It’s the most beautiful and almost poetic display of fashion, a week where trends don’t matter and dresses turn into pure works of art: HAUTE COUTURE. Only a chosen few get to show their creations on the runway, in the prettiest city of them all, Paris. It’s lavish, it’s dramatic, it’s almost unreachable (Russian ladies like Lena Perminova and Miroslava Duma could wear Couture to bed if they wanted to) and it’s as dreamy as dreams can get. For this season, it was mostly about fantasy and fairy tales, magical forests and garden glamour. Here’s a recap, enojy!
This was the second Couture show for Raf Simons as Creative Director of Dior. His first and fabulous one happened last Fall. His debut was stellar and successful, the kind of success that makes you wonder: “Will he be able to beat himself this Spring?” To those who had that doubt, he definitely outdid himself wonderfully. The setting was a beautiful as the collection itself, the Tuleries. Inside the venue, a picture perfect garden and a white path. The white path where models strutted showing icy gowns, heavily embellished dresses, evening trouser ensembles completed with bustiers, floral embroideries adorned his perfectly constructed, hourglass silhouettes. Overall, it was a precious display of fashion, but above all, a confirmation of Raf Simons’ signature style and the direction Dior seems to be taking.
Giambattista Valli has become one of the favorites and if you ask me, among the most talented designers of the whole bunch. His ability to construct beautiful garments and make them unique goes beyond reason, he is a truly gifted man. For his Couture collection of the season, he didn’t disappoint (for me, it was the prettiest and dreamiest of them all). His theme: Flora and Fauna. His colors: lavender and pink in a sea of dramatic black. The highlight of the show: the meticulous floral embellishments, the lavish embroideries on the final dresses and the exquisite shapes. As for me, I’ve never been one to dream about marriage but as of now, I really, really want to get married in the pink and lavender number (now I need a ring, a groom, and a bunch of cash to get me that dress).
Welcome to Lagerfeld’s twisted version of an enchanted forest. As expected from him, the set itself has no rival and leaves no room for comparisons. The first part of the show was all about classic Chanel: suits and tweed. Tweed dresses, tweed ensembles, tweed coats, tweed, tweed and more tweed. Then along came the lightweight fabrics, the sheer textures, the embroidery and the drama. The whole collection had an air of lightness and elegance, smartly paired up with striking eye makeup and feather headpieces. The shoes (we have now understood that Karl loves to reinvent the boot), thigh high or open-toe, full lace, boots. At the end and as Couture tradition dictates, he sent not one, but two brides, making a statement of support for gay marriage in France.
Ah, Valentino never seems to disappoint. The Spring Couture show was proof about one thing, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli are doing a killer job as Creative Directors of the Italian brand (Mr. Garavani must be seriously proud). Critics have dubbed it the best show of the week, the pictures speak for themselves: Long, dramatic gowns with beautiful embroidery and embellishments, hints of sheer in all the right places, volume, tiers, asymmetrical hemlines, lace as you’ve never seen it before, almost poetic. It was magical, it was dreamy, it was everything a girl would want in a dress.
Where do I start? I know that Versace has created this strong woman, sensual siren image over the years. I know that after Gianni Versace, taking the reins of the brand might not have been the easiest job. I recognize Donatella’s hard work and I admire the fact that she has stayed true to her image and style so far. As for this collection, I just don’t get it. I don’t see the beauty in it (apart from two or three dresses), I see tacky, I see over-the-top and not in a good way (not that Mrs. Versace would care about my humble opinion). What I liked? Kristen McMenamy opening the show, the lavish venue, the magnificent Stella Tennant as the closer and the long, black, detailed gown. I just wish Atelier Versace would return to those Oscar-worthy dresses. I still remember Penelope Cruz on the red carpet, wearing that majestic blush creation.
Elie Saab knows what he does best and he definitely knows his clientele. He always stays on the same line of design, colors and shapes but he manages to give a special touch to each and every one of his collections. For his Spring 2013 show, he put out a light and pretty color palette (except for the poppy red and the hints of black). As always, his meticulous beading and embroidery were the stars of the show. The floral textured dresses were so rich and beautiful, I’m sure we are going to be seeing a couple of them on the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony. My favorite part? The long-sleeve dresses with the top embroidery and the volume, solid-colored skirts.I’ve never really been fond of Armani, I usually find his neverending runway shows a bit tedious and uneventful (I guess it’s a matter of style or taste, but he is not really my cup of tea). But this time, I have to admit, I was a bit surprised (in a good way). The show was filled with bold color, patterns and contrast, very different from his usual “1000 shades of gray” solid, silk, mid-length dresses. The evening trouser emsembles were the highlight of the show. It was refreshing and brave, and it payed off.
We love Jean Paul Gaultier, and after this Couture show, we love him even more. We love that he doesn’t need that “collection continuity” almost every designer has. He puts whatever he wants on that runway and it works, it works to perfection. The inspiration was clear: refined gypsy. The colors, the textures, the shapes, everything was spot on. Of course, his signature corset made an appearance in blush and with lots of tulle fell from it. The end was the biggest surprise of the show. A bride in an oversize, structured dress appeared on the runway. She lifted the dress, revealing four little girls, dressed in bright colored dresses, running down the catwalk!
My second, favorite show of the bunch. Gone With the Wind was certainly what this talented Russian had on her mind when putting together her Couture collection. After her first and very Russian show last Fall, she surprised us with a nostalgic and unique display of fashion. It was all about the bustier, the enhanced waist, the dramatic gowns, the womanly shapes. It was so beautiful that it seemed fresh out of a fairy tale. Just so you know, the models did come out of a giant fairy tale book. A beautiful set for a beautiful collection!
The craftsmanship, the details, the constructions, it all screamed artisan. After a bunch of dreamy and fairy tale collections, Maison Martin Margiela gave us just what we needed: the perfect twist. Each ensemble so unique and so beautifully made, there was something for every taste. Simple, sleeveless dresses for the minimal, heavily detailed garments for the over-the-top (I can totally Anna dell Russo working the final look of the show).
It was a magic Fashion Week, full of drama, dreams, but above all, fashion at its best! It’s almost time for the RTW shows, who’s excited?
Have a lovely weekend!
Illustrations: Ana Sofia Alanis
Image sources: Style.com
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