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Paris Fashion Week Fall 2012

Well, after a crazy month of fashion we’ve finally arrived – the final week of collections for Fall 2012. After New York, London and Milan you’d think that the fashion world would be too exhausted to muster up much enthusiasm for the Paris shows, but that is never the case. Instead Paris is the culmination of all the weeks of runway shows, the center of the fashion universe, with designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada and Nicolas Ghesquière and houses like Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton keeping it in the spotlight.

Karl Lagerfeld took nature as his muse and created a dramatic spectacle filled with giant crystal stalagmites and an icy snowscape for a runway. The Chanel Fall 2012 collection was predominately dark with the occasional splash of brilliant green, purple, pink, yellow and blue. What did Uncle Karl give us this season that will soon be all the rage? A new combination of separates – Jacket, skirt AND pants. One version that he showed was wrought in Chanel tweed with purple undertones and had a flared skirt, a boxy high-neck jacket and slim, cropped pants.

He also showed great outerwear – cozy ankle-length dusters, cropped open jackets with big pockets, sleeveless mid-thigh length collared coats worn over a cropped jacket, and of course the traditional tweeds.

The accessories were just as striking as the clothes for this show. Gem encrusted belts, mineral formation-inspired shoes, floral pins, sequined embroidery on sleeves & collars, and jeweled bracelets & purses that looked like they were adorned with roughly cut amethyst and pyrite.

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What was one of the first and most striking things that you noticed during the show? The brilliant jeweled eyebrows sported by the models – made by the couture embroidery house Lesage.

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The Fall 2012 show for Valentino was beautiful and demure, with dramatic undertones. The collection included lots of leather, lace, native & floral prints, separates with sweet details, long dresses, vivid outerwear & capes, jumpsuits, ankle strap heels, and of course, the always striking Valentino Red.

The show was inspired by folk costumes and that theme was picked up in the knee-length capes, braided updos and provincial prints, but it was the separates, accessories, pale embroidery and dresses that really caught my eye.

Need more Valentino? Check out the runway video or more pictures.

The Chloe collection for Fall 2012 was relaxed but chic, with a certain nonchalance that we’ve come to enjoy from this house over the years. The pieces included wide leg pants, belted & large pocket-adorned dresses, lacy coats & zip-up jackets, chunky sweaters, pencil skirts and shirtdresses in an array of colors – pale peach, blue and pink, antique white, burgundy and midnight blue.

The accessories and details for Chloe were quite sweet – satin, pastel ankle strap heels, dainty belts, lacy edges and muted, girly plaids.

See the video here or look through additional photographs of these lovely clothes here.

While Christian Dior remained at the center of rumors and speculation, Bill Gaytten put together an outstanding runway show full of black and soft colors like dove grey, ballerina pink, and pale, pale lavender. The clothes may not have been innovative and new, but I think most audience members would agree with me that the pieces were incredibly beautiful and wearable. I especially liked the flowy skirts in soft colors paired with ankle strap ballet-inspired heels and mixed with harder fabrics and edgy pieces like leather adorned cropped jackets or boxy tweed coats.

I absolutely fell in love with the separates and the accessories – the bags, jewelry and shoes were unbelievable. I want one of each please. Please?

Ford Models has a great backstage view of the dresses and there are more pictures of these great pieces here.

Natalia Vodianova was the first of many top models on the runway for the smart, fun collection by Stella McCartney. Others included Anja Rubik, Karlie Kloss, Kasia Struss, Lindsey Wixson and the It Girl for the Fall 2012 fashion shows Cara Delevingne – younger sister of Poppy Delevingne. 

The models strutted their stuff in black and brilliant blue with a few splashes of pink and grey. The pieces were minimal and sleek in silhouette but with unique additions like color on color embroidery, asymmetrical zippers, high necklines, colorblocking and interesting fabrics. Pants & skirt suits, separates, dresses and divine outerwear were the order of the day.

On my must have list? The velvety embroidered portfolio clutches and oh-so-flattering dresses with the high necks and the flippy, cheerleader-inspired skirts. Perfect with tights, a cropped jacket & heels for Fall.

There’s a runway video or more photos if you’re still in the mood for more Stella.

Pants! Pants! Pants! Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu show was all about pantsuits. The colors ranged from shades of blue, gold, rose, purple, and neutrals, and even included bold stripes and bright retro prints.

