separates and the accessories – the bags, jewelry and shoes were unbelievable. I want one of each please. Please?
Natalia Vodianova was the first of many top models on the runway for the smart, fun collection by Stella McCartney. Others included Anja Rubik, Karlie Kloss, Kasia Struss, Lindsey Wixson and the It Girl for the Fall 2012 fashion shows Cara Delevingne – younger sister of Poppy Delevingne.
The models strutted their stuff in black and brilliant blue with a few splashes of pink and grey. The pieces were minimal and sleek in silhouette but with unique additions like color on color embroidery, asymmetrical zippers, high necklines, colorblocking and interesting fabrics. Pants & skirt suits, separates, dresses and divine outerwear were the order of the day.
On my must have list? The velvety embroidered portfolio clutches and oh-so-flattering dresses with the high necks and the flippy, cheerleader-inspired skirts. Perfect with tights, a cropped jacket & heels for Fall.
Pants! Pants! Pants! Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu show was all about pantsuits. The colors ranged from shades of blue, gold, rose, purple, and neutrals, and even included bold stripes and bright retro prints.
The styles were almost as varied as the colors and patterns, there were oversized menswear-inspired cuts (one even modeled by Jacquetta Wheeler!), seventies style all-over prints, mod belted-tunic coats over cropped pants, and even shorts & skirts.
With the suits were seriously cute colorblock-toed boots, bow-adorned Oxfords with thick heels & platforms, low-heeled loafers and an array of top handled bags in a rainbow of colors.
Need more? The Sartorialist has got you covered.
This was Alber Elbaz’s 10 year anniversary and Lanvin was, as always, a dazzling show of color, frivolity and fun. The sexy, body hugging dresses came in every color you could imagine – teal, marigold, cobalt blue, tangerine, purple – and there were prints galore as well. These dresses are for a girl with a good time on her mind. Girls night out. Bachelorette party. Date night. There were dresses for all occasions on this runway.
The middle section of the show was a bit more dramatic, it contained two dozen looks in darker tones with leather, velvet, embroidery, brocade and jeweled details to up the drama. From light and easy to drama drama drama, Lanvin has you covered ladies.
The twenty-six piece collection for Celine was bold and architectural, featuring separates, oversized outerwear, a handful of dresses and some great bags and shoes. Lots of crisp white with touches of black leather and dashes of blue, red and pink. Colorful in a minimal and chic way, Phoebe Philo’s specialty.
The wedges and zip up mid-calf boots were incredibly wearable, but it was the clutches that really made my day. From envelope style to large and overstuffed, they were absolutely sumptuous.
The “beauty in the future” Alexander McQueen show was all about volume and extravagant drama. The show began with dresses that brought to mind explosions of flower petals, paired with futuristic black sunglasses and striking metallic belts that encircled the models and appeared to keep them grounded.
From there the drama only increased, and in Tim Blanks’s words: “The show’s progression from pure white to the grandest possible finale of red and black felt like a journey from innocence to experience.”
Wearable? No. Eye-catching, breathtaking and dramatic? Oh. Yeah.
Marc Jacobs’s Louis Vuitton show was by far the most fantastical during Paris Fashion Week Fall 2012. A real steam engine? But of course!
Exaggerated silhouettes, large vintage-style buttons, all-over prints and suits with a skirt & pants worn together may not have been wholly original concepts this season, but you have to hand it to Marc Jacobs to put his own personal spin on these pieces to make them 100% Louis Vuitton. For starters he added oversized, banded Stephen Jones hats to his looks (almost reminiscent of his Marc Jacobs show for New York Fashion Week Fall 2012), shimmery fabrics with block-like patterns, art deco inspired sequined detailing, contrasting collars, and an array of gorgeous shoes and handbags. Oh, and bellhops to carry the bags.
And as always, the accessories and extras for the Louis Vuitton collection were beyond drool worthy. Gorgeous oversized handbags, monogrammed & patterned hat boxes (one of my favorite things of all time), railway trunks, retro doctor’s bags and all the luggage you could want in everything from orange fur to green crocodile to classic LV neutrals. WANT.
