On The Runway

Paris Wrap-up: It’s All About Couture

Paris Fashion Week, Runway Reviews, Alexander McQueen, Autumn/Winter 2012, Sarah Burton

Alexander McQueen

Sarah Burton is really bringing her own vision to McQueen while honouring its founder’s legacy in a romantic and respectful way. Her autumn/winter collection was all about a beautiful future, inspired by the beauty of the forest floor and nature (one of McQueen’s favourite themes). In all honesty, there was little in the show that one could wear in real life but it didn’t matter because each piece was more breathtaking than the next.

Models came out in futuristic white visors wearing white and pink bell-shaped dresses and coats made from jacquard embroidered with flowers and fur pom poms. They later came in shaved pony hair covered with cut-out leather. Romance brewed in the light marabou feather and tiered organza dresses with mille-feuille layers that were hand massaged before the show to give them movement. Hammered metal belts added a hard edge.

I paid a visit to the showroom the next day to get a closer look (see images above) and was happy to see more commercial pieces in shades of black, pink and grey that still captured the essence of the runway show. Bravo Burton.

Paris Fashion Week, Runway Review, Autumn/Winter 2012, Valentino


Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have finally hit their stride at Valentino with a recognisable silhouette we all love (A-line dresses that are covered up yet feminine, with luxe details). This season their inspiration was “modern folk,” although this wasn’t obvious in the tailored leather looks that opened the show. They eventually gave way to dresses made from tapestry-like fabrics or featuring hand embroideries – one sweet look included a black dress embroidered with tiny roses. More luxe were the white embroidered dress and coat, which really showed off the house’s couture workmanship.

A Valentino show is never complete without their signature red – a jumpsuit vied with a retro-inspired dress with a scalloped neckline, although the clear winner was a laser cut-work leather dress that resembled lace. The accessories were also divine with many new additions to the Rock Stud family including vintage-style box bags and hand-held clutches.

Louis Vuitton, Runway Review, Paris Fashion Week, Autumn/Winter 2012, Marc Jacobs

Louis Vuitton

After the fantastical carrousel of last season, the Louis Vuitton show has become a hot ticket at Paris Fashion Week rivalling only Chanel in terms of scale and production. This time we all hopped aboard the Vuitton Express at the turn of the 20th century as Marc Jacobs sent out a locomotive steam train complete with passengers, conductors and porters to carry luggage.

And what a trip it was. The models wore modest A-Line coats decorated with floral gemstone buttons and cropped trousers, but underneath it was all about rich fabrics, layered textures and patterns. Brocades and jacquards came embroidered with hologram colourforms and plastic stones, while heavy metal yarn and tinsel woven into tweed added a luxe touch. The bags were a tribute to Vuitton’s past (and the topic of a new exhibition, more on that next week) and featured hat boxes, vanity cases, weekend bags and valises for everyday use.

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