While Americans were all celebrating their independence, a different kind of fireworks were on the Paris runways for the Fall 2012 Couture shows. The most anticipated debut of the season was Raf Simons' very first collection for Christian Dior. After over a year of drama, speculation, and uncertainty for the design house, they've finally secured a creative director, and by the response to his premiere, it looks like he'll be there for a while. Valentino's collection was also greatly raved about and Chanel brought back classics as a "new vintage."
My favorite shows weren't all of the ones that were well-received, but they were no less amazing. Here are the collections that I fell in love with...
Elie SaabElie Saab has been a favorite of mine when it comes to gorgeous gowns and he always delivers on the couture runway. This season he took a very romantic approach, a little less glam than normal, but equally stunning. Most of the gowns were belted, accentuating the way Saab made each one with a clear waistline to separate the bodice from the skirt. He also used lace and beading to play off of the necklines. The eye was drawn to the drama just above the bust, while the actual neckline of the garment was much higher. There was just enough bare skin and sparkle in the collection to lend itself to more streamlined pieces as well. To complete each look were Grecian-inspired, braided updos and minimal, dewy makeup, with a hint of winged eyeliner.
|I love the two different necklines that are created here.|
|A more conservative look, but still with a bit of glamour.|
|Say goodbye to pink -- peach is totally the new girly color!|
|Intricate beading calls for a streamlined skirt.|
|This much glitz deserves little glimpses of skin.|
|Angelina started a craze. Now slit-up-the-leg dresses will be everywhere!|
|Absolutely in love with this classy look!|
|Although the bodice is pretty, the slight ruffle in the skirt makes this gown.|
|Favorite beauty look of all the shows -- very natural makeup, letting the eyes pop with a little eyeliner!|
|Inverted braids are really gaining popularity. It's an edgier take on a classic french braid.|
No question, the most anticipated, important, and groundbreaking show of the season, and quite possibly of the year. When a new creative director comes to a design house everyone hopes that they will find the perfect balance between keeping its signature look and taking the label in a fresh, new direction. Raf Simons did just that. He celebrated the old "New Look" Dior, then not only dusted off the Galliano era with polished contemporary looks, but also started a new conversation with his smartest decision of all -- pants. Yes, menswear as womenswear has been a huge trend for years now, but the way that Simons executed it was unique. He didn't obliterate the femininity that Dior has made iconic, he altered it to fit the modern woman. He created structured, ladylike, short dresses worn with streamlined trousers underneath, as if to say, "Who says you can't wear pants and have your dress too?" Every look was not only flattering, but also powerful and edgy. Simons has opened up an entirely new idea in couture design and we can expect a lot of excitement around awards season, hoping to see these ideas on red carpet starlets.
|The new power suit -- cropped trousers and a structured dress.|
|An embroidered dress adds femininity to wool cigarette pants.|
|A beautiful belted coat echoes vintage Dior.|
|I love this sassy, dotted dress!|
|This tie-dye effect print modernizes a retro silhouette.|
|My favorite look of the show, could definitely be seen on the red carpet!|
|I love the mix of texture and color in this dress.|
Although this show had very few pieces, each one had the detail of five. There was a focus on accentuating the backs of each garment, as well a theme of sleek column silhouettes. Embellishments like beading and fur made the pieces ethereal, as if they came from a land of knights and royalty.
|I love this no-shoulder cape style gown. It's dark and edgy, but still beautiful.|
|Fur sleeves on a dress doesn't mean you still can't bare some skin.|
|The jacket accompanying this gown adds a regal touch.|
|Possibly the most intricate embellishments of this season's couture shows.|
|Beautiful, classy, streamlined.|
Valli showed us that florals can definitely be worn for the fall. There were not only countless variations on the floral print seen on the runway, but also a wide range of silhouettes, some structured, some more fluid. He used a multitude of ruffles to add volume to shoulders, waistlines, hips, and collars, while not losing the figure-flattering gowns underneath. The most interesting accessories he included were net headpieces, some with butterflies adorning models' mouths, as if referencing the "Silence of the Lambs" book cover.
|The bit of volume on top brings attention to the belted waist, while creating length all the way down the dress.|
|A beautiful, flowing fabric in an enchanting, emerald green.|
|The fitted torso of the dress makes the flaring skirt look even more dramatic.|
|An interesting way to incorporate the peplum trend -- with ladylike ruffles.|
|Gorgeous tiering and a minty floral - one of my favorite looks!|
|Love the contrast of the boxy neckline with a voluminous waist!|
|This fantastic, plunge neckline lends itself to lots of volume on the skirt end.|
There are always elements at a Chanel show that will be predictable given its long history -- tweed, ladylike necklines, pearls, metallics, classic suits, chiffon. But there are also those that will be unpredictable, given the creative director is the always-eccentric Kaiser. Lagerfeld created what he calls "new vintage," with the idea that the new clothes he creates today will be the vintage of tomorrow's generations.
|An Indian-style tunic meets a patchwork knit = a very modern "vintage" dress.|
|You always need that classic tweed skirt suit...with metallic hosiery of course!|
|Belting the jacket with a long maxi skirt is the best way to pull this look off.|
|A chiffon-winged dress fit for an angel!|
|A 60's inspired suit for the woman of today.|
|A very contemporary silhouette -- love the side cutouts with metallic trim!|
|A prim and proper button-down blouse calls for a glitzy, beaded skirt!|