Couture Week for Dummies

Is it even Wednesday?
Is it even Wednesday?
In the blink of an eye, couture week had come and go. Deep in the dark of the night, I decided to break down each show by themes and elements and twist them into weird pop culture jokes and similes. Even if you’re probably not going to read it, I would like to share with you all my findings:

Valentino

This season Valentino is taking its show out of the city of Paris to the heart of its brand, Rome. This collection is inspired by the features and elegance of Rome. For example, the majestic eagle on the opening gown, is a symbol of imperial Rome, *fun fact* which the Valentino couture team discovered by chance on the ceiling on their atelier. The pieces held a sense of stability, strength, and confidence that seems to make the models dressed in them appear like brave female warriors. In fact, one of the capes were lined with red silky fabric, creating a heroine vibe, or the perfect Thor cosplay. However, despite being centered around Rome, my Asian senses were tingling and I found that the collection had a hint of Chinese style to it. For example, the Chinese button knot were used as closures in the thick outerwear. Also, wide fringe-y flaps on dress hems were used, which was reminiscent of ancient Chinese clothing and Guo Pei’s gown in the “China: Through the Looking Glass” Met exhibit. This use of Chinese clothing elements actually was highly expected considering that historically, there was a long period of sino-roman relations during the silk route era (silk was used extensively in the collection as well). So naturally, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli was easily able to use the Chinese inspired elements they found in Rome. See kids? AP world history is useful in real life.

Images: Umberto Fratini / Indigitalimages.com

Zuhair Murad

You know that line in Avril Lavigne’s song, Girlfriend? That part where she literally says “I’m the motherfucking princess”? Well, this season, Mr. Murad makes sure you’re motherfucking dressed like one too, tiara and all. As usual, the collection features exquisite and intricate sparkly embroidery and dramatic silhouettes. Except this time, a galactic look was incorporated into it, stars were thrown into the gowns and tiaras alike. You’re not just a motherfucking princess, you’re an intergalactic space princess. *casually sends your selfie to NASA because you’re a star* Speaking of intergalactic space princess, as usual, “would J-lo wear this?” was probably a frequent question during the designing process, considering the fact that she is his muse resulting in a lot of J-lo ish ness in the collection and also that woman practically buys everything he makes as long as it has a trumpet silhouette. J-lo would you wear this?

Images: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com

Fendi

For the first time, Karl Lagerfeld is the reigning creative director of not one but two couture collections. This season, Fendi is having it’s first couture show, so in addition to Chanel, Lagerfeld is manning Fendi as well. Free him, he can’t get any more gray hair. With animal rights activists screaming outside the venue like One Direction fangirls, controversial as a description is an understatement. No matter which side of the fur controversy you’re on, this show is one to make PETA cry. With models clad in fur and feather for almost every look, Lagerfeld is showing he has no limits when it comes to deaths and sufferings as long as it’s fashion.

Images: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com

Jean Paul Gaultier

If you ever want to see a high-fashion avant-garde-esque sailor, the Jean Paul Gaultier show is the place. Strutting down the runway in the full sailor look with the hat and stripes and all, these might be the most expensively well-dressed and cheekboniest sailors you might ever see. Of course, beyond stripes, there’s always more to Jean Paul Gaultier. This collection encompasses of a neon color scheme, structured and precise geometric tailoring, literal circle skirts (it looks like those look-but-no-eat plates that your grandma hangs at home but hanging off a model’s waist instead), and thick heavy fur coats. Couture week trend: make PETA cry. Of course, no Jean Paul Gaultier show is ever complete without a jaw-dropping-while-simultaneously-mouthing-holy-shit finale and boy, did he deliver. Anne Cleveland basically looked like she descended from heaven (thank you golden lighting) in a show-stopping leather slash fur slash feather costume-y ensemble with a circle skirt bigger than my future. PETA cry, I cry.

