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.
While I am dying to attend New York Fashion Week and seeing the Paris shows (and attending the Vogue costume party!) would be a dream come true, there is a special place in my heart for Milan Fashion Week. Not only do I love Italy and Italian fashion, a large part of my personal style was developed when I was 21 and living in Rome so I personal relate.
Shall we start the Milan Fashion Week Fall 2012 coverage off on a funky note? Here we go…
According to designer Christopher Kane and his benefactor Donatella Versace, the Versus show look the original center of punk and grunge as its muse – the area known as Camden in London. The collection composed primarily of dresses came out in deep cranberry, cobalt blue, fuchsia, blue and yellow, all with a little bit of a rock n’ roll. flair to them.
The leather details & mini skirts, lace-up pants, cut outs, sheer panels and over-the-knee boots embraced the edgier side of the collection while there was still something soft in the prints, cocoon coats and babydoll dresses. The Versus girl clearly knows how to have a good time, but also has a sweet side.
Drama Drama Drama. The Versace show was a little bit Marilyn Manson and a little bit Girt With The Dragon Tattoo. Donatella showed everything from a studded black leather dress to a corset covered in a giant blue crystal crucifix to neon yellow halters to vinyl trimmed fish net tights to chain mail and buckle-covered combat boots. All worn with Rooney Mara’s über short, blunt bangs.
Dramatic and eye-catching, that’s for sure. The devil, so to speak, was in the details though. The studded leather bags were gorgeous, up close the embroidered crucifixes almost looked like flowers, the giant belt buckles had a superhero-style V in the center and the chain mail details were extraordinarily intricate and beautifully made.
Moschino was fun, youthful and cute. Bandleader jackets paired with cheerleader skirts and beehives? In bright yellow, red and blue? Only Moschino could pull that off in Milan, that’s for sure. But pull it off Rossella Jardini did.
Her irreverent collection also included black velvet Stetsons, military-style double-breasted thick wool pea coats, adorably retro shift dresses in black & white, fun checks, houndstooth & plaid, and some good old-fashioned gold Italian embroidery.
For more pictures check out Fashionologie.
Per usual the Roberto Cavalli show was all about glitz and glamour. Vibrant animal prints, shimmering sequins, iridescent scales, fur and feathers, embroidery and brocades… All the over-the-top lux that Mr. Cavalli loves. The details of this collection were really breathtaking. The tailoring and hand-stitching and attention to every tiny facet of the clothing and accessories. Truly impressive.
My favorite pieces were the leopard print lace-up booties, purple elbow-length leather gloves, the brushed velvet-looking cropped jackets and the gold sequined peplum cocktail dress.
The unquestionable highlight of this show? Miss Naomi Campbell closed the show!
Leather & lace. The Salvatore Ferragamo collection can be summed up in two words – leather & lace. Massimiliano Giornetti showed gorgeous looks in contrasting fabrics, cuts and moods. Tough, military-inspired belted jackets paired with soft, flowy skirts in chiffon and lace. Gorgeous knee-length coats with brass buttons worn over lacy and sheer tops. Chunky knits with leather skirts and pants.
The jackets and coats were by far my favorite pieces of the collection. The buttons and details on the collars and pockets were divine. You can get a feel from looking at them that the designer does menswear as well.
The Giorgio Armani collection titled “Easy Chic” ran the gamut from sexy grey suits to brightly patterned separates to sherbet colored dresses, all worn with wide-brimmed hats set at a jaunty angle and fingerless gloves in plaid and leopard print. It was a surprisingly youthful and lackadaisical show compared to what we’ve come to expect from Giorgio Armani, but still appealing to his usual sophisticated clientele.
You can see more pictures over at Fashionology.
The dark and ominous collection that Frida Giannini showed for Gucci was sexy and decadent. She used sumptuous fabrics and vibrant colors to highlight the black, olive-green and navy that made up the background pieces. She showed a wide range of pieces – wide leg, flowy pants with a pajama-like feel, dark floral maxi dresses, body-skimming long-sleeved dresses in velvet and brocade, sheer blouses paired with leather pants, embroidered Jodhpurs tucked into knee-high riding boots and dramatic gowns with velvet belts and plunging necklines.
What caught my eye most were the extras. The soft wool capes, glossy patent leather bags, and sexy strappy heels.
Marni was all about color this season rather than the fun, cheeky prints that Consuelo Castiglioni usually sends down the runways of Milan. But don’t worry, there was still plenty of the lovable quirk Marni is known for. Outerwear, separates and dresses marched out in reds, blues, yellows and black & white, all with a slight retro feel.
I liked the white tights paired with gold-tipped Mary Jane’s, the drop waisted belted coats, I also loved the blunt Vidal Sassoon bangs, too cute.
Angela Missoni’s Fall 2012 collection for Missoni was all about Mother Nature and the great outdoors. She evoked this theme by pairing the traditional Missoni knits with other fabrics, leathers and furs to create layered looks that appeared to be made from bark and leaves and stone.
