The Spring 2012 couture shows wrapped up last Thursday with Valentino closing the collections. They brought to a close 4 days of perfection, brought to us via yards of organza, a bevy of beads and acres of lace, all made with highest of skilled artisans and designers who know no boundaries to imagination.
Jean Paul Gaultier’s collection, which was an ode to Amy Winehouse complete with over-the-top beehives, seemed a touch scattered and could have benefitted from an edit or two. Still his imagination and the craftsmanship to bring them to life are in full force — like the pinstripe suit jacket that fell away to a shawl on one side. There was a delectable edge, with necklines draping asymmetrically, jackets slipping off shoulders, and bosoms bursting ripely forth which always makes his couture collections a feast for the eyes.
While Gaultier sought inspiration in the 21st century, Valentino heralded back to the days of Marie Antoinette (a different kind of bad girl) role-playing in her little farm on the grounds of Versailles amongst a breath of cool country air. Sprigged flower prints, blured floral chaine or pure, delicate lace and organza made up most of the dresses with a lucid ivory wool rounding out the collection. Yet it still maintained a modern ambience, the flat shoes worn with the just-above-the-knee dresses and the deep pockets on the gowns conjured up images of the modern-day Alexa Chung. Having seen the collection first hand, Style.com said, “Examined up close in the atelier, the workmanship defied comprehension. The stitching was so fine it was invisible. It signaled the heart-stopping delicacy that distinguished the collection.” Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s most exquisite collection to date.
From Giorgio Armani’s first exit it was clear that this was a collection based on the idea of pythons, serpents, the textures and patterns of the reptile world. He focused in on one color: green—poison green, teal, deep green, chartreuse. Armani’s jackets –his signature and strength — were emphasized with the use of simple bottoms, pencil skirts (with added folds in the front) and a clean narrow pant. The jackets became more modern with swooped-up shoulders, nipped waists, and peplums, with one stand-out jacket in super-luxe crocodile. Armani’s other strength, evening wear, with its full circle skirt silhouettes and long lean column dresses gave the collection a current, strong vibe. One we hope is infused in his collections to come.
Like Armani, Lagerfeld focused on one color, his being the shade of blue — 154 shades of it. Backstage Lagerfeld told Vogue magazine ““It’s the most becoming color. And I’m bored with the red carpet—so why not a blue carpet?” The collection spoke for itself — from the simple, chic color-blocked dresses, to the treatments of Chanel tweeds, to the long, skinny dresses—with one beguiling dress after another sent down the runway.
Givenchy, wanting to explore the more conventional haute-couture embellishments, called this his “sparkle collection”. But how Givenchy defines sparkle his not like his fellow ateliers. There isn’t the essence of lightness and air that envelops other heavily beaded collections. He drew inspiration from the 20’s but not the Fitzgerald art deco 20’s, but instead from Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece Metropolis version.
In order to weld the embellishments firmly to his own powerful, far from conventional, vision of a woman, Ricardo Tisci mixed them with exotic skins. In one lavish gown, crocodile skin was cut scale by scale, carefully numbered, and then reassembled in correct formation and embroidered on fine silk tulle to create a sinuous evening dress that caresses the body (a process that takes 350 hours), while crocodile swallow-tailed jackets are embellished with three-dimensional Soviet stars and angelic wings.
By now, the celebrities have left Paris and the town is gearing up to welcome the next ready-to-wear season (fall 2012) – Paris is a never-ending runway of fashion.