Paris is absolutely my favorite of the Fashion Weeks. There is just something about the city that makes the clothes more magical, more beautiful, more aspirational even. Below I have edited down some of my favorite collections of the Fall 2011 season. The rest will be posted shortly. For now please enjoy A-C.
Sarah Burton’s second collection for Alexander McQueen boasted some stunning gowns, fit for a Queen (hint Ms. Middleton). The fairly small collection was almost exclusively black and white, very Victorian and full of luxurious fur and structure.
Head designer of Balmain, Christophe Decarnin, has regretfully checked himself into a hospital due to depression, and did not work a lot on the line this season, but despite that the old world house pulled through and created a luxe tomboy ish line. I appreciated the departure from the safety pins and ripped tees, the sequin dresses and metallic fabrics are so fabulous.
Cacharel’s show was interesting, half was the beautiful flower design and the other half was the very simple neutral colored separates, both were equally wearable and modern.
Admittedly the Celine show this season was not as great as it was in the past, but the four looks above I found to be the exception. Fur is clearly not going anywhere (yay!) and for some reason I cannot get that pink suit out of my head.
Hannah MacGibbon didn’t get the best review of this season’s Chloe collection, there was too much snakeskin and not enough of her beautiful 70’s camel pieces that made the line so popular again. However, I really loved the leather pants and these new colors she is introducing for Fall.
Seeing that I am not a “tomboy” in the least (though you should have seen me in the 90’s) I wasn’t a huge fan of Chanel and all of the skirts over pants and boyish clothing. It was mainly black and dark colors, and I feel like only models can pull off the skirt/dress over pants look. But I did love some of the chiffon dresses and black jumpsuits, it is Chanel after all.
Couture season has just ended in Paris (sigh) and the clothes were absolutely lovely. I noticed a distinct return to femininity, from the shapes to the pale colors and light fabrics. It’s quite sad because I know from experience that the photographs really do not do the clothes justice. What might look merely “beautiful” in an image is amplified by 10 when you actually see the piece in person and feel the fabric and see the intricate details the camera barely picks up. I am lucky enough to have this experience at Vogue and I absolutely cannot wait to see these exquisite pieces in person.
The Whole Collection
I felt the second day called for an all black ensemble, I am at a fashion magazine after all.
I chose this black Saks Fifth Ave. jumpsuit and pinned one of my great-grandmothers rhinestone pins on the lapel, and topped it off with black suede Chanel loafers.
Daphne Guinness and FIT have a healthy loving relationship, and this couldn’t make me happier. I went to the Japan Now exhibit currently at FIT, curated by the fabulous Valerie Steele, and was pleasantly surprised. The exhibit was impressive to say the least. Japanese fashion is not my favorite but I loved seeing the minimalistic avant garde design sense of Yojhi Yamamoto and Issey Miyake next to that of Japanese Lolitas and CosPlay characters. I thought the mix of these two vastly different styles was great.
But what I liked the most was this sign.
See that sentence at the bottom? Yes, the last one that says, “Gift of Daphne Guinness”. There were two of these but the guard stopped me before I could take a picture of the second one.
Daphne Guinness donates to FIT, to my school, to my institute of higher learning.
She is one of my fashion icons. Period.
And it gets even better than this. The Fall 2011 exhibit at FIT is going to be Daphne Guinness’s couture collection. I died a little when I heard this (in a good way).
I think it is so unbelievably generous of her to show her world renowned closet to the world. One that she has been building for decades. One filled with Alexander McQueen originals and Chanel and Vivienne Westwood…
Just one more reason to look forward to next Fall.
Because I am quite far behind on my fashion shows I have decided to condense the last few days into one final post. That means that these are the absolute stand out pieces from the final days of PFW.
There should also be a moment of silence for both Jean Paul Gaultier’s last Hermes collection and Sarah Burton’s first collection for Alexander McQueen. Let the changing of the guards commence.
Paul and Joe
Every summer I take a trip into New York to see the Costume Institute’s most recent exhibition at the Metropolitian Museum of Art. And last Wednesday I had a chance to see the newest one, sponsored by Conde Nast and Gap, the title is “American Woman: Fashioning A National Identity.”