Images: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com

Viktor & Rolf

They say fashion is basically wearable art. But what if it’s hangable too? Not just hangable as in the squished between other clothes in the closet way, but museum hangable, golden frame hangable. Victor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are making sure the collection can do just that. Models strutted   through the venue wearing paintings and art disguised as dresses with pieces of the frame stitched to the hems. In the presentation, the designers act as performing artists, unfastening the piece from the models at the end of their walk and hang the piece on the expansive white wall. While looking through this presentation, I can’t help but think that this is a done in a very early McQueen-ish fashion (no pun intended). Ultimately, by creating something so absurd yet creative, the show end up with a gallery of literally wearable AND hangable art. Amazing. With that said, what do we do about Chris Evans, aka the most beautiful form of art?

Images: Alessandro Garofalo / Indigitalimages.com

Alexis Mabille

On Alexis Mabille’s 10th anniversary as a couturier, the designer continued to incorporate his signature feminine energy into his work. While the use of lace, flowers, and giant bow pushes the feminine theme, it also portrays a very sleek and classic look featuring silky fabrics and clean cut silhouettes. The collection oozes a very classic Parisian chic, and looks like something Dita Von Teese would wear. Though, this is no surprise considering she did pose for the collection this season. Mabille provides something for his muses of a very diverse age from Audrey Marnay at 34 to Leslie Caron at 84. Perhaps we will see queen Meryl strolling down the Oscars red carpet in something from Mabille? Meryl, I’m not calling you old, I’m calling you rich and fabulous.

Images: Courtesy of Alexis Mabille

Elie Saab

Elie Saab creations are what heart eye emojis are made for. Using his classic formula of light, delicate, diaphanous pieces with heavy embroidery and appliques, Saab used mostly light colors to create gowns with an innocent, fairytale storybook vibe. Let’s not forget about the finale bridal gown either, in a beige-golden color, the gown is wide enough to take up the entire catwalk and slide across frowers’ Louboutin adorned feet while their iphone lenses quickly following behind. With beadwork and lacework more insane than me during finals week (and every week tbh), this is a type of art only the fairy godmother’s wand can conjure up, or you know, an army of really  good couture seamstresses #squadgoals. Be jealous Cinderella, be really jealous.

Images: Gianni Pucci / Indigitalimages.com

Maison Margiela

No one does dramatic like John Galliano, and he had Dior and Givenchy to prove it and now, he’s sitting on the golden Maison Margiela throne to prove it once more. For aw15 couture, Galliano is embracing contrast, past/future, richer/poorer. While the holographic fabric, electric blue color, and bold intergalactic space princess-esque makeup choices might suggest a more futuristic side  to his collection, a few looks featuring prints of golden, rural, scenic art and the burlap coat nods to the past. Financial situations play a big factor in this collection as well, not just in the “how rich do you have to be to buy couture?” way but Galliano is literally contrasting financial situations. Looks featuring a dress with ripped scraps of black fabric draped on, a blanket-like piece tied to the waist,  and oversized blazer with fringe to look like fraying, dark color patches to give n illusion of holes, and mirror glasses hanging on to the jacket appears like a portrayal of basically homelessness, designed and styled in such a runway-worthy way that it almost seems like these circumstances are romanticized. On the other hand, luxurious fabric like alpaca wool, and shiny silk were used with tailoring of extreme precision to indicate a more polished and affluent lifestyle. You know, one where they can actually afford a couture piece? Obviously, he didn’t leave behind everything he did at Dior, in this presentation, Galliano sent out a little black jacket with a waspy waist that is reminiscent of the iconic New Look from Dior. You go Galliano!

Images: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com

Alexandre Vauthier

Three words: Boss. Ass. Bitch. With a fringe, fur, second skin leather, and metal motif, this entire collection just basically oozes sex appeal, confidence, and generally a boss-ass-bitchiness. Parisians designers, like Nicolas Ghesquière, Hedi Slimane, and Isabel Marant are pulled toward the California aesthetic, and Alexandre Vauthier is just another example. Inspired by the LA music scene and the Native American theme from his travels, in a collection full of everything that is edgy and fierce, the dusty pink chiffon is the only thing that actually goes with the soft and flowy overall mood this season. The Alexandre Vauthier aesthetic is the lead singer of that rock band your mom don’t want you listening to, the one that everyone hates but secretly envies. She sings about sex and drugs and everything that’s wrong with society because she first-handedly experienced it. In her free time, she sticks the middle finger in paparazzi’s face and sneaks off to go get weird tattoos.

