Sunday, 5 February 2012

Paris Haute Couture Spring Summer 2012

The HC collections this year for me all had one major thing in common - wearability!  Except of course for Alexis Mabbile who's collection was a little eighties and not in a good way. The painted faces, crazy headpieces and tacky dresses were tres not for me.  The rest of the designers however presented modern, wearable collections with added sparkle, dazzle and romance.

Valentino Couture 

Valentino brought us a beautifully romantic collection in icy hues.  Full length dresses reminiscent of Carries prom dress in the Stephen King film of the same name with billowy sleeves, high Victorian necks and gathered waist and cuffs.  Tailored trousers and skirts with elegant jackets and Count of Monte Cristoesque capes.  Delicate materials with rich embellishment give the collection a luxurious feeling, my favourite touch being the slipper loafers made in the same lavish material as the outfits they were worn with.  Overall a very pretty feminine take on couture which looked like it was designed with the new young couture buyer in mind.  

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul's spring summer 2012 couture collection was obviously inspired by the late great Amy Winehouse with models wearing her trademark beehive and swaggering down the catwalk with cigarettes and general Amy attitude.  However the collection was also a bit of a tribute to himself as there was all the trademark gautier magic included.  There was forties moll inspired style with sequin pencil skirts, tied at the waist shirts, polo shirt inspired gowns and blouses, lace clam diggers and luxurious college jackets.  There was also however the legendary, wonderful JPG corsetry that took me back to Madonnas conical bra days and tailoring that simply blew my mind! And at the end all of the models came back to the runway wearing mourning mantilla veils which made us think of the fashion Icon we lost last year and how it was nice to remember her in a way which would have made her very very proud.  Well done JPG and goodnight Miss Winehouse.

Armani Prive Couture
Mr Armani delivered a very elegant contemporary couture collection with digital reptilian prints on strong structured trouser and skirt suits and modern tailored gowns in all the green and blue shades you could imagine. This collection oozed edginess, with lots of bear chests, slick hair and mysterious headpieces, Armani really took it to a new level... his recent collections haven't really excited me in the last few years but this one really really did, my personal favourite being the voluminous skirt with the black silk slip top (above).  I can see a similar skirt to this being made for myself soon, definitely on the inspirations list!


Ricardo took his inspiration from the 1927 Fritz Lang Film - Metropolis

The collection had all they tell tale Tisci trademarks, chunky chains, studs, zips and edgy modern elegance.  There was also an art deconess to the looks and luxurious details like recreated reptile skin in bead work on weightless chiffon, simply amazing.
The show took place in a gymnasium with basketballs placed strategically around the models, it was a simple background for such grand growns and a positive difference to some of the BIG set productions that some of the other designers had staged during the week.
Ricardo also included some of the attitude that we have come to love and expect from Givenchy in the form of  huge tribal earrings and nose rings which looked impossible to wear but the models did it beautifully.

One of the biggest shows of the whole week was Chanel.  Karl boarded the audience onto a futuristic Air Chanel jumbo jet set, complete with illuminated gangway runway and bucket air plane seats.  As much as the set looked amazing the dresses were simple and elegant and a contrast to the brash and bold set.
There was simple dropped waist funnel neck dresses and skirts in icy blue tones (seems to be one of the stand out colour pallets of couture week) and lots of chiffon, boucle and Karl sparkle.  Overall this collection was similar to the Valentino collection in that it was a very contemporary, youthful couture.

Giambattista Valli Couture

Giambattista, the new man on the couture street (only featured as a guest last year... this is his first certified show) showed a super luxurious collection, with classic Italian tailoring and feminine romantic embellishments.  The colour pallet of Black, White, Cream and Wine featured on trademark GV cocoon shapes skirts and dresses, beautifully soft tailoring, gorgeous lace pleated dresses and tulle gowns with bowed waists. Molte Bella!


For the first time in what seems like a long time that you could actually believe you were looking at a Dior collection, one from the 1950's, when Christian himself was at the helm at that!  Gaytenne brought us Mad Men couture and classic fifties Dior glamour.  There were beautiful tulle gowns with full skirts and see through coat dresses with 50's knickers (another favourite this couture season) along with pencil skirts, see through shirts and hounds tooth.  One of the more traditional couture collections of the week. 

Versace Atelier

Finally there was the return of Atelier Versace and what a return it was.  Dontallea took it easy for her return to the realms of couture and instead of hosting a big spectacular show she simply presented 20 or so looks in a presentation type display.  The pieces did not disappoint, it was like a gorgeous Grecian fashion gladiator meets lady gaga.  There was strong sexy dresses with dramatic pointed shoulders, jackets and tiny shorts with gorgeous over the knee leg covers that sat over dramatic pointed court shoes and gorgeous constructed gowns all in delicate lilacs, sea grey, lime and acid yellow.  This collection was what couture is all about .... fabulous gowns that dreams are made.  I would bet next months wages on one of these beautiful dresses making the Oscars red carpet in March.

All pictures taken from

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