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.
Sources: Fashionologie, Style.com, Tom & Lorenzo, TopCoat & FabSugar
If you’re curious to see what these designers have shown on the couture catwalk in seasons past here are a few links to try – Spring 2012 Couture and Fall 2011 Couture.
Happy Monday my loves.
Is it just me, or are weekends getting shorter and shorter? Well, hopefully this can help soften the blow of yet another week starting…
This is such a great, clean look. Effortlessly striking. Arizona Muse has been all over the magazine pages and runways over the last year, and now she's starting to be just as dependable on the streets.
I didn't know that there was a way to make a puffy jacket look chic... Apparently you layer it with a blazer over a button down and tie. And for extra credit, add a hat!
Retro glamour at its finest. Evan has really been hitting her stride with these old school looks lately, somehow she manages to make them look fresh and modern rather than cookie cutter Bettie Page. Well done.
There is only one word for this look - striking. This dress is nothing short of show-stopping. If you saw her, could you help but stop and stare? It's not traditional or typical, but those don't seem to be high on her priority list for the red carpet. And her hair looks a million times better with the bangs swept to the side.
Whether you're sick to death of her or a big fan, you have to admit Miss Jenny From The Block looks pretty fierce here. You know me, I'm a sucker for a great coat. Add some leopard print, Jackie O sunglasses and badass shoes & I'm sold!
A chilly looking Rosie strutted her stuff in New York in some KILLER Alaia boots. While leather pants/leggings aren't something the average woman can pull off, this is a great example of how a statement coat and great shoes are all you need to make a look work. She could easily be wearing a dress under that coat or plain black pants, it's the extras that make it drool-worthy.
(You can see the Frugal Fashionista’s breakdown of this look here
I love to feature fashion bloggers in my Looks of the Week posts and this is Justyna from Chameleonic's second appearance. What I love about this look is that it's simple and eclectic at the same time. Nothing is more timeless than a trench - but its spiced up by leopard heels and a bright fuchsia faux fur scarf.
Leave it to stylist Rachel Zoe to throw together the PERFECT black & white look. It's a little bit hippie with the flowy white maxi & tons of Chanel chains but the chic blazer & wide snake-skin belt keep the look structured and put together.
Have a good night!
The Couture shows in Paris always evoke images of sumptuous frivolity for me, I imagine Marie Antoinette as the original Couture It Girl (think Sophia Coppola’s 2006 picture – whatever the film’s critics had to say – the colors, scenery, costumes and settings were sublime). And luckily for us, this year’s shows did not disappoint.
Paris’s Fall 2011 Couture shows took place last week and between the gloriously decadent shows were the usual dinners, parties and openings attended by European jet-setters, fashion insiders, A-listers and Hollywood elite.
Alexis Mabille may have had one of the most unusual (and furred and feathered) muses of the season, taking as his theme the animal fables of La Fontaine. The gowns were adorned with feathers, lace, velvet and fur.
Armani took Japan as his major influence and while he shows some great pants-based looks, I loved how the pale watercolor florals of this sweeping sheath gown complimented the one of a kind Philip Treacy hat.
The 25 look collection presented by Azzedine Alaia was his first couture show in 8 years and ended with a standing ovation. And with looks like this one, who can blame the stunned audience. One guest was even quoted saying: "There's everyone else. Then there's Alaïa."
The Chanel show was all about the tweed suit and while some of the silhouettes may not have been the most wearable, there was a hint of Coco in each and every one. This suit turned gown with an almost ombre color scheme and fingerless gloves was my favorite, it definitely stood out in a predominately dark hued collection.
- My favorite part of the Chanel show? The lacy black barely there masks worn throughout. Ooh la la!
Everyone's favorite fairy god-father did not disappoint this season, Elie Saab showed a gorgeous collection of gowns and cocktail frocks. And while I adored the navy blue gowns, dripping in sequins and lace, this sugary sweet fairytale dress caught my eye. Can't you just imagine Siri Tollerod skipping around a wildflower strew meadow as a nymph from Greek legends?
The Givenchy show was everything I've ever loved about couture. A handful of extraordinarily time-consuming to produce pieces with unbelievable detail and a mix of patterns and fabrics and textures. Even the most jaded of modern consumers would be hard pressed to look at Riccardo Tisci's vision and see anything less than works of art.
Jean Paul Gaultier has built a legacy on producing shocking and provocative runway shows, and this year's retrospective touched on some of his memorable presentations over the years, all with just a touch of Black Swan.
The Valentino show was the perfect mix of fantasy and reality, a collection that combined the delicate gowns of every girl's red carpet dreams and some ornate, but wearable, outerwear and extras. And while gowns in Valentino-red made an appearance, this look really caught my eye. I love the shade and fabric of the coat, the buttons and neckline and the dreamy, far-away look on the model's face.
And after all the gorgeous but high-maintenance clothing that we’ve all come to expect from the couture lines, Bouchra Jarrar and Anne Valerie Hash were a breath of tulle and lace-free fresh air.
I love the creamy colors and relaxed lines of these separates (Anne Valerie Hash), especially the top with the slightly ruffled sleeves & dainty buttons.
Bouchra Jarrar's collection was primarily black, white and dove grey, with striking splashes of cobalt blue. I'm a big fan of suits, so I love it when a designer shows interesting or unique details like the neckline on this cropped jacket.
The couture season is always home to a few wildcards, someone whose creativity and showmanship outweigh their desire to produce clothing that most women could feasibly done in their lifetimes (except Daphne Guinness of course, she can wear anything) and this year the house that took the cake for the most out-there, never going to be worn on the street look was…
Bill Gaytten for Christian Dior. Holy overkill Batman!
And finally, congratulations go to Giambattista Valli who showed his first couture collection this past week. A collection, I might add, that’s production seems to say “don’t let the economy get you down!”
I love the lines and exquisite simplicity of this frock, embellished perfectly at the hem, neckline, sleeves and waist. Floral applique pumps are the perfect finishing touch.
The details were the real treat at Giambattista Valli, the headpieces reminded me of a cross between old-fashioned bathing caps and flapper headdresses, and virtually all the looks were cinched with a floral-inspired golden belt.
Stay tuned for my next post, which will feature all of the fashion-insiders and lucky A-listers who were blessed to receive invites to the exclusive shows and soirees in Paris this last week.
Au revoir mes amis!
Photos courtesy of Style.com‘s coverage of the Paris 2011 couture shows