Images: Kim Weston Arnold / Indigitalimages.com

Armani Privé

If there was a combination between a glitzy studio 54 themed New Year’s Eve party and business casual, this collection is it. Using a reoccuring electric pink theme with feather, fringing, and SO MUCH SPARKLES and adding a few velvet trousers and blazers here and there, these clothes are made for the crazy rich twentysomethings coming out of law school and into the party scene. This is the day to night (but mostly night) transition collection in the most eccentric and flamboyant ways. Basically, this is an Elle Woods collection except glitzier, darker, and richer. Super cool punk rock goddesses, this is your Beyoncé moment.

Images: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com

Bouchra Jarrar

This collection is the most polished daywear/businesswear based one you will see all season, although it does encompasses of pleated skirts and tops with fur and sequins that makes it quite day/night neutral. Proportion and contrast play a large role in the presentation. Clean lines featuring subtle satin bustier crop tops and high waisted shiny trousers puts the ultimate twist on the “basic white girl summer outfit” especially when layered with a long overcoat on top.  Heavy jackets against the fragile tops and sheer translucent skirts creates a perfect contrast between serious and sexy. While the bias cut satin dresses and tops emits a minimalistic sleek look, the black and white pinstripe pattern with the prevalent use of trousers only makes the collection a little more business friendly. Although, I wouldn’t suggest wearing only a bralette as a top to the corporate board meeting, but hey, it’s haute couture, they have no  right to judge.

Images: Kim Weston Arnold / Indigitalimages.com

Chanel

Ah yes, the oh-so-classy Chanel. Adding on to using a spoof supermarket, Parisian boulevard, and brasserie as a set for his shows at the Grand Palais, Karl Lagerfeld is taking the Chanel crowd to go gamble at a pop-up casino. I mean, how else are they going to muster up the money to buy a tweed suit? Speaking of the tweed suit, this time, Lagerfeld put on a more modern twist to the classic by quilting it with a metallic fabric and took a gamble (pun intensely intended) by using plastic micro netting fabric to create a more solid 3D quilted look. Though, nothing everything stayed in the present, the Karl threw a blast from the past via the old fashioned casino glamour. Casually, the Chanel girls appeared in straight cut glitzy dresses probably worth days of nonstop embroidery and perfect craftsmanship. It is the epitome of the Gatsby socialite vibe, like to the point of expecting Daisy Fay Buchanan to stroll down that runway any second. Now, where is Leonardo DiCaprio? And more importantly, where is his Oscar? Apparently, you can’t let this Chanel couture summary go without mentioning the hot topic: Kendall Jenner as the Chanel couture bride. No matter if you love her or hate her, Lagerfeld obviously found a liking to this model. Closing the show in a white suit look with a veil cape thing following behind, the look echoes the theme of modern twist to traditional looks in the show.

Images: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com

Giambattista Valli

If you are not satisfied with the amount of puffiness in the ss15 couture collection, this one is bringing it, but in mermaid form. The collection is mostly black and white with just enough flowers and color incorporated to draw the attention it needs. Wearing layered skirts so huge and puffy it’s almost sorcery and accessorized by huge black circle sunglasses and dramatic earrings, Mr. Valli tells the story of a springtime loving uptown girl living in the fall/winter, spreading sunshine and flowers in the most fashionable way possible.

Images: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com

Alberta Ferretti Limited Edition

This one directly reminds me of the interior of a French chateaux hidden deep beneath the wineries on the French countryside. The prints on the gown literally depicts something from the hallway of a castle, golden molding, blue walls, flowers and all. On the other hand, the golden embroidery on other pieces looks like the golden detailing on the ceiling of a ballroom. However, Ferretti’s bohemian touch wasn’t lost, ethereal gowns  sewn with lace continued to hold a strong presence in the collection and in the couture week ethereal trend.