Personally, I think all of the exhibits they put on are beyond incredible. The first one I went to was all Chanel, and I happened to bump into Tim Gunn so that was exciting. This one was beautiful. I loved seeing the changes in American styles and how they developed in the beginning part of the 20th Century. The clothes were always stunning but in different ways, and completely different from each other from decade to decade.
My favorites were the Bohemians and the Flappers, followed closely by the glamorous movie stars of the 30’s. There was one dress that I was instantly drawn to in the Flapper room, and of course, it was Lanvin.
If you can get to the city to see it I really recommend it, if not for the clothes, to see the psychology behind how clothing was impacted by society and vice versa.
The Athletic Gibson Girl.
Close Up of Bohemians
Old Hollywood Glamour of the 30's
Close Up of Hollywood
I think it is time I devote a post to Karlie Kloss. This is mainly because she is everywhere. Opening runway shows, doing advertisements, being featured in editorials. And she is only 17. And grew up in Missouri. No big deal. She is also 6 feet tall.
Am I envious? Jealous of this doll faced girl traversing the globe wearing the most beautiful clothes imaginable? Well yes, maybe a little bit.
But I have to hand it to her, she’s good at what she does, she has an interesting look to her, and she is such a chameleon. One day she will look like a carefree teenager, 16 years old at best, and then a few hours later with a little mascara and some blush she is a Dior vixen twice her age.
Let’s examine some of her best magazine work, both ads and editorials:
Sonia Rykiel for H & M
Oscar de la Renta
And the runway:
Jean Paul Gaultier
Dolce and Gabbana
I really cannot believe I am about to say this, but the truth must come out. This is like the time when I said that I didn’t like Sarah Jessica Parker’s yellow Valentino dress at her movie premiere. This is something I do not do very often, but I cannot just ignore it.
The Chanel couture show. What happened? Where is the Karl Lagerfeld, I know and love? The man who gave us:
Mr. Lagerfeld has a habit of making me yearn and lust for his dresses, occasionally dreaming about them and their absolute stunning beauty. But this couture collection did not. I was completely and totally underwhelmed, upset even, at the lack of creativity and wonder. The pieces were pretty and obviously well made, but I do not want to think, “Oh, well isn’t that a nice jacket,” when seeing a show, I want to think, “What can I do to get my hands on it? Who do I need to distract to sneak backstage and rip it off the model?” And I did not feel this way about any of the pieces. And this is Chanel! One of the single greatest fashion houses in the world. There were a few that I liked and I have posted them below.
I understand that they are great pieces, that the clothing is wearable and cautious of the uncertain times that we live in. But I want to be transported from my quiet little sea side town, I want to forget about money, jobs, people, and the world frankly when I see a couture show.
I would really like to hear others opinions about the show, maybe I am way off base, but I have a feeling that I am not alone in this thinking. (Also, remember that Lagerfeld often does a lot of looks in his collections, I have picked the absolute best, there are over 30 looks not present here.)
There are about 4 things (out of 64 looks) that I loved. What happened Karl?
The next few days will be entirely devoted to something I hold very close to my heart, couture. This is the greatest art form in fashion, it is the medium in which fashion designers are their most creative and experimental.
First a definition to clear up a few misconceptions.
Haute Couture: French for “high sewing” or “high dressmaking”. It is custom fit clothing of the highest quality with the most expensive and luxurious fabrics and more often than not hand sewn, always with extreme attention to detail by the best and most experienced seamstresses. The term is protected by law in Paris and defined by the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris. And only companies listed by this elite group are technically allowed to call their designs “haute couture”.
The end. No Juicy Couture or Romeo and Juliet Couture. Only four designers are not French, and others show their collections as “Guest Members”. The members come and go, like Donatella Versace, Lanvin and Yves Saint Laurent no longer show couture collections but the houses once did.
There are also jewelry and accessories designers included in the group, but not too many.
The most famous current official members are: Anne Valerie Hash, Chanel, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Givenchy, and Jean Paul Gaultier. And the four foreign members are, Elie Saab, Giorgio Armani, Maison Martin Margiela, and Valentino.
The shows began this week in Paris and I have compiled my favorite looks from the collections. Some I found absolutely amazing (Dior and Givenchy) and others were underwhelming (Chanel) but each of them offered exquisite craftsmanship and beauty, which is rarely seen anymore with our fast-paced, over efficient, busy world.