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The styles were almost as varied as the colors and patterns, there were oversized menswear-inspired cuts (one even modeled by Jacquetta Wheeler!), seventies style all-over prints, mod belted-tunic coats over cropped pants, and even shorts & skirts.

With the suits were seriously cute colorblock-toed boots, bow-adorned Oxfords with thick heels & platforms, low-heeled loafers and an array of top handled bags in a rainbow of colors.

Need more? The Sartorialist has got you covered.

This was Alber Elbaz’s 10 year anniversary and Lanvin was, as always, a dazzling show of color, frivolity and fun. The sexy, body hugging dresses came in every color you could imagine – teal, marigold, cobalt blue, tangerine, purple – and there were prints galore as well. These dresses are for a girl with a good time on her mind. Girls night out. Bachelorette party. Date night. There were dresses for all occasions on this runway.

The middle section of the show was a bit more dramatic, it contained two dozen looks in darker tones with leather, velvet, embroidery, brocade and jeweled details to up the drama. From light and easy to drama drama drama, Lanvin has you covered ladies.

Watch the wonderful runway show here or view more pictures here and here.

The twenty-six piece collection for Celine was bold and architectural, featuring separates, oversized outerwear, a handful of dresses and some great bags and shoes. Lots of crisp white with touches of black leather and dashes of blue, red and pink. Colorful in a minimal and chic way, Phoebe Philo’s specialty.

The wedges and zip up mid-calf boots were incredibly wearable, but it was the clutches that really made my day. From envelope style to large and overstuffed, they were absolutely sumptuous.

Check out Garance Dore‘s video from the runway or more pictures from Fashionologie.

The “beauty in the future” Alexander McQueen show was all about volume and extravagant drama. The show began with dresses that brought to mind explosions of flower petals, paired with futuristic black sunglasses and striking metallic belts that encircled the models and appeared to keep them grounded. 

From there the drama only increased, and in Tim Blanks’s words: “The show’s progression from pure white to the grandest possible finale of red and black felt like a journey from innocence to experience.”

Wearable? No. Eye-catching, breathtaking and dramatic? Oh. Yeah.

 

You can see the runway show here or additional photographs of the collection here and here.

Marc Jacobs’s Louis Vuitton show was by far the most fantastical during Paris Fashion Week Fall 2012. A real steam engine? But of course!

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Exaggerated silhouettes, large vintage-style buttons, all-over prints and suits with a skirt & pants worn together may not have been wholly original concepts this season, but you have to hand it to Marc Jacobs to put his own personal spin on these pieces to make them 100% Louis Vuitton. For starters he added oversized, banded Stephen Jones hats to his looks (almost reminiscent of his Marc Jacobs show for New York Fashion Week Fall 2012), shimmery fabrics with block-like patterns, art deco inspired sequined detailing, contrasting collars, and an array of gorgeous shoes and handbags. Oh, and bellhops to carry the bags.

And as always, the accessories and extras for the Louis Vuitton collection were beyond drool worthy. Gorgeous oversized handbags, monogrammed & patterned hat boxes (one of my favorite things of all time), railway trunks, retro doctor’s bags and all the luggage you could want in everything from orange fur to green crocodile to classic LV neutrals. WANT.

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The runway show can be watched here or you can see more pictures of this extravaganza here.

The gorgeous Yves Saint Laurent Fall 2012 Ready-To-Wear show was bittersweet as Stefano Pilati announced it was his last collection for the house. The primarily dark hued show was sleek and dramatic. Nipped waists, rubber & latex trims, chain mail pieces & accents, metallic pumps, black leather pants, and shiny, deep crimson nail polish & lipstick all came together to create and sexy, gothic dream.

I really liked the dark florals paired with leather and tougher fabrics with a little edge. I also adored the sexy necklines and low backs in this collection, I think that the back is such a beautiful part of a woman’s body and I wish more designers would create pieces that highlight it this way.

And I saved the best for last… Pilati also showed the jumpsuits & Le Smoking Suits from YSL’s 70s heyday – Classics reworked!

Check out the  runway video and more pictures from this collection.

As always Nicolas Ghesquière’s Balenciaga  collection was striking and eye-catching. Shiny metallic draping, sheer skirts with bands of shimmery fabric at the bottoms, oversized outerwear in cocoon and balloon silhouettes, slashes of brilliantly colored animal prints, silkscreened t-shirts with bright graphics and great color combinations all made the show quite theatrical.

