Thursday, January 29, 2015

Couture Week: A Whimsical Romance

As we enter Paris Couture Week, we're taken into a fantastical realm with a collection of dresses fit for a princess from a fairytale romance. As it ends slightly too quickly, we feel like we've reached the end of a tale as old as time and occasionally, we may shed a tear. The soft music pulls us into this world that has brought our vivid imaginations to life due to the creativity of some of our favourite designers. In many ways, Couture is better than Ready-to-Wear because it takes us back to the origins of fashion when that was all that existed and women dressed extravagantly every day. This year, we were taken back in time with Valentino, transported into a natural paradise with Chanel, caught in a maze of beautiful colours with Dior, immersed inside a world of romance with Giambattista Valli, and sprinkled with sparkle at Elie Saab. What did they all have in common? We could pictures ourselves in every outfit standing before our Prince Charming as he accosts us in his horse-drawn carriage. 
Let's review, shall we?

From the braided updos to the frilly necklines, Valentino took us to another era, one more akin to Downton Abbey or The Knight's Templar. As usual, this collection was all about the elegance of the past with brocade prints, long hemlines, and peasant blouses. It was ladylike in an old-fashioned way that we wish still existed. Some velvet gowns stood out, particularly one in a rich red hue with a cape that added to its regal quality. Some subtle shades of beige were integrated to the collection, bringing us back to 19th century England, back when lovely maidens would frolic in the fields. A few romantic patterns were introduced as well on some of the final dresses, including flowers, clouds, and words from a love letter to Romeo. Evidently, these two designers were in a very nostalgic mood, longing for the golden days of romance before dating apps and hook-up culture ever existed.

My Favourite Look: 46

Valentino - Spring 2015 Couture - Look 46 of 48

Is there really a Couture show we look forward to more than Chanel? Probably not. We can always expect extravagance from Karl, something unusual that we never imagined possible. He dives into his imagination every year and stuns his audience with an awe-inspiring show. This year, that something was a garden of Eden of sorts with paper flowers in bright spring colours at the center of the runway. The show began with a young man in a straw hat watering this lovely garden as models in wide rim hats began to appear in bold shades of blue, yellow, and pink Chanel tweed. There were some beanies as well, but not the beanies we are accustomed to seeing on the streets of winter. These beanies were in pretty pale pink with a net to shield the eyes. What followed was a series of monochrome looks that took us back to the days of Coco, the woman who invented the LBD as we know it today. What was new? Some cropped blazers and blouses were a predominant look as well as an abundance of floral appliques, a popular style choice this season. Ruffles and sparkle were added to this feminine mix, making this collection the ultimate woman's dream. And of course, the show ended with a drool worthy wedding gown. Are you as smitten as I am?

Favourite Look: 38
Chanel - Spring 2015 Couture - Look 38 of 73
This year, the Christian Dior collection consisted of the perfect combination of sexy, with thigh high patent leather boots in a variety of colours from blood red to mustard yellow, and ladylike, with A-line skirts taking us back to the New Look of yore. The vibrant prints came in a wilder form than usual with stripes and florals taking center stage as well as abstract head-to-toe whimsical looks in shades of orange, blue, and yellow. Regardless of the abundance of geometric prints, this collection kept the classic Dior silhouette intact with the full skirts of the 50's and the mini dresses of 60's splattered throughout the show. Bright shades of yellow, orange, and green emboldened this runway alive with artistic fervor. Let's not forget to mention the elaborate embroidery on many of these looks that teased the eyes and awakened all of our senses. Raf Simons may have taken a risk with this collection, but it was definitely a step in a more modern direction.

Favourite Look: 54
Christian Dior - Spring 2015 Couture - Look 54 of 55
Whether you're a celebrity or a commoner (as I am), Elie Saab is every woman's Red Carpet dream. After all, who doesn't love beading and sparkle? Like at Chanel, we saw some bold floral prints, but this time, on sheer beige dresses. We were taken to an enchanted forest where you could feel the romance in the air, particularly with some of the final looks resembled water colour paintings, creating the illusion of a flower garden. As always, there were many dresses we'd love to see on celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Cate Blanchett at this year's Oscars. Lucky for us, the event is coming up in a few weeks and I can already envision a number of these pastel dresses making an appearance. With glamorous retro waves, some silver and some gold, as well as a few feathers, any of these looks would make for bold choices that can't go wrong. As usual, Elie Saab knows how to make women dream.

Favourite Look: 17
Elie Saab - Spring 2015 Couture - Look 17 of 56
One of my own personal favourites, Giambattista Valli, never fails to impress. This season, he kept his feminine touch throughout the collection with his traditional pale pink, yellow, off-white, and black combo, while adding a little touch of darkness. With black hair nets, black bows, and sheer black skirts over black pants, this collection felt more like a dark fantasy in an enchanted forest of mystery. The full skirts, floral appliques, and flamboyant tulle, kept it girly and romantic as per Giambattista Valli's style. Even the soft french voice seduced us as we watched each model walk the runway in embroidered dresses with sheer paneling and frilly details. This designer proved that skirts over pants is the new normal and our traditional perception of the princess dress can be reshaped to suit our modern imagination. Pink fur, anyone? 

Favourite Look: 9
Giambattista Valli - Spring 2015 Couture - Look 9 of 47
These are some of my top picks for Paris Couture Week this year. Which shows were your favourites?

Ponder it,



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