Fall 2012 Haute Couture Collections

Fall 2012 Haute Couture Collections

Yesterday, the last of the fashion houses showcased their haute couture designs in Paris. Fall Haute Couture fashion week is without a doubt my favourite time in the fashion calendar. It is the perfect opportunity for the brands to define an aesthetic for the upcoming shift in season. From Chanel’s classic approach to the major shakeup at Christian Dior, here are my highlights straight from the runways and ateliers of Paris.

Alexis Mabille told Style.com he was “imagining women as jewels.” For me, the collection was a bit all over the map. There were caped crusaders, little red riding hoods, mermaids bathed in shiny lame and femme fatales garbed in black and lace. Sounds fun, but it wasn’t. With futuristic updos and a range of colours and textures, there wasn’t enough continuity through the collection.

At Armani PrivĂ©, models walked down the catwalk sometimes in pairs, in easy suits with peaked shoulders, voluminous pants and flat shoes. The aesthetic was chic and very Armani. I loved the muted mauve and periwinkle colour palette for fall. Those colours aren’t what come to mind first when thinking about fall, but I love the way the collection rolled out gradually, like an ombre effect, culminating into the deep jewel shades of sparkling evening dresses and tuxedo jackets.

This fall haute couture collection was the most classic, distilled Chanel collection in recent memory. It almost had a vintage air about it, with classic grey and pink tweed suits strolling down the runway, just like Coco. But Karl Lagerfeld has a different notion of vintage. “Vintage is depressing,” Lagerfeld clarified. “But ‘new vintage’ is something to come. It’s preparation for something that could last.” And a Chanel suit is definitely here to last.


All eyes were on Raf Simons at Christian Dior. He said he was interested in rethinking couture, and the Antwerper succeeded at just that. Taking Christian Dior’s classic peplum waist dress and juxtaposing it with cigarette pants below was a stroke of genius. Blending feminine and masculine, the past with the present. It’s official, the peplum is here to stay.

Elie Saab’s collection was mostly evening gowns and cocktail dresses, the ones you’ll find in the closets of A-listers and royalty. Nothing was too exciting, save for some evening gowns that had a kaftan silhouette and luxurious draping. He looked to the East, for inspiration. With rich beading and embroidery, the collection was very rich, but came off as a lookbook for stylists to pull from for their red carpet clients.

Givenchy is always one of my favourite collections during the week. This time around, Riccardo Tisci blended classic silhouettes of Hubert de Givenchy with more natural influences. Set against a more natural backdrop, the collection echoed the spirit of nature, with mossy colours, fur textures, macrame, beading and fringe. It was structured but had life. The collection encapsulated fall and was so simple and forward-thinking.

Jean Paul Gaultier’s show was a rock-and-roll cabaret romp. Models wore tophats, black suit jackets, turbans and fur, as they shimmied down the runway in fun clothes. I’ve seen this aesthetic before from Gaultier, but the show was fun and upbeat… sometimes things don’t have to change.

Maison Martin Margiela’s collection wasn’t my favourite, but it was definitely forward-thinking. There was a lot of textures, with lace contrasted with sheer panels, skin and jewelry, but the most mysterious part of this collection were the masks the models wore.

Valentino’s Fall Haute Couture collection was elegant and regal. With rich navy caped gowns and suits, contrasted against embroidered chiffon and silk dresses with imagery that looks like it came out of Marie Antoinette’s boudoir. It was a lovely collection with a very rich aesthetic, a quality that suits the fall season.

Versace was very… Versace. With skin-tight evening gowns and thigh-skimming slits, the collection was sexy, feminine and very femme fatale. I personally loved the scarf prints and bodycon dresses this time around. It didn’t really feel like couture, but I could easily see an up-and-coming starlet in one of these sexy little numbers. Donatella herself was one of the highlights of the show, in a body-hugging leather dress with lateral strips of leather, perfectly framing her tiny body. If only the rest of us could squeeze into something like that.

So my favourites this season? Since Karl played it safe at Chanel, I have to say that Raf Simons’ take over at Dior was inspired and concrete. Givenchy is always a mainstay favourite, but I also loved the sumptuous looks at Valentino for a change. I’m excited for the fall season, and already have my eye on a pair of black cigarette pants to pair with a peplum waist!

Images via Style.com


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