As S/S 2012 Fashion Weeks wind down around the world, it’s fitting that Paris delivered some of the most memorable and stunning looks from some of the most venerable designers. After scrupulously studying the collections, I’ve narrowed down my favorite looks from fashion’s biggest Parisian design houses.
Selecting favorite looks was somewhat challenging, as there were so many meticulously crafted garments floating down the runway this past week. From Givenchy to Stella McCartney to
Kanye West (seriously, why is he allowed to be a designer?) attention to detail is what separates these designers from others.
I shall begin with the ultimate design house – Chanel. This season, Karl dove into an underwater utopia, where he combined classic Chanel – mille-feuille pleats, tweed jackets, drop waists – with more modern silhouettes and ease. Never deviating from his aquatic theme, he dressed models in mother of pearl accessories, iridescent elements and sea-colored garments. I love soft, feminine pieces mixed with edgier items, which is why I selected these two Chanel looks as my favorite. The ruffly skirt paired with a modern-shaped green jacket and nude leather shorts paired with a leather jacket and dramatic pearls are perfection.
Onto one of the best gown makers in the business. Elie Saab never dissapoints. This season, the collection was a rainbow (who remembers ROY G BIV?) of solid silk dresses and sequin and lace embellishments. Femininity at its finest! The most alluring gown was a sunny yellow number with a high neck, big bow and revealing center slit. Only Elie could make yellow so glam.
Valentino. The house can do no wrong. Exploring a dream-like fantasy, the S/S 2012 collection took dreamers on a girly adventure with floral appliques, lace, embroidery and folkloric references. This nude floral lace dress is so effortless and chic, while this beaded long sleeved gown reminds me of Dynasty (in a good way).
It’s only been a few months since Sarah Burton became a mega superstar designer after creating Kate Middleton’s now famous wedding dress, but she dazzled the crowd with her S/S 2012 Alexander McQueen presentation. Like Chanel, Burton was influenced by the sea, integrating an oyster print, coral-hued pieces, shells and metallic (treasures) into the thoughtful collection. Despite all the cheery references, I stopped breathing momentarily when I saw this black dress with a corseted top featuring cutouts and a skirt with elaborate folds and tucks giving it a 3-D luster.
Few know women’s fashion better than Alber Elbaz, creative director at Lanvin. This season the master presented a paradoxical show, creating a tension of opposites in his looks. Masculine and feminine. Heaven and hell. Dressy and casual. Fitted and loose. Veering from his traditionally dress-heavy collection, Elbaz dappled in separates and did quite a good job of it. One of my favorite looks was a one-shoulder blush colored dress that had incredible movement; the other was a sportier look – a skirt with a richly-hued navy and black blouse.
Many of the French fashion brands focus on pretty and fragile pieces; not Isabel Marant. Not to say she can’t deliver them, but this season was all about bohemian, casual and comfy items. I really like the sporty element integrated throughout the collection; it showed fashion can be effortless. Mixing prints can be challening, but when it’s done right, it’s oh-so-chic. Which is why I selected this floral print pant and embellished tie-dye jacket as my favorite ensemble from the show.
Consistent with his New York show, Marc Jacobs gave his Louis Vuitton collection an enchanting, ethereal and whimsical emotion with a carousel set at center stage. The clothes looked so fragile you could break them if you even looked too long – nothing could be as delicate as laser cut lace and pastel organza. The boxy jackets and odd shapes were not my favorite; but, the detail in this ladylike white dress is what makes Jacobs so renowned (and worthy of designing for Dior).