On The Runway

Haute Picks: Haute Couture Fall 2011

The latest from the Haute Couture collections of (left to right): Givenchy, Christian Dior, Giambattista Valli and Armani Prive. Images courtesy of style.com

A few days after the men’s wear shows closed in Paris, the Haute Couture season began. While couture’s relevance has been argued time and again by journalists, the shows allow brands to display their creativity (no holds barred), drum up press and most importantly, serve as a showpiece for a dying craft and the petite mains behind them (the couture ateliers are protected by law in France). Interestingly, the demand for couture is rising in Asia due to the increasing amount of billionaires in China. But onto the shows…

Thanks to John Galliano and his love of theatrics and costume, Christian Dior’s show is usually the most fantastical and beautiful. However with no new creative director just yet, the job was left to Bill Gaytten who has worked alongside Galliano for 23 years. Unfortunately the collection lacked the imagination and finesse of Galliano, and to be honest, it was all rather messy.  The shapes were inspired by modern architecture – apparently Frank Gehry – although some shapes were all over the place. Then there was an overload of colour, print (stripes, squiggles and overlapping squares) and decoration. The beauty of couture is executing these details in a controlled way, as Galliano had done. Unfortunately this was sloppy and missing the elegance and refinement Dior is known for.

Giambattista Valli made his couture debut much to the delight of the young society set that love his clothes (think Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, and other young actresses). He is to Generation X (or are we at Y?) what Valentino was to high society in the 80s and 90s. His 45 piece collection was modern and wearable but featured intricate couture flounces and handiwork. Winners included the long sleeved gown in leopard print decorated with animal print feathers and the strapless red gown worn with a billowing cape. The best outfits were the most unassuming ones, such as the white poplin blouse matched with a lame black skirt.

During the past few seasons, Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy has been eschewing big runway shows in favour of more intimate presentations. It’s old fashioned but I think the best way to see couture in all its glory. His latest collection features 10 all-white styles that were light and fragile (thanks to tulle and other fabrics) despite the elaborate decoration that had gone into them. Details came in the form of embroidery, tiger’s-eye pearls, degrade beading, curved feathers and fringing that looked so perfect and uniform they looked laser cut. Some dresses had cut outs, were backless or sheer at the bottom, which reminded me of Kate Moss’ wedding dress (she’s always ahead of the curve!). I loved everything.

Monsieur Armani seems to have an affinity for East and devoted his latest Armani Prive collection to Japan. Beautiful cherry blossom, floral and parasol prints were applied delicately to his structured separates which came with kimono sleeves, samurai shoulders, obi-belts and origami folds. The prints didn’t work as well when they covered entire pieces or came on the longer skirt silhouettes. But the evening gowns, in true Armani style were winners with their super modern stiff bodices.

Stay tuned for more updates including Chanel, Valentino and Jean Paul Gaultier…

One Response to Haute Picks: Haute Couture Fall 2011

  1. kühltaschen fürs auto says:

    You could definitely see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

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