The marbling on the knits and the tightly wrapped layers were quite beautiful, at once both traditional Missoni and innovative.
You can see these earthy knits in action here.
The Dolce & Gabbana collection was intricate and sumptuous, filled with dramatic gold detailing, lace accents, sheer panels, tiaras-like lavishly beaded headbands, exaggerated earrings, dark hued Baroque inspired florals, cacoon shaped capes and lace knee-high socks.
Overall the show was dramatic and surprising. The ornate gilding of the clothes created almost a Papal feel while the sheer lace and tiered white dresses were a combination of innocence and understated sexuality with a old-world influence.
Gone was the vintage feel from her Pre-Fall 2012 collection, gone were the whimsical prints and floaty silhouettes from her Spring 2012 ready-To-Wear show. Alberta Ferretti’s Fall 2012 show was more masculine than we traditionally expect from her and more overtly sexy – with sheer blouses, leather body-con dresses and strategically placed translucent panels on gowns.
Alberta Ferretti always delivers beautiful, wearable dresses – my favorites here had layers of paper-thin, textured chiffon – but this season she also gave us gorgeous outerwear. Some in masculine pinstripes, some belted, some with leather collars, some with shearling trim, some hip length and some floor length.
Giorgio Armani called his Fall 2012 Ready-To-Wear collection for Emporio Armani “Little Winter Follies” but I didn’t see many follies. The show was awash in color for fall, in addition to black & white, there were splashes of brilliant coral, bright cobalt blue and luminous purple. Yes, each look was composed of many pieces and the styling was perhaps borderline excessive, but when you took apart the individual pieces there was a lot of sharp, wearable clothing.
I absolutely LOVED the stylish young French lady vibe from the collection, especially the first section full of blacks, whites and greys. The cute little hats, smart but fun blazers with lacy hems or black on black polka dots, chic bags, gloves & tights and comfortable flat shoes were mouth-watering!
The Bottega Veneta show was all about dark elegance. From beautifully tailored coats and skirt suits in black, navy and a somber dark purple to sexy, body skimming dresses in black, cream, lavender and brilliant prints – some had demure capsleeves & boatneck collars while others had dramatic, plunging necklines.
There were plenty of details worth getting a better look at as well – bright crystal embellishments, large retro brooches, stiff looking knee-high riding boots, feathery chiffon boleros, abstract florals and bright plaids, sleek elbow-length leather gloves and ankle boots and strappy pumps over visible socks. Oh, and a collection of handbags that I would KILL for.
Fendi was all about mixing the unexpected in interesting and new ways. Black leather with brown wool, navy tights with a midnight black dress, grey snake-skin leggings with a black patent crocodile skirt, contrasting colored spats on ankle boots, skirts composed of pleats and silk or leather, and giant prize-fighter style belts over sleek fabrics.
Prada’s Fall 32012 collection was heavy on the outerwear, even the dresses and long, draping tops had a coat-like quality about them. The tailoring and fabrics of this show were divine, the intricacies beautiful and timeless. The sequins, stones, embroidery and embellishments on the clothes gave them almost a vintage-feel while the hair and makeup evoked a futuristic reference.
The scene at MaxMara was sleek, monochromatic and masculine, and as always the suiting and outerwear was to die for. The show started with olive-green then seamlessly transitioned through black, camel, white and grey. The feel of the collection was a little bit military and a little bit sailor, with stripes, aviator jackets and caps, peacoats and greave-like sock & buckle accoutrement on the legs.
I loved the incredibly soft looking coats, worn open with popped collars, but I was absolutely smitten with the silky, loosely draping pants – in both cropped and full length. They were absolutely stunning!
Fashionology has more pictures or you can watch the show in action and see why I’m dying for a pair – or ten – of those pants.
The last show for Raf Simons at Jil Sander received a standing ovation on Saturday, much deserved adulation for the designer after seven years at the label. The collection was filled to the brim with beautiful coats and dresses, from the palest ballerina whites & pinks to black, navy, bold crimson and shimmery tinfoil silver.
The dresses were classic and body conscious while the coats had a much larger and more dramatic silhouette, mostly without buttons or ties, loosely draping or even held closed by the models. I loved the clean lines and that way color was used to make a statement rather than prints or layering. My absolute favorite part? The two strap heels that look like they were inspired by point shoes.
The whole collection looked like it could have been tailor-made for Audrey Hepburn’s turn as a runway model in Funny Face.
In the mood for more from the Italian runways? Check out the top looks from Harper’s Bazaar and Harper’s Bazaar UK, or you can see photos or videos from other shows that I didn’t have time to review: Etro, Emilio Pucci, Just Cavalli & Moschino Cheap & Chic.
Or you can check out just how far all of these Italian designers have come since their last collections: Milan Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Part I, Milan Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Part II and Milan Fashion Week Fall 2011.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Moi Contre La Vie’s Giveaway after Paris Fashion Week!
*** 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.