Paris Couture Week just wrapped up, and once again the collections were awe-inspiring. Elie Saab showed an array of gorgeous gowns perfect for red carpets. John Galliano showed us how seductive a ladylike woman can be, while Jean Paul Gaultier explored the sassier side of femininity. Karl Lagerfeld went all out in a collection that seemed to walk out of a fairytale. Couture lets our favorite designers' imaginations run wild; the result being collections that are wonderfully bizarre or magnificently gorgeous, or both. For fashion lovers, couture is like candy. Here are our very delicious highlights from Spring 2011's couture collections, so click and enjoy.
>> Despite the fact that his Spring 2011 couture show was inspired by the English punk rock movement and the French can can, Jean Paul Gaultier didn't play any musical soundtrack. Instead, the models paraded in their mohawks and their individual outfits — named things like "The Clash," "Belle Epoque," "Anarchy in the UK," and "Moulin Rouge" — carrying a number in the old school couture way, with Catherine Deneuve calling out the number and then describing the looks in a voiceover. The show, which started over an hour late, culminated in the androgynous male model Andrej Pejic — Gaultier's new favorite — appearing as couture bride in a semi-sheer gown. As the model parade ended, Gaultier finally let the music loose, unleashing a Crazy Horse can can dancer to do splits and kicks down the runway to Offenbach as Deneuve and Pedro Almodovar cheered. The designer took his bow with Farida Khelfa, who walked and also recently completed a documentary on him.
Backstage, Jeanne Beker reports, Gaultier said he "has disdain for the red carpet. Loved seeing Marion Cotillard in his mermaid dress [at the 2008 Oscars] BUT.....He wonders why some houses actually PAY actresses to wear their dresses. And he misses CHER!"
>> After Karl Lagerfeld sent out a Chanel couture collection of muted pastels yesterday, with nothing but flat patent mules on the models' feet, he told Style.com: "I was sick of all those Eiffel Towers, sick of all those violent colors." He later told Cathy Horyn of the collection, she writes: “'There’s no flower design.' This is a little like Eve ignoring the apple, but I guess he didn’t think this was a moment for Chanel flowers. 'I don’t think it’s very modern,' he said." [Style.com, On the Runway]
>> Jean Paul Gaultier seems quite enamored with androgynous male model Andrej Pejic — late last week, Gaultier had Pejic walk his men's show both as a man (with Veronica Lake-like hair), and then as a woman (closing the show in a fur gilet and high heels). Then, Gaultier's Spring 2011 women's campaign debuted yesterday, showing Pejic with lookalike Karolina Kurkova — both in fishnets and matching trenchcoats — as photographed by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. And finally, word is that Pejic just walked Gaultier's Spring 2011 couture show as bride — perhaps the first time ever that a man has worn the couture bride's dress.
- Carine Roitfeld and Nicolas Ghesquiere, who were rumored to have reconciled after being spotted having a cocktail together last week, were spotted having a drink again today at the Ritz Paris [@derekblasberg]
- Lea T. is reportedly taping her Oprah segment next week after opening the show of a "major swimsuit house" at Sao Paulo Fashion Week [@JasonFarrer]
- Chanel’s global creative director of makeup Peter Philips animated Chanel lipsticks, compacts, and glosses to make a robot, a model, and more in this fun short film (still, left) [Nowness]
- Thakoon.com is relaunching February 14, complete with “webisodes” that follow Thakoon Panichgul through his daily life working in the studio, prepping a photo shoot, or attending an awards ceremony; e-commerce is expected to launch in July [Style File]
- Watch Karlie Kloss get flames put on her eyes and white paint all over her lower legs for the Dior couture show [The Cut]
- Style Bubble's Susanna Lau says she “definitely” has the opportunity to make more money with her blog alone than when she was working 12 hours a day as DazedDigital.com's commissioning editor: “Each day I’m sort of dividing my time between four or five different things. The result of that is that you are gong to be getting more money than you are with a fixed wage at an independent publishing company” [BoF]
- Missoni heir Jennifer Missoni has a three episode arc on Gossip Girl starting next month, in which she plays Donna, a character “very serious about her job." Note that Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester is a current face of Missoni [Fashionista]
- Richard Nicoll responds to Cerruti closing its womenswear line, which he designed: "Of course I would have preferred longer to make a success of the womenswear, but I'm grateful for the experience gained at Cerruti. It makes total sense to me that Li & Fung should focus solely on menswear as that's where their experience lies" [Vogue UK]
- As part of the continuing CFDA Health Initiative, Diane von Furstenberg writes in a new op-ed, "Plans for education and awareness programs are under way, such as an Ambassador Program aimed at helping young models develop the tools to meet the challenges they face" [CFDA]
- A French version of Harper's Bazaar is said to be on the horizon [DFR]
- Miu Miu has tapped several notable female filmmakers for a new short film series called "Women's Tales," exploring the female love affair with Miu Miu; first director up is Zoe Cassavetes — preview of her short at the link [Fashionista]
- Apparently there's an unfounded rumor going around Europe that Tom Ford is set to succeed Giorgio Armani [@jcreportglobal]
>> Chanel's couture show brought out a slew of famous faces, among them Elodie Bouchez. The French actress attended looking perfectly thrown together in an oversized denim Wrangler jacket tempered with a pocket-front mini skirt, white tee, peep-toe wedge boots, and signature Chanel bag. Copy her casual cool look with our picks from Levi's, Marc Jacobs, Wolford, ASOS, and Chanel.
