Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fall Winter 2009 2010 Couture

photo by Richard Gwin, Lawrence Journal World

Couture fashion for Fall-Winter 2009/10 premiered in Paris July 6, 2009. Members of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture make customized clothing for private clients, utilizing the most decadent of materials. Also, members are required to have a workshop in Paris and hold a runway presentation for the people twice per year, comprised of both daywear and evening wear.
Yes, it's true: fashion does have rules.

This summer's shows were diverse--ranging from established designers, such as Christian Lacroix and Givenchy, to new, young talent, like that of Alexis Mabille.
Read below for my own reviews of a few designers (these Haute Couture members can undoubtedly be considered...grandfathered in):

Karl Lagerfeld produced impecible two-piece dress-suits, all paired with lace tights, gloves, and, sometimes, even lace bowler hats. Talk about a suit for your lifetime wardrobe! Blouses and dresses had the perfect amount of detail--each one can be imagined in a particular, appropriate environment. Cocktail party? Day at the office? Stroll downtown? Dinner at the Eiffel Tower? Lagerfeld has just the outfit for you!
Admittedly, I liked his more conservative outfits over his few bold, bright pieces. Perhaps pieces of couture already embody so much elegance and their perfection already demands for attention--you don't need to shout it, you know?
Lagerfeld's bead-work, more clustered at one end and more dispersed at the other, gave off a unique color-shifting effect. Most of his pieces had a train attached; either a long, chiffon pice trailed behind each model, or a tail-coat or fixed-fabric attachment unified his collection. Admittedly, I was not the biggest fan of his fireworks-like pattern that prevailed on so many of his pieces. Still, his finale was amazing--a duo decked out in all white.
My favorite? Grey, roll-neck shift dress with pockets at the sides
Get the look: Pair a party-dress (preferably one in a finer fabric, such as satin or chiffon) with a long, kaftan-like overcoat to achieve a train-like, attention grabbing look.

Armani Prive:

Armani is time and time again my favorite couture designer. I've previously swooned over his Spring 2008 Haute Couture collection (reminiscent of art-deco details and structures); however, Armani's 2009 collection was also impressive. Most of his pieces were a shimmery monochrome and softly structured. Exquisite details, beadwork, cut-outs, and lace did Couture proud. Still, haute couture or no, Armani made one thing crystal-clear: this fall, it's all about the pants ladies.
Other important details? Suit-jackets with structured shoulders, lace t-shirts peeking out of skirtsuits, and a distinct nod to sportswear--dressy hoodies incorporated into eveningwear and polos with embroidery. Armani also incorporated dressy jumpsuits (PANTsuits) that were a combination of nude, mesh, and sparkle. Also, one particular top caught my eye--a simple t-shirt that looked to be screened with a photo of barely-there flowers. The only color palette that I didn't like was his blue-black combination for several evening gowns, but they did feature brilliant cut-outs and showed some skin (a classy way to interpret the midriff trend?)!
My absolute favorite? Armani's opening pantsuit--fitted, pleated pants and a matching blazer with oversize front-buttons, pagoda shoulders, and a beautiful bow at the collarbone. Gorgeous. Seriously.
Get the look: Find the perfect pantsuit in a riche material. Look for strong shoulders, pleated pants, and one-of-a-kind details that remind you of Armani's perfect bows and buttons.

Christian Dior
Bright, vivid colors describe Dior's most recent couture collection, designed by John Galliano. Lemon-limes, yellows, and magentas were all over--but I love love his orangey-apricot. I couldn't stop looking at two pieces--a dress and a bubble skirt, both designed in this color. Galliano also incorporated soft, leather gloves in both brown and black hues. And, although most of the designers incorporated animal-print (tiger, zebra, leopard) into their couture collection, the cheetah-print in Dior's collection was just not-so. The gloves seemed so comfortable, sophisticated, wise, and reassuring next to the bold, brazen youthful colors. Structurally, his pieces emphasized the hips--jackets were wasp-waisted, skirts were volumized with padded-hip coats and bubble skirts. I do like a fitted blazer, especially with a peplum waist. He also included corset tops, so cinched that the oversized skirts looked more volumunous than I thought possible!
My favorite? Galliano's apricot dress!
Get the look: Wear a bubble skirt or dress in wild colors. If you're not the flamboyant type, choose a simple color and let the details of the dress speak for themselves. Top it with a blazer that grabs a little attention.

Jean Paul Gaultier:
Gaultier's fall couture collection surely has something for everyone. It was an eclectic mix of design concepts--from flapper dresses and fur coats to...powder blue alligator-skin overalls?
At any rate, Gautier did stress some great take-home points: velvet tuxedo coats, above-the-knee boots, leather overcoats, and oversized furs. Luxury fabrics were mixed to emphasize texture. Flowy, ethereal, floor-length dresses were absolute elegant drama. Gaultier's color palette was mostly browns and blacks with a splash of color--like a pale grey-ish purple. Stand-out models tended to be Marylin Monroe-esque, equipped with curves and gorgeous bobbed hair that carried off Gaultier's best, classic looks.
I just don't know what to think about Gaultier's gladiator-like corsets--tops that resemble the bumpy back of a dinosaur or an absurd wrestling costume!
My favorite? Super-short gold dress, shimmery ivory tights, oversized rust-colored fur, and a bob with mermaid-waves.
Get the look: Tone down the bulky leather by incorporating such fabric in your skirt or boots. Get a mixed-texture look by incorporating color-blocks comprised of diverse colors and fabrics. With an outfit as wild as this, try to unify your look with shoes or accessories that otherwise might seem too matchy-matchy.

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