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