Runway Report: Paris Couture (Part 1)

One of my main goals in life is to make it to the Paris couture shows one day - even in photos, the artistry of couture pieces is enough to render me awestruck, so I can only imagine what the effect would be in person.

Even though most of us won't be forking over thousands of dollars for a feathered and fringed gown any time soon, we can still take away some ideas from the couture shows - after all, couture is kind of a lab for generating ideas that will one day be modified for ready-to-wear, so those who pay attention to the trends now are sure to be ahead of the curve before they hit Forever 21.

The main lessons from the first two days of the show:

The New Skirt Shape: Armani Prive's "Crater"

First we had the bubble, then the tulip - and then, probably sensing an impending weird-skirt-shape-fatigue among the masses, designers returned to a more traditional pencil for winter and full a-line for spring. But if Giorgio Armani has his way, we might be back in the throes of sartorial confusion come fall, as his couture presentation was filled with "Crater" skirts. I'm not a designer, so am not sure how easy the shape would be to recreate for RTW, but I, for one, am all for it - is an interesting interpretation of the dropped waist look for day.

The New Proportion: Chanel's Micro-minis & Little Girl Shoes

The mini-and-flats combination isn't exactly new, but am very much digging the combination of sexy draped minis with kindergarden-style flat mary janes and white tights - again, great way of making a mini appropriate for day, and a really refreshing means of styling the traditional Chanel tweed jacket, which tends to look grandmotherly when worn on its own.

The New Decadance: Christian Lacroix's Grey Gardens Print Mixing

The fashion world is obsessed with the eccentric ladies of Grey Gardens, with just about every major glossy running a spread based on the theme in their fall issues. Lacroix's couture show immediately brought those spreads to mind, but with a luxurious twist, with models parading down the runways in layer upon layer of garments in every color, shape and print. Sailor stripes juxtaposed with Scottish tartans, leopard prints worn over painterly brushstrokes - the end effect was one of extreme decadence bordering on mild insanity, a woman who has seen and done it all and is reliving the memories of her rich life through fashion.

The Not-So-New Color: Dior's Jewel Box Brights

Again, jewel tones are nothing new, but John Galliano's show for Dior just reinforced why we love them so - despite the gorgeous hand-painted detailing on his gowns, it's the vibrant amethyst, ruby and sapphire color scheme that catches your eye - and your breath - before anything else.

The New Focal Point: Anne Valerie Hash's Shoulders

Yeah, I know, this one's not so new either (guess that says something about this year's shows, no?), but I do love a big shoulder, and Hash's collection at least sort of moves the trend forward - from volume to geometric, architectural structure.


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