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.
The Spring 2012 Couture shows began this past Monday and made me long desperately for warmer weather and a chance to show some skin.
As usual Christian Dior was a ladylike affaire, with prim and proper silhouettes taking on a racy feel with see through fabrics. The show was primarily black and white with the occasional splash of lipstick red or bright purple. Prints like houndstooth, checks, plaid and stripes appeared next to florals and fabrics ranged from heavy tweeds and wools to leather to sheer chiffon and lace. All paired with peep & round-toed pumps and opera-length gloves.
How sweet is this? Maud Welzen was a 50's housewife in this traditional, Mad Men inspired knee-length, belted floral frock.
Lee Hye Jung's gown was intricate and complex, seemingly a retro bathing suit with a floor-length sheer skirt with paneling details and a cape draped over one side. All in royal purple. Perhaps not red-carpet reading, but striking nonetheless.
Dying to see more of the decadent gowns Dior showed? Tom & Lorenzo have a look by look breakdown here
Giambattista Valli‘s second couture collection took on a hint of old school glamour, especially visible in the dramatic floral and patterned gowns. There were pants and sumptuous outerwear as well, but the emphasis was definitely on knee-length dresses and red carpet ready gowns.
This dress is everything the collection embodied - Black & white, exquisite details, sheer panels, embroidery, sequins and a buttoned-up feel with an edge.
The Spring 2012 Atelier Versace show only featured a handful of looks, but they were dramatic and celebrity ready. Lace, sequins and rosette encrusted gowns, retro bathing suit inspired one piece looks and gold-plated gladiator heels.
A skin-tight icy blue-gray strapless gown with sheer lacy panels was one of the standout looks. Can't you imagine this on the red carpet? I bet Rosie would look just as great in it as Daria Strokous.
Lindsey Wixson was pure Versace in a neon yellow, stapless maillot with metallic detailing and armored heels.
Tom & Lorenzo didn’t love the Atelier Versace collection but predict
that Lady Gaga will wear these pieces with pride!
Giorgio Armani served up quite a show for his Armani Prive line’s Spring 2012 Couture collection. The first thing that struck me when I looked through the photos for this collection were the combination of fabrics and colors. Gold mesh, silver and green satin, navy knits, neon animal skins, midnight blue and olive-green sequins, Easter basket colored feathers and geometric prints on virtually everything. It was really a spectacular visual feast.
A striking pantsuit in varying shades of green and gold. The mesh-style fabrics made each piece incredibly distinct.
Want more pictures? FabSugar has a detailed look by look breakdown here
The Chanel show was an absolute dream to watch. The color scheme ranged from blue-grey to powder blue to royal blue to midnight blue. The dropped waists and pocket-adorned dresses were my favorite – they were a chic, modern twist on retro favorites and the wide boat-neck collars were both fun and flattering. The outerwear was divine: floor-length button-up coats & suits, Victorian-style embroidered jackets over gowns, cropped bolleros with puffed sleeves… All done in beautiful fabrics – tweed, silk, satin, sequins, chiffon, and endless embroidery.
I can't decide what I like more, the 20's-inspired petal design of the skirt, the sequin-topped tights or the sheer black cap-sleeves.
The opening look was my favorite. The color is beautiful and wearable, the pockets & elongated neckline are cute additions and the multi-strap heels are the ideal finishing touch.
This sheath-like silhouette is anything but boring with the wide collar and rows of pockets. And of course the best shoes I've seen from the shows so far.
Lust! A floor length, double-breasted, wide-necked coat with slouchy pockets done in a brilliant blue? I'll take three!
Ready to see all of the gowns that will be showing up on red carpets the world over in the next few weeks? Welcome to Elie Saab. Celebrity outfitter extraordinaire! If I had to describe this collection in one word it would be dreamy. The pale, creamy pastels, the subtle shine and sequins, the intricate detailing, floral embroidery, the use of sheer fabrics and lace to add depth… You have to give him credit, he knows what his clients want and he continually gives it to them – Beautiful, flattering, uncomplicated gowns that make them look elegant and chic.
So gorgeous! This one will be perfect for a tall, statuesque woman. Charlize Theron or Uma Thurman would look phenomenal.
This has all the beauty and detailing of a couture gown, but it's fresh and young, it would be the ideal choice for one of the younger ladies on the red carpet these days - Hailee Steinfeld or Chloe Moretz perhaps.
The wide neck of this powder blue confection helps to create a graceful neckline, while the slight trumpet flare of the skirt elongates the figure.
Oh, in the market for a wedding dress? Elie's got you covered - Just hand over your life's savings. 🙂
Compared to the light and airy collections presented by most of the fashion houses, Riccardo Tisci” Givenchy Haute Couture collection was dark, dramatic and filled with angst. The small show (10 looks) was organized into three sets – crocodile, crystal and black & white. The looks were complex and sophisticated as Tisci’s work usually is, but what I loved most was the softness of the low backs on the gowns, exposing the slender backs of his models.
And the strangest addition? Giant, and I mean giant, nose rings…
The crystal and sequin encrusted straps and the opulence and intricacies of the fabric were complimented beautifully with the loose draping of the sleeves and back of the dress.
Natasha Poly's art deco embellished loose white gown was divine. The floral crystal arrangements at the waist and the sequin-adorned sleeves were beautiful but I couldn't take my eyes off of the gorgeous collar.
Crocodile indeed! The armor-like breastplate was an interesting juxtaposition against the delicate embroidery and lace of the sleeves and skirt of this gown.
While many designers have found inspiration in the work of famous artists, Jean Paul Gaultier’s latest muse may have still come as something of a surprise to some – Amy Winehouse. Unlikely, yes and vaguely surreal for Couture, but stunning down to the last look as always. The hair, the makeup, the stylish… Dramatic, iconic and well done. My favorite part was Karlie Kloss’s orange beehive & silk pajama look, which she worked like nobody’s business.
Absolutely divine! Navy pinstripes mixed with giant burnished orange and navy polka dots and an orange beehive? Only Karlie could take this up another level to sultry.
That collar! Those delicate puff sleeves! The minimal slits at the ankles! All paired with a gorgeous cuff bracelet, snake-skin clutch, chandelier earrings and a cotton candy blue wig. It should look like a caricature but somehow it works.
Tom & Lorenzo has conflicting opinions of this show, which can you read here
The Valentino Haute Couture show was truly amazing, the collection composed primarily of exquisitely detailed floral dresses was made up of paper-thin layers of silk, lace, embroidery, tulle, chiffon and the delicate outerwear of heavier velvet and brocades. All worn with dainty, patterned court shoes.
One of the few pants looks this was no less extraordinary in its composition with lace and ribbon detailing, white-on-white embroidery and brocades mixed in.
The artistry on these gowns is truly phenomenal, the sheer lace embroidered with white flowers, the layers upon layers of virtually insubstaintial fabric that make up the floating skirts.
I’ll be back with the front row and street style looks from the 2012 Couture shows tomorrow or Tuesday!