There is no city quite like Paris and no fashion is quite like Parisian fashion. I adore many cultures and cities and designers, but there’s just something about Paris that you can’t forget.
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have consistently created lovely collections since taking over from Mr. Valentino himself – Lots of dresses, fabulous splashes of classic Valentino red, and red carpet ready gowns.
Leather, velvet, silk, chiffon, lace, satin, and eyelet all made their way down the runway – Along with the occasion statement coat and jumpsuit. My favorite look was the gold brocade coat-dress that Hanne Gaby Odiele wore down the catwalk – Tres chic!
The Chanel show is always a dramatic, eclectic spectacle and this season was no different with solar panels, turbines, and wind farm-like backdrops.
This collection included everything from hula hoop handbags, stark black & white, youthful polka dots, bright jewel tones, traditional florals, 80′s style fingerless gloves, denim, rompers, suits, wide-brimmed hats, and strappy wedges. I especially liked the chunky pearl bracelets & necklaces, the polka-dotted strapless dress, and the cute Dorothy-inspired blue & white gingham.
The McQueen show is always something to look forward to with eye-catching, one-of-a-kind makeup, backgrounds, clothing, and accessories. No other designer can come close to the types of shows that Lee McQueen – And now Sarah Burton – Put on.
This season’s collection had an S&M beekeeper type of vibe with safari-style netting covered hats, bustiers, thigh-high stockings, harnesses & corsets, bustles, wide belts, and bee, wasp, and honeycomb prints. Excessive, rich, over-the-top, and utterly stunning.
Denim, interesting fabrics & textures, moody prints, and a mixture of silhouettes and lengths all gave the Miu Miu collection a fun but grown-up feel.
I love classic workwear style pieces so this collection was right up my alley. I adored the pencil skirts and sleek sheath dresses, and the retro vibe was to die for with killer furs, boat neck tops, visible pin-up inspired bustiers, leather gloves, slim pocketbooks, and long, demure jackets. J’adore!
“Deconstructed classicism” was the theme and it came to life in sleek separates and dresses done up in black & white, bold, vibrant jewel tones, and silky neutrals.
The collection was sleek and sexy, the pieces modern and wearable. The embellished prints were quite eye-catching but the sleek pieces in navy, black & white stole the show in my opinion. All of the looks above are amazing - I would wear them anytime, anywhere!
Yves Saint Laurent:
New name – Saint Laurent – retro vibe. The 70′s were back at YSL with leather, suede, fringe, wide-brimmed hats, and maxi lengths all evoking classic Yves.
The details of this collection were what caught my attention – The slim, cropped pants, the white piping on blazers, the patent t-trap heels, oversized bows at the neck, and opera-length gloves. I especially liked the pants looks and shimmering, two-toned caplet was the piece at the top of my Must Have list!
While the theme may have been the same, Riccardo Tisci’s sedated and minimal interpretation of Catholicism was a far cry from the extravagant opulence of the Fall 2012 Dolce & Gabbana show at Milan Fashion Week.
The pieces may have been stark – Done up in mostly black & white with severe cuts – But they were still dramatic and eye-catching. I adored the black & white frocks, the flattering tunic-vests, the subtle ruffles, and the thick metallic chokers.
The Stella show was bold in both color and silhouette – Her usual oversized, boy-meets-girl style got spiced up with wrap dresses, jumpsuits, and racerback tops.
The suits and the minimalistic pieces are always my favorite – Though the patchwork prints and cheerleader skirts last season proved that she’s got more up her sleeve. The safari-style tops were cute and versatile and the green she showed was right up my alley!
The LV collection was awash in checkered patterns, bright hues, and in a fun change of pace Mr. Jacobs had all of his models strut their stuff down the runway in pairs.
The mod feeling to the show was modernized by the eye-catching prints. The accessories were cute but minimally applied – Bow adorned headbands, checkered flats, and small patterned daybags. Fun, flirty, and oh-so-wearable. Just what Marc Jacobs does best!
The Chloe collection was primarily black and white with some splashes of burnt orange and fleshy pink throw in for good measure. Very French. Very feminine. Very Sweet.
The silhouettes ranged from oversized and exaggerated to romantic and womanly. While the colors, fabrics, and prints ran the gamut from black & white velvet to salmon stripes to sheer purple ruffles.
The Balmain collection brought to mind the 90′s with power suits, big shoulders, loud prints, thick belts, and plunging necklines. All with a Parisian, Balmain spin on them.
Stripes & checkers, bold yellow, oversized hoop earrings, metallic accessories, midriff baring tops, denim, and oversized blazers all had me checking the models faces to see if Cindy, Linda, Naomi, or Christy were there.
Raf’s debut collection for Dior was full of dichotomies – Stark but romantic, minimal but dramatic. He played with colors, prints, lengths, and silhouettes while still presenting a very Dior collection.
The suits and coat-dresses were my favorite, they came in different cuts and lengths, but were utterly chic and utterly timeless. The kinds of pieces that you invest in and wear for the rest of your life.
Previous Paris Fashion Week Collections: Paris Fashion Week Fall 2012, Paris Fashion Week Fall 2012 – Street Style & Front Row Fashion, Paris Fashion Week Spring 2012 Part I, Paris Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Part II, and Paris Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Street Style & Front Row Fashion.
Additional reviews, photographs, shows, and videos: Raf Simons, Hedi Slimane and the Tectonic Shifts of the Paris Fashion Establishment from Business Of Fashion, FabSugar’s Paris Fashion Week Diary, Precious Details from The Man Repeller, and Derek Blasberg’s A Photo Diary From Paris Fashion Week.
Which Paris Fashion Week show was your favorite? Do you like the classic, Paris Fashion Week institutions like Chanel and Valentino best or newer, more modern houses like Chloe and Alexander McQueen?
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.
Almost as interesting as watching the runway shows are the looks put together by the celebrities, A-listers, models, editors and industry insiders as they sit front row watching.
Harper’s Bazaar even has a style breakdown of fashion editor Miroslava Duma’s great leather leggings & cropped red coat look here.
*** Please note that I do not in any way advocate the use of fur in fashion and personally make an effort not to wear/carry fur, exotic skins or leather. This day in age there are many beautiful alternatives to these products which are cruelty & animal-free and should be utilized instead.