Couture Couture Couture

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.

Divine!

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.

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  1. Couture – Front Row Fashion & Street Style « Moi Contre La Vie - July 11, 2012

    […] me, a big part of the fun of a week of runway shows – like the Fall 2012 Couture collections –  is seeing the street style looks that the lucky attendees put together for the shows, […]

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