The Fall Haute Couture shows had our attention fixed on Paris last week. Twice a year, a handful of designers have the opportunity to communicate their true language, one free of commercial demands. These handmade pieces—some singular in nature—are destined to land in only a limited number of the most coveted closets, but we can all appreciate their beauty.
We can always count on Karl to give us something memorable at Chanel, and this collection was no exception. He called the collection New Vintage, which was less about looking back, and more about looking forward to create pieces that will last lifetimes. So if there’s one silhouette you can continue to count on from Chanel, it’s the suit, which this season took on a 40s inflection with broad shoulders, cape back and a color palette of black, gray, silver and dusty pink. A few show-stopping dresses included the bridal finale and this new romance that married leather and tulle.
Undoubtedly the highlight of haute couture week was Raf Simons’ debut collection for Christian Dior. Simons made quite the splash with a collection that hearkened back to Dior’s heyday, yet was imbued with a contemporary edge that was pure Simons. Take note of the brilliant pink pump, which was the same shade of pink that launched his last show for Jil Sander. The front row was packed with the designer’s contemporaries: Alaïa, Elbaz, Jacobs, Theyskens, Tisci, Versace and von Furstenberg.
Versace returned to the couture calendar this year with a brilliant collection best described as Versace to the nth. The key ingredients were all there: pastel colors, hip-high slits, scarf prints, Medusa emblems—and lots of skin. Donatella even managed to sex-up the trench coat by halving it, cinching its waist and rendering it in a sheer, perforated fabric.
Armani Privé was a film noir sensation, down to the tipped black berets by Philip Treacy. A wearable couture collection at times, like the easy jackets with broad shoulders (echoing those seen at Chanel), voluminous trousers and flat shoes. Some veiled looks toward the end were all about mystery, stirred further by the column dresses they topped.
Riccardo Tisci’s abbreviated collection for Givenchy was beautiful in its range, from an elegant fringe-beaded sweater to dramatic Asian-inspired warrior dresses. The subdued color palette was somber and lent an air of fashion plucked from some enchanted forest. The embroidery and ornate details Tisci has become known for in his couture collections was in heavy rotation here as well.