The gorgeous Yves Saint Laurent Fall 2012 Ready-To-Wear show was bittersweet as Stefano Pilati announced it was his last collection for the house. The primarily dark hued show was sleek and dramatic. Nipped waists, rubber & latex trims, chain mail pieces & accents, metallic pumps, black leather pants, and shiny, deep crimson nail polish & lipstick all came together to create and sexy, gothic dream.
I really liked the dark florals paired with leather and tougher fabrics with a little edge. I also adored the sexy necklines and low backs in this collection, I think that the back is such a beautiful part of a woman’s body and I wish more designers would create pieces that highlight it this way.
And I saved the best for last… Pilati also showed the jumpsuits & Le Smoking Suits from YSL’s 70s heyday – Classics reworked!
As always Nicolas Ghesquière’s Balenciaga collection was striking and eye-catching. Shiny metallic draping, sheer skirts with bands of shimmery fabric at the bottoms, oversized outerwear in cocoon and balloon silhouettes, slashes of brilliantly colored animal prints, silkscreened t-shirts with bright graphics and great color combinations all made the show quite theatrical.
Oh Nina… Nina Ricci was dark, dramatic, and a little dishevelled. The clothes had an air of being slightly undone – sleeves long enough to covered the models’ hands, collars and hemlines askew, slits a little too high, exposed tops of thigh-highs. But there was also an air of boudoir comfort in the silks, sheer tops and visible camisole straps. The Nina Ricci woman is nothing if not confident – comfortable whether she’s wearing her slip under a tweed suit or exposing a little skin when her dress strap slips off a shoulder.
I loved the whole feel of this collection, the tousled elegance was beautiful and carefree. Very French. I loved the satin slip dresses in deep amethyst worn with furs and my favorite dress was the pale periwinkle & grey tweed with faux fur collar & sleeves.
And the shoes at Nina Ricci were nothing short of phenomenal. I want them all.
You can see more photographs of these gorgeous clothes here and a runway video here.
See By Chloe, the younger sibling of Chloe, showed a great, wearable collection via the invitation only website Digitalfashionshows.com. The primarily black, white & red looks included chic separates, flowy maxis, peasant dresses, well-tailored jackets and adorable pointy-toed booties in black, cream and tan. My favorite look was a red corduroy suit with a plunging neckline and double-breasted buttons.
You can see more pictures from FabSugar.
Swoon! Roland Mouret’s collection was lustrous and elegant, his show included everything from subtle animal print suits to pastel and muted plaid pantsuits to gorgeous dresses with flattering twisted & draped fabric to beautiful separates and skirts with peplums to a series of lavender-grey lace dresses.
This was a collection for a sexy professional working woman. The clothes ranged from what she’d wear for after-work cocktails with colleagues to running into the office to finish a project on a Saturday to her Board Meeting power suits. I would wear virtually every piece from this collection. Any one want to buy it for me?
You should definitely look at more pictures from this collection.
The collection that Dries van Noten showed in Paris was full of black, white and blue prints – prints that covered everything from coats and dresses to button downs and floor-length gowns. But those weren’t the only prints, he also included Asian inspired gold dragons, geometric patterns in orange and yellow, traditional Japanese graphics, and more conventional stripes and florals for Fall. The show also included great outerwear – coats with larger silhouettes as we’ve been seeing all over the runways these past few weeks, as well as fur-lined Anoraks, and belted knee-length wool jackets
Mr. van Noten is a man known for his attention to detail and that’s especially evident when you get a good look at the intricacies and various components included in his prints, patterns, and color combinations.
Balmain was all about high-low mixing. Elaborate embroidery and intricate details paired with a more relaxed lower half in beautiful velvets and hip-hugging leather. The rock n’ roll mini dresses with dramatic shoulders were present, but this season they appeared in white, covered in crystals or embroidered with flowers. And even the famous Balmain bandleader jacket got a reworked, appearing squarer and more relaxed in the fit with less showy shoulder pads.
In the mood for more from the Paris shows? You can view photos & videos from some shows that I didn’t have time to review over here: Rochas, Carven, Gareth Pugh, Mugler, Sonia Rykiel and Isabel Marant.
*** Please note that I do not advocate the use of fur in fashion and personally make an effort not to wear or carry fur, exotic skins or leather. I believe that in this day in age there are many beautiful alternatives to these products which are cruelty-free and should be utilized instead.
Photographs from Style.com unless otherwise cited.