Images: Courtesy of Alberta Ferretti

Christian Dior

Raf Simons’ floral stain glass windows built into the venue’s geometric high fashion jungle gym alone is worth an entire paragraph. The collection’s wide range of style prepares you for any occasion. For a dash through the meadows or be the Greek goddess that you are, the soft white flowy gowns should do the trick. Need to spend some time with Jesus at God’s house (you know you need it)? The long sleeved tea-length dress will get you there. For a stroll down the Parisian streets on a cold day, you can opt for the rich and thick wool coat featuring sculptural drape and fur sleeves. The mini dresses got you covered for a night out. Even if you’re going to a funeral or just feeling emo, Dior got plenty of pieces so dark the black holes are jealous. Thanks Raf!

Photo: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com

Schiaparelli

You know those rich female secret villains in old movies? The ones that are always smoking, wearing bad eyeshadow, and dressed in outfits you secretly think looks really good? (I think of Cruella Deville though I don’t encourage going near dog fur) If they were real people, Schiaparelli is exactly what they would wear. Newly on the creative design throne, Bertrand Guyon is one to make a grand entrance. While having a impeccable tailoring for that polished look, Guyon is mixing light breezy fabric with heavier, more fall-friendly one to create a smooth spring -summer to autumn-winter transition. Whether dressing a Chinese kung fu female warrior, international spy working a billion dollar case in Monaco, or the female supervillain of the decade, this Schiaparelli collection is what every costume department should turn to for a blockbuster.

Images: Kim Weston Arnold / Indigitalimages.com

Ulyana Sergeenko

Recently, queen Rihanna wore a piece from this designer in her “Bitch Better Have My Money” music video, and this doesn’t surprise me. In this collection, as always, Sergeenko shows a snapshot of her Russian roots, from the wearing fur coat as second skin weather to the pure badassery. Through the creative textures, structured mermaid silhouette, and fur pom pom ice cream clutches, the collection shows a subtle flamboyance. Adding on to that, the show consists of plenty of dark and warm tones, making it just right for the colder seasons. God bless Russia.

Images: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com

Atelier Versace

In a complete 180 twist from Versace’s usual edgy, Vegas-ish, and bond girl aesthetic, this time around, Atelier Versace is displaying it’s softer, more feminine side. Being the one to open fashion week, it’s like Donatella set off a springtime flower bomb (why did everyone keep missing the autumn winter memo?).  Who else would send supermodels strutting down the runway in floral headbands (basically a high fashion and more minimalistic version of the white girl flower crown) and soft yet powerful flowy ethereal gowns? Atelier Versace tells the story of fresh-faced forest nymphs just rolled out of a flower bed from the winter season and sea sirens swimming through the ocean waves in frayed chiffon gowns. With the inner fine boning fully attached hugging the body like a second skin and layers of chiffon hanging off, the heavier gowns seems like a more wearable yet less elaborate version of the Alexander McQueen’s iconic “Oyster” dress from ss03.

Images: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com

Dolce & Gabbana

In a brand wrapped around extravagant and exotic ready-to-wear, alta moda (basically haute couture in Italian) is where Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana can put much more detail and drama into their work. And this season, it appears that for the two, the collection’s theme is an italianate version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In their own homes, a heart racing, eye watering, collection featuring not only womenswear but menswear, and jewelry as well, was presented. According to Dolce, the purpose of the collection is to bring the fashion crowd “to a place where fantasy and reality become confused”. Funny, I already confuse the two on a daily basis #thanksschool. It is not hard to see why this collection is such a big deal, with models strolling down Dolce’s beautiful garden in Portofino dressed in detailed dreamy ballgowns, dramatic head pieces, and even fairy wings, the audience is pulled into a fantasy secret garden where magic is realer than ever.

Photo: Courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana

If you’re even able to get to this point, congrats, you’ve made to hell and back. I hope this was beautifully dumbed down and even merely coherent. And it better be, because I put more effort into this than my actual term paper.

The verdict? You should look into going bankrupt from buying a haute couture gown just because you would look fabulously ethereal and deadly (like a jellyfish) strutting down your school hallway while simultaneously slaying all the basic bitches.

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All the love.


Photo credit:

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images (featured image)

impounds (background on first edit)

The Patternbase (background on second edit)

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