Left to right: Levi's Sherpa Denim Jacket ($198), Marc Jacobs Pocket Front Skirt ($595), ASOS Perfect Tee ($21), Anna Beck Disc Earrings ($138), NARS Jungle Red Nail Polish ($16), Joe's Wedge Booties ($150, originally $250), Wolford Leggings ($40), Chanel Vintage Double Strap Bag ($2,390)
>> In the wake of yesterday's Armani Prive show, Derek Blasberg Tweeted: "Armani couture has gone all Sci-Fi on me. Pierre Cardin-esque shapes, iridescent fabrics and flying saucers hats. Is that the Gaga effect?" Cathy Horyn Tweeted similarly: "Did Lady Gaga influence Armani's super-future lines and curves in startling collection of synthetic/metallic shine and enamel-like color?" And Vogue's Mark Holgate wrote, "Clearly, Armani is gaga for Gaga. How else does one explain that shiny molded techno-fabric that looked like it was specially created for Tron?" But despite all of those conclusions and the fact that Gaga and Armani have a multimillion dollar partnership, when Horyn approached Armani about it, she writes: "Afterward I asked him if he had been at all influenced by Lady Gaga, for whom he has made some clothes, and he shook his head firmly. Well, I wonder." [On the Runway]
Riccardo Tisci Casts Only Asian Models to Show Japanese-Infused Spring 2011 Givenchy Couture Collection
>> Now that Givenchy's couture presentations are intimate and without the hoopla of a fashion show, Riccardo Tisci has decreased the number of dresses per collection produced — this time, there were only ten. But that doesn't mean there's a lack of drama. Inspired by Japanese robot toys and Kazuo Ohno (the legendary Japanese Butoh dancer who Tisci met through a mutual friend), the collection is pastel in front with shocks of brighter color in the back — like with Pre-Fall, Tisci has left his usual black-based palette behind. One dress, with hand-dyed and hand-cut matte sequins, took 4,000 hours of handwork to assemble. And as for the model cast, Tisci went completely Asian, with Chinese (Ming Xi, Liu Wen, Shu Pei Qin, Sun Fei Fei, Du Juan, Jiang Xiao Yi), Japanese (Ai Tominaga, Tao Okamoto) and Korean (Hye Rim Park, So Young Kang) all represented.
>> Chanel's current ad campaign spans three generations, and at the brand's couture show today, Karl Lagerfeld highlighted the idea that Chanel is for any age, tapping 40-year-old Stella Tennant to open the show and 45-year-old Kristen McMenamy to close. VIPs galore filled the front row: Kirsten Dunst, Ines de la Fressange, Pedro Almodovar, Karen Elson, Alexa Chung, Daphne Guinness, Diane Kruger, Vanessa Paradis, and Jerry Hall, plus Baptiste Giabiconi, who, for once, didn't walk the Chanel runway. As previewed yesterday, the collection was filled with black patent mule flats and tunic dresses over skinny pants, and at the end, Lagerfeld, joined by his bride McMenamy in a dress fitted with an embroidered train of thousands of gold beads, blew the audience a kiss.
>> Maison Martin Margiela took inspiration from Spring's bounty and created a bold bouquet of floral arrangements for its Spring 2011 couture collection. Color was the name of the game, with voluminous rosette-embellished dresses aplenty made out of cotton bandanas and Liberty fabric, and for the finale, came transparent evening gowns.