Why newbie Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli chose to do a colorless, i.e., black and sometimes nude, couture collection is questionable, alas, the creations are highly wearable, flirtatious, and super femme. With a rich mix of volume and transparency, the house still caters to the red-carpet set, but this collection might also appeal to the daughters of longtime clients. A couple details were unnecessary — the wings were silly and the ruffled shoes were distracting — whereas trompe l'oeil black lace and mystical headpieces were lovely. Not bad, but I miss Valentino red . . .
Judging from Jean Paul Gaultier's Fall couture creations, he didn't have a shortage of inspiration. The powerful warrior princess, the chic '20s flapper, the old-Hollywood actress, and the feisty futuristic goddess all had a place on the catwalk . . . and in JPG's eyes, they all prevail. Exquisite gowns set a glamorous tone: some with floor-length capes attached to them, some robe-like, and some chiffon with armor-like bodices. Fur played a big part — fur collars, coats, chubbies, and skirts made appearances. And what's luxury without beading? It showed up in the most unique ways, my favorite being the fine gold beaded overalls Kim Noorda rocked. Color didn't play a big part, but there were random bouts of rich purple, yellow, pink, and brown.
As an ode to simple elegance, Karl kept his Chanel Fall couture collection long and lean with sophisticated strapless gowns, classic suiting, and highly embellished frocks. The designer's play on peek-a-boo with an abundance of mesh, lace tights, and high/low hemlines shows off legs in a slightly naughty manner. Sequins and beading also made an appearance in the form of glittering dresses, which were reminiscent of the '80s and '90s. For color, Karl kept it simple playing with gorgeous jewel tones and noir. While this ivory and black tiered dress does not blow me away, it's still beautiful. Thoughts?
Dark Lord Givenchy delivered one of the most entrancing Couture collections yet. Ricardo Tisci dipped his goth glam hand into the Indian Ocean and came up swimming in gold headdresses, harem pants, sheer layers, jewel-encrusted accents, and serious mystique. Tisci strayed from his ivory/black palette and brought in straight jacket ombre red, and lime green and hot pink embellishments — a nod to Bollywood. Numerous black and gold getups stun, while a spiked and slitted black turtleneck gown emits pure dramarama.
Giorgio Armani's Couture collection exuded wild, intricate details and I loved it all. For Fall, the mastermind experimented with three elements: modernity, rocker chic, and sophisticated tailoring. The results? A smashing lineup of decadent paliette pantsuits, satin frocks, zebra-print blazers, beaded skirts, and velvet aplenty. I love how he mixed together different textiles for maximum interest and texture — my favorite has to be this multimarvelous skirt suit. Fab-u-lous. Beaded and sequined headgear lent a vintage, flapper vibe to the collection while zipper and fur embellishments added a youthful touch. It's risky mixing together so many different textures and elements, but Armani once again proved his cunning capability.
For Fall, Martin Margiela didn't veer too far off from his usual avant-garde repertoire. By that I mean, he stuck with flesh-colored face masks, bare legs, and nude leotards. He also continued his love of fringe, cropped capes, and bold jackets. In fact, this collection is all about the statement jacket. No pants required, Lady Gaga style. The array of outerwear includes overly fringed jackets, motorcycle-style leather, colored fur, '80s bold shoulder blazers, and intricate cropped vests. My favorite is a fan vest . . . so Karl. It takes a risk-loving gal to worship Margiela. Are you that girl?
See the rest of Margiela's couture collection.
The looming question is can Lacroix be saved? But the show went on. In a pared down but no less beautiful Couture collection, the great French designer delivered a round of Lacroix best ofs. Spanish influence, ruffles, extravagant beading, lace, bows, draping, polka dots, and black. Makeup and hair was minimal — black headwraps delivered a slight mood of mourning. This wasn't the most optimistic collection, but longtime customers will manage to find (final?) additions to their collections. And love was in the audience — attendees sported "Christian Lacroix Forever" badges and each look was greeted with applause. Lacroix, must, survive.
In the meantime, today's show at Arts Decoratifs was on a strict budget. In fact, it is being said that since models in France must be paid by law, Lacroix himself, as well as others, paid them from their own pockets. The fate of Christian Lacroix remains to be seen, but let's hope it doesn't end in bankruptcy.
Glamorous, and a touch garish, Galliano leads Couture week with a provocative showing at the Dior headquarters. Innerwear played a major role in this film noir. Corsets, garters, hose, slips, camis, and brassieres all hung out exhibiting a high-class peekaboo show. Classic lingerie hues like nude, black, and cream whispered alongside bold red, pink, chartreuse, leopard (and zebra) print, lavender, and juicy tangerine. Dramatic toppers, ladylike bags and fine jewels added to the highly feminine Dior aesthetic. Skirts were a favorite — tulip, sheer, bubble, tiered — and sometimes even absent. Dior still caters to the lady, but this lady's inner exhibitionist has risen.