Fall Fashion Week's exhaustive extravaganza is finally in it’s final (and arguably most exciting) stretch. From New York to London to Milan, we’ve seen some hits, some misses and some downright FAILS, and by now, you’d think we’d have had enough of models, runways and 2012 Spring collections. However, you’d be wrong.
Paris Fashion Week was a pulse-racing affair revealing the lines of such heavy-hitting fashion houses as Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Valentino and Louis Vuitton. These big boys ice their own cake - thank you very much - so let’s take a look at what the top-of-the-top unveiled amidst the romantic runways of The City of Lights.
Since the cumulative fabulosity of these four labels is simply immeasurable, it’s impossible to list accordingly, so we’ll start with my own favorite (tee-hee), Alexander McQueen. I mean really, with a name that’s legend, a sold-out NYC museum exhibition and a super-hot new lead designer successfully taking the reigns while taking names – it makes perfect sense, no?
McQueen’s Aquatic Atiliere
Designer Sarah Burton’s creative vision has not failed her in her sophomore womenswear collection. Oh, never you fear… the drama was there, as it always is at McQueen – lace face masks, shimmery shells and a visual homage to an ocean-bound goddess, but Burton managed to make the whole thing distinctly feminine without disrupting the look (as McQueen, at times had been accused of doing.) The color palette was translucent, like the inside of a shell with the juxtaposing touches of hard-core leather (naturally.) There was plenty of pleating, draping and serious architecture and attention to detail, with an oft-mentioned exaggerated Empire waistline of ruffles acting as critical darling and described by the designer herself as “…a jellyfish move[ing] in the sea.” Swim, little jelly fish. Swim.
Chanel’s Ocean-Infused Collection
Chanel also chanelled the sea, decorating the stage of the Grand Palais with giant sea shapes—corals, shells, sea horses, stingrays—and Ms. Florence Welch herself (Florence and the Machine) rising Venus-like from a half-shell (oysters, anyone?) to sing “What the Water Gave Me.” But the real success, outside of the visual circus, were the over 80 Spring 2012 designs that strolled down the runway.
Using a myriad of “new” fabrics, Lagerfeld designs were wrought with iridescent mother-of-pearl shimmer in graphic modern shapes. Oh, he didn’t completely eschew the traditional Chanel looks, with boxy tweeds, drop waists, pleats, but he really strove to take a different, more other-worldy tack on the look. A more aquatic world, to be sure.
A Victorious Vuitton:
And leave it to Jacobs to fuse the femininity and strength of today's modern gal for another spectacular showing. "After the hardness of Fall, we wanted something gentle and kind, fragile but strong, too," Marc Jacobs said, of his collection for Vuitton, effusively touting the workmanship that went into it.
Think big lacy collars, oversized buttons and embellishments of simple detailed florals. A palette of pastel shades and black and white organza with lots of laser cutting seals the deal on this girlish collection of gorgeousness – all shouting ‘Spring is here! Spring is here!” (Well, not yet. But soon.)
Valentino's Dreamy Dresses
Valentino's darling designer duo, Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri's put forth what critics were touting is their best collection yet, dolling out dress after seductive dress on models wearing simple flat sandals and lace espadrilles. Think feminine, romantic and dreamy.
From short off-white and black cotton lace frocks, to paper-thin leather halters and, of course Valentino's to-die-for red-carpet fare, this collection sprung from mood boards decorated with the works of Georgia O'Keeffe and Tina Modotti, and photographs by Deborah Turbeville.
Piccioli says, "Fashion is a dream, and in this moment we need dreams." Amen.