You can find more pictures here and here, or watch the video here.

Oh Nina… Nina Ricci was dark, dramatic, and a little dishevelled. The clothes had an air of being slightly undone – sleeves long enough to covered the models’ hands, collars and hemlines askew, slits a little too high, exposed tops of thigh-highs. But there was also an air of boudoir comfort in the silks, sheer tops and visible camisole straps. The Nina Ricci woman is nothing if not confident – comfortable whether she’s wearing her slip under a tweed suit or exposing a little skin when her dress strap slips off a shoulder.

I loved the whole feel of this collection, the tousled elegance was beautiful and carefree. Very French. I loved the satin slip dresses in deep amethyst worn with furs and my favorite dress was the pale periwinkle & grey tweed with faux fur collar & sleeves.

And the shoes at Nina Ricci were nothing short of phenomenal. I want them all.

You can see more photographs of these gorgeous clothes here and a runway video here.

See By Chloe, the younger sibling of Chloe, showed a great, wearable collection via the invitation only website Digitalfashionshows.com. The primarily black, white & red looks included chic separates, flowy maxis, peasant dresses, well-tailored jackets and adorable pointy-toed booties in black, cream and tan. My favorite look was a red corduroy suit with a plunging neckline and double-breasted buttons.

You can see more pictures from FabSugar.

Swoon! Roland Mouret’s collection was lustrous and elegant, his show included everything from subtle animal print suits to pastel and muted plaid pantsuits to gorgeous dresses with flattering twisted & draped fabric to beautiful separates and skirts with peplums to a series of lavender-grey lace dresses.

This was a collection for a sexy professional working woman. The clothes ranged from what she’d wear for after-work cocktails with colleagues to running into the office to finish a project on a Saturday to her Board Meeting power suits. I would wear virtually every piece from this collection. Any one want to buy it for me?

You should definitely look at more pictures from this collection.

The collection that Dries van Noten showed in Paris was full of black, white and blue prints – prints that covered everything from coats and dresses to button downs and floor-length gowns. But those weren’t the only prints, he also included Asian inspired gold dragons, geometric patterns in orange and yellow, traditional Japanese graphics, and more conventional stripes and florals for Fall. The show also included great outerwear – coats with larger silhouettes as we’ve been seeing all over the runways these past few weeks, as well as fur-lined Anoraks, and belted knee-length wool jackets

Mr. van Noten is a man known for his attention to detail and that’s especially evident when you get a good look at the intricacies and various components included in his prints, patterns, and color combinations.

See the runway show or more photos here.

Balmain was all about high-low mixing. Elaborate embroidery and intricate details paired with a more relaxed lower half in beautiful velvets and hip-hugging leather. The rock n’ roll mini dresses with dramatic shoulders were present, but this season they appeared in white, covered in crystals or embroidered with flowers. And even the famous Balmain bandleader jacket got a reworked, appearing squarer and more relaxed in the fit with less showy shoulder pads.

FabSugar & The Sartorialist have more pictures or you can watch the runway show.

In the mood for more from the Paris shows? You can view photos & videos from some shows that I didn’t have time to review over here: Rochas, Carven, Gareth Pugh, Mugler, Sonia Rykiel and Isabel Marant.

Want to see what the Parisian designers have done in past seasons? Check out Paris Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Part I, Spring Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Part II and Paris Fashion Week Fall 2011.

 

*** 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.

Photographs from Style.com unless otherwise cited.

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Couture Love

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. 🙂

 
Visit The Fashion Spot or Tom & Lorenzo for additional pictures & commentary on this beautiful show. 
 
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!
 
 
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Milan Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Street Style & Front Row Fashion

The great events and parties during Milan Fashion Week included the AMFAR gala, the opening of Gucci Museo and dinners celebrating many of the shows.

Poppy Delevigne at the Gucci Museo Opening

Model Nadine Ponce captured after the Dolce show by Craig at Models Off Duty.

Natasha Poly and Isabeli Fontana stunned at the amfAR gala

Lily Donaldson pops a pose in chic black with her bike in Milano

Karlie Kloss is perfectly coiffed and adorable in her ruffled mini shirtdress

I am an absolute sucker for the older Italian gentlemen that The Sartorialist shows on his site, so here’s one final Milanese look to tide you over until I’m back with the Parisian shows!

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