The recent Paris Fall 2008 Couture shows left fashionistas oohing and ahhing over the architectural shapes, heavy winter fabrics, and breathtaking opulency. So let’s not waste time and just get straight to the clothes!
Christian Lacroix’s collection dutifully satiated the appetites of those looking for grandeur. The evening began with a bevy of frothy skirts and overcoats with fur trim, while light fairy-tale dresses marked the last half of the show. Model Vlada Roslyakova closed the show as a bride in a dazzling (literally) wedding dress complete with an ornate headpiece and puffy sleeves. All of the girls were sporting bejewelled mohawks that was sometimes attached with lace that rested on the face. Of all the shows, Mr. Lacroix’s unapologetically glamorous collection was by far my favourite.
It’s a good thing Anna Wintour likes the heat because the audience at Chanel’s show at the Grand Palais’s domed space were in a fashion greenhouse. Guests were spotted fanning themselves while they admired this season’s installation – enormous organ pipes made out of 50 foot steel tubes. In the past, Karl has had a vast tweed jacket for the spring 2008 Couture as well as a giant carousel for the Fall 2008 Ready-to-Wear. From the get-go, Karl Lagerfeld’s intent on tubular cutting was evident as dresses and suits had a distinct curvature about them. And forget the headbands because Karl says it’s all about the headframes, which literally looked like a picture frame plopped in the front of the model’s face. Many of the models sported hairdos that looked suspiciously like Anna Wintour’s, which no doubt pleased the Vogue editrix. Of course, the standard Chanel fare could still be found such as the brand’s signature tweed and suits. Sasha Pivovarova closed the show looking cool, elegant, and decorated by a dramatic white confection atop her head.
All the models had a slab of midnight-hued lipstick on their puckers, which when combined with the clothes constructed a collection that was equally traditional and perverse. The show started and ended with black and white outfits with a burst of candy-colored dresses in the middle. John Galliano’s kinky designs included a number of kinky and shiny leather accents as well as a few see-through pieces. Giant silhouettes also sashayed up and down the runway along with many sculpted big coats. (Big bonus: Coco Rocha!!!)
The pressure was on for Valentino’s young and new designer, Alessandra Facchinetti. The general consensus is that she faced the challenge and for the most part succeeded. Facchinetti’s designs had a decidedly space-age feel to it, which was a welcome breath of fresh air for the fashion house. While Facchinetti took the time to be experimental, she also respected Mr. Valentino’s love of suits and red dresses. If she perseveres, Mr. Valentino should have no reason to worry about leaving his legacy behind in her very capable hands.