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.
“You can never be over – or underdressed in a Little Black Dress.” – Karl Lagerfeld
As far as I’m concerned, truer words have never been spoken. When Coco Chanel invented the Little Black Dress (aka LBD) in the 1920′s she had no idea what she was opening the fashion world up to. And with that brilliant idea the color of mourning was transformed into the chicest color of them all and the cocktail dress became the epitome of style and elegance.
In the years since its origination the LBD has come in many guises – formal, informal, short, midi, strapless, long sleeves, cotton, velvet, silk, lace, satin…
The original LBD was intended for an evening out on the town and that tradition definitely lives on in this day in age.
Short, sassy, chic.
And of course, we’ve got to discuss the 2012 red carpet It Girl who wore LBDs almost exclusively for her Girl With The Dragon Tattoo appearances and premieres…
The quickest & easiest way to make a dress evening-ready is to add jewelry and killer heels! Just keep them in your day bag and pull then out when cocktail hour arrives.
Wearing a LBD for work is all about length and appropriateness. You’ll want to stick with a drama-free dress, something sleek and approaching knee-length would be ideal.
And the best part of wearing a LBD to work? Take off your blazer or tights and switch up your shoes and you’re ready for a night out on the town!
Wearing a LBD during the day is a breeze, it’s all about picking one that suits your plans since they come in all shapes, sizes, and styles these days. Brunch, sight-seeing in a new city, traveling – You can easily add a little class to these activities with the perfect frock, dressed up or down.
In my Real Girls Need Real Closets post I discussed the basics that a well-rounded wardrobe should contain - including the LBD. Similarly you can check out My Ten Essential Closet Pieces from Wendy’s Lookbook.
So what do you think? Are you ready to try adding a Little Black Dress to another part of your life?
Have a great weekend, I’ll be back from sunny Sea Ranch on Sunday with some great vacation clothes shots! If you’re interested in real-time updates, photos, and reading links that I’m loving, follow me on Twitter or Facebook.
As I was adding a Rooney Mara photograph to Monday’s Looks of the Week when I decided I should probably dedicate an entire post to this little ingenue. She’s been making the rounds for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and has everyone talking. From gowns to two piece cocktail dresses to architectural separates, she always gives us something to discuss.
With her haircut growing out, severe black bangs and pale complexion, she made the wise decision to go for dramatic, high impact looks. And while you may not love everything that she’s photographed in, you have to admit that she’s making some very interesting, no-holds-barred choices.
Nothing safe and boring for this young lady.
Follow me for some of her most conversational looks from the last few weeks…
This Valentino gown is one of the most traditional looks that she’s put together. That being said, with her dramatic coloring, the striking hue of the dress and her blunt bangs, she still cuts a very striking figure.
I just adore this frock, it’s sweet but the silhouette, neckline, and color and unique and striking. It’s a great choice for a sit down TV interview.
I love this Givenchy jacket, which could be paired with pants in real life, but looks great here with a skirt, tights and platforms. A perfect dressy winter daytime look.
As you probably guessed, I’m not the only one keeping an eye on Rooney Mara. BellaSugar has a breakdown on the various ways she wears her bangs here and Harper’s Bazaar talks about her sleek chignon here. She’s also covered Vogue and Allure recently. WhoWhatWear even named her Girl of the Month way back in May of 2010.
So what do you think of Miss Mara’s personal style? Which of the one-of-a-kind looks above is your favorite one of hers to date?
Anyone can be a slave to new trends, it doesn’t take creativity or style to dress in a runway look head to toe. So what is style? What does it mean to be chic and stylish rather than a fashion victim?
Style is a very personal concept, it can be different for everyone. It’s about knowing you body type, knowing what looks good on you and knowing what you’ll be comfortable wearing. You can ignore every trend that ever graces a magazine cover and still be a fashion icon.
Good style is eternal.
Whether you consider Jane Birkin, Audrey Hepburn, Diana Vreeland or Lauren Hutton to be your ultimate style icon, there is something that each of these women possess. She is true to herself and has created a style that is inherently “her.”
What are the basic guidelines that every lady must follow in order to be stylish?
