Francine Ballard's Rantings of the Accessory-Obsessed.
More immensely beautiful gowns from Valentino Fall 2012 Couture. The requisite Valentino Red gown is one my favorites from the collection, and perhaps all of time (not to exaggerate too much). -RS (Images via Vogue.com)
For Fall 2012 Valentino Couture, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli showed a collection of darkly romantic dresses that were far more sensual than what the pair has shown before. Transparencies were used to great effect, but rather than the usual ethereal femme look of the past few seasons, this time around there was more sexual energy, it was more charged, a bit more aggressive. That was clearly a good call as it gave some zing I think the Couture collection needed, and certainly perked up expectations.
The color palette focused on a midnight blue, a some black mixed back with gold, and a few hits of color here and there in a mimosa yellow, dusty pink and of course a requisite Valentino Red evening gown. Maria Grazia and Pier Paolo expanded upon the dress shape they have been developing since their arrival at the brand- natural waist, narrow bodice, floaty fluted skirt- and played with accordion pleats, new types of embellishment and in shorter silhouettes one side of a hem tacked up to reveal some more leg- a look I loved. -RS (Images via Vogue.com)
As the Elie Saab Fall 2012 Couture show moved into it’s second half, the powder blue looks gave way to a deeper teal color before moving back to nude and then into gold. Some of my favorite looks came here in the teal crepe gown with lace inset that wrapped around the ribs, a gentle flutter down the side of the dress, and in the nude colored gown embellished all over but with a solid panel bib at the bodice set into the gown and contrasting with the beading everywhere else.
The floaty gowns with lace and gold that appeared collaged onto them almost like a decoupage, were subtle in some colorways and delicately glamorous in others. And by the end of the show it was nothing but glamour in all-over beaded golden gowns (like this one worn by Karlie Kloss) that sparkled as brightly as the stars who will surely wear them. -RS (Images via Vogue.it)
Elie Saab Fall 2012 Couture was a show remarkably sophisticated and delicate for one that had so much gold incorporated into the gowns. Saab referenced a Grace Kelly sort of silhouette and even with crystals, beading, lace, and gold leaf created a collection of such immense beauty, fragility, romance and chic that it will appeal to pretty much every woman I know.
The show opened with beautiful beaded black dresses that played on transparencies in tulle and chiffon, and then moved into looks in blush and nude, peach and then a dusty powder blue. The silhouettes were similar to those at Valentino, and both these houses have really gone in for the shape in a way that feels fresh and light and the preferred alternative to so many mermaid/trumpet shapes we’ve seen for evening-wear.
More photos to follow… stay tuned. -RS (Images via Vogue.it)
Riccardo Tisci showed just ten looks for Givenchy Fall 2012 Couture, focused tightly in a palette of black, cream, espresso and scarlet.
The photographs don’t nearly do the clothes justice as so much of the detail is in the intricacies of the embellishments and the play on textiles which one cannot touch in a picture. The mood was a bit dark, and the “contemporary gypsy” he hailed as inspiration was certainly a wealthy one. This was more a forest hunter lone wolf type of gypsy, quite the opposite of something in fluid paisley chiffon that everyone from Cavalli to Tory Burch has referenced again and again. Tisci’s mood was extremely particular, reinforced by the gloomy woods in which the model posed. -RS (Images via Vogue.com)
Best of Paris Couture street-style shot by Phil Oh for Vogue.com. -RS
Need a lavender lame` gown, or perhaps a silver lace single-sleeved caftan, an evening look in red and black with coordinating cape, or a head-to-toe look in sparkly black sequins?
Look no further than Alexis Mabille Fall 2012 Couture collection. While the color palette was less than inspired, and the silhouettes were not exactly groundbreaking, you can see that this is a brand much in the French couture tradition that probably has an extraordinary clientele. -RS (Images via WWD)
Chanel evening-wear looks for the Fall 2012 Couture show were all light, bright, blush and white. Lagerfeld kept to a simple silhouette and worked three dimensionally with laser cut fabrics, florals and pom poms applied to some gowns. The effect was fresh and young with a nod to the “New Vintage” he was channeling from the Chanel archives. Bravo! -RS (Images via Vogue.com)
Karl Lagerfeld’s collection for Chanel Fall 2012 Couture is one of the best I’ve seen for several seasons. Lagerfeld (nor Chanel herself for that matter) has never been much of a colorist, and the usual black, white, pink, grey, blush, and metallics all made appearance per usual. This time, however, Lagerfeld’s “New Vintage” inspiration did wonders in reviving a somewhat tired feeling that had come over the house of late.
Everything looked lighter, even for an autumn collection, and the evening gowns were pure airiness. Outerwear was done in simple shapes that highlighted textiles so painstakingly designed photographs can’t do them justice. Tweeds were assembled by creating loops of ribbon, plaids were made with handwork and not part of a usual loomed layout. The gunmetal lurex tights were a great modern touch which I’m sure will have fashionistas far and wide flocking to American Apparel for suitable knock-offs. -RS (Images via Vogue.com)
Chanel Fall 2012 Couture experimented with neon pink degrade` too apparently. (Images via Vogue.com)
Armani Prive` Fall 2012 couture opened with a series of slouchy trousers paired with blouses and jackets and sent down the runway in pairs. The deliciously rich black trousers were contrasted with soft lilac and powder blue hues as well, and as the show developed a few dashes of pink were integrated. Degrade` seems to be popping up again (it did with at Dior a bit as well) and Armani chose to use the blush pinks and brighter pinks on blouses, coats and dresses to excellent effect. They seemed the more artistically mature, couture version of that Christopher Kane galaxy print that happened so many seasons ago. One of my favorite looks was a voluminous organza blouse done in a super subtle degrade` dye, paired with lilac trousers.
The trouser was really an Armani classic revisited, as were some of the jackets. The longer, one-button jacket with a slight pagoda shoulder could have gone modern but in the styling and colors they really seemed more like 80’s throwbacks, as did the model pairs. On the bright side, it did showcase more variations in color and fabric while not increasing the length of the show.
Overall, there were a lot of great piece to work into some good styling concepts but as a whole the concept didn’t look super-fresh, even for Armani. -RS (Images via Vogue.com)
Let’s begin a review of the Armani Prive` show with the evening-wear. Because why not. For Fall 2012 Couture, Giorgio Armani (and presumably a substantial team of designers, drapers, flat patternmakers, seamstresses and embroiderers) showed a collection that was oddly reminiscent of a David Lynch film from the early 90’s.
Look at these gowns! Can’t you just see Isabella Rossellini swanning around in any of them with her brows done super dark and heavy and her hair all slicked back? Okay maybe that’s more a la` her role in Death Becomes Her, but you see what I mean.
Obviously the gowns are beautiful and sort of darkly, aggressively chic. They just don’t feel very fresh or modern to me, especially after the revelation that was Raf’s show for Dior. While it may seem unfair to compare, I do think the Dior show is now the standard to which the rest of the shows will be held. And rightly so. -RS (Image via Vogue.com)