[1.] Know thy self - Take a good, hard look in the mirror and understand your assets & limitations. What are your best characteristics – Great shoulders? Long, lean legs? Christina Hendricks curves? Find a style that plays up your assets. Yes, you can mix up your style each season and incorporate great new looks to keep things fresh, but you need to first have a good understanding of what you can, can’t and shouldn’t bother trying to pull off. Do you have short legs? Stay away from skinny jeans and don’t even think about wearing mid-calf boots, both will make your legs look truncated. On the curvier side? Stay away from ruffles and busy tops, they will make you look top-heavy. You don’t need to look like Gisele to look polished and put together, you just need to know how to work with what you have!
[2.] Find your sweet spot - Once you know what works best for you, the next step is to create a style that is totally your own, a home base of sorts that you can always start with or go back to. Whether you love Twiggy-style shift dresses, sexy menswear, a darker pallet, retro ladylike silhouettes or Alexa Chung-inspired hipster looks, make the look yours by adding personal flares. If you’re comfortable and confident in your clothes, you’ll have every eye on you as soon as you step into a room. Wear your clothes, don’t let them wear you! My personal look is very classic and a little formal, I love dresses and skirts, but with a bit of an edge. My favorite looks are traditional with a modern twist, like a chic LBD with funky pearls and patent leather booties.
[3.] Invest! It’s always fun to try new trends – if you’re careful with them – but a large portion of your clothing/accessories budget should be devoted to classic, long-term pieces. High quality basics that you will be able to use season after season, which can easily be spiced up with the newest handbag or sunglasses. A trench coat, great jeans, a button down shirt, a Little Black Dress, (see Real Girls Need Real Closets & Real Girls Need Real Closets – Accessories Edition) these are the building blocks to a great wardrobe, regardless of your style. When you see pictures of Jane Birkin’s bangs and little tunic dresses, Audrey’s trenches, Coco’s pearls or Bianca Jagger’s suits they still all look chic and modern. Why? Because they were stylish women, not slaves to trends.
Some words of wisdom to think about when you’re considering you personal look:
- “Style isn’t about change; that’s fashion’s job. Style is about knowing yourself, knowing the image you want to project, and finding the look that suits you the best for your goals.” TLo from Tom & Lorenzo: Fabulous & Opinionated
- “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” Coco Chanel
- “Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.” Yves Saint Laurent
- “Attitude is everything.” Diane von Furstenberg
Have you seen the Audrey Hepburn movie Funny Face?
There’s this phenomenal dance number with Kay Thompson, who is one of the highlights of the film, called How To Be Lovely. Whenever I think of being stylish and chic, I think of this scene and it makes me laugh. This is a great reminder that fashion is supposed to be fun!
Fashion isn’t just about what you wear, what goes on your body. It’s truly an expression of yourself that extends far beyond your clothes.
“Fashion is everything. Art, music, furniture design, graphic design, hair, makeup, architecture, the way cars look – all those things go together to make a moment in time.” - Tom Ford
And just as fashion isn’t limited to the cloth that we wrap ourselves in, inspiration can also be found in many forms.
I began clipping pictures from magazines as a pre-adolescent, not so much fashion photos, just pictures that caught my eye, things that I found eye-catching or memorable or mesmerizing.
As I became interested in fashion however, my clipping habits became more focused. And while I don’t confine myself to photographs of clothing and accessories, I’ve found that my love of fashion gives this activity more direction and purpose. I’ve found that even without context, pictures can serve a creative function.
They excite. They encourage. They inspire.
The beauty and artistry captured by a photographer can be moving, regardless of the medium. Advertisements, promotional materials, editorials, art, home decor…
I’ve found that by keeping these images available to myself I can stay out of a fashion rut. They provide new ideas and inspiration, get my creative juices flowing, and motivate me to grow and evolved. I highly recommend creating and maintaining a Look Book, a collection of images that make you smile, that invigorate you, that make you push your boundaries.
Whether it’s a physical book filled with clippings like mine are, or Boards on Pinterest, this is a great creative and inspirational outlet. Keeping pictures of looks that you like, styles that call to you, photos that take your breath away, can all be great tools to keep your approach to fashion fresh and interesting.
What’s your favorite way to get inspired?