Last week, Fall 2014 Couture fashion week descended upon Paris. Here are some highlights from my favourite shows, as well as my favourite looks and trends to look out for!
Armani Prive Fall 2014 Couture
Armani Prive must have a case of the mean reds. Swinging coats, polka-dot tulle veils and free-spirited shorts made up the bulk of this collection. Dots, sequins and tulle embellished a-line coats and classic evening gowns. The looks were futuristic, but plenty of refined suits and coats made the collection accessible and translatable.
Look 21: I fell in love with this A-line red coat, featuring a raised diamond motif. The look is so elegant and simple, I couldn’t expect any less from Armani.
Look 35: This polka-dot jacket was easily the biggest hit of the entire collection. I also think that ladybug dots will be everywhere this fall, thanks to this plastic polka-dot jacket. I also love how it was paired with a youthful pair of shorts and demure shoes.
Look 53: I love this look. from the micro polka-dot print to the futuristic mesh and jewel encrusted top and veil, this is what I think of when I think of Armani Prive.
Look 54: Bathroom loofah is all I can say about Look 54 and 55. This is when tulle goes BAD.
Look 68: The polka-dot tulle veil was quirky and futuristic, but the red gown could easily be a red carpet fave in a couple months. I love how this dress has a modern cropped shirt and skirt, giving the ball gown a bit more edge.
Chanel Fall 2014 Couture
The Chanel Fall 2014 Couture collection drew influence from two opposing architecture styles – brutalist and baroque. Karl Lagerfeld was inspired by Le Corbusier’s Paris apartment and many of the dresses featured muted gray colours, echoing concrete. Models wore sequinned boy caps and spiky bangs, while they stomped the fall couture catwalk in flip flops! The collection had plenty of eye-catching ensembles and showcased revolutionary garment techniques, including using concrete as a material. I love the way the show flowed and featured different inspirations.
Look 7: I love the fur cuffs on this tweed coat. I’ve noticed fur cuffs creep up on many fall jackets lately, and this coat is perfection, paired with matching tweed culottes and ribbon sandals.
Look 23: I can’t tell if that top is made of plastic, but I love how unexpected it is. The orange tweed skirt is perfect for fall, but the undone raw hem at the bottom give it a tribal feel and modernize the stuffy suiting material. Paired with culottes underneath (perfect for biking to work, dancing, avoiding up-skirts on escalators… the list goes on) the look is a fresh and modern incarnation of Chanel tweed.
Look 30: That top is made of cement. You heard that right. Leave it to the house of Chanel to innovate everyday materials into couture. The weave looks like a cubic lace but up close, you can see the gritty texture. This is one look you definitely have the dry clean.
Look 38: It seems that Armani isn’t the only one experimenting with loofah dresses. Chanel sent down two models in both light beige and powder blue in these fluffy-feathered dresses. I do like the technique of harnessing the fluffy feathers in cascades of sheer tulle. It feels like a fluffy cloud, which is a cool effect, and a great showcase of Chanel’s technical innovations.
Look 58: This minimalistic sheath has the perfect amount of embellishment along the neckline. It doesn’t exactly scream fall, but I like the bohemian vibe, especially when paired with a pair of flip flops!
Look 70: The show-stopping finale bridal gown was also a maternity gown, featuring pregnant model, Ashleigh Good, who was described by Karl as looking elegant and noble. The dress’ silhouette nodded to her pregnant shape, without accentuating it too much. I love the way the baroque-inspired shape skimmed over her bump and was balanced out by a dramatic, gold embroidered cape. Once again, the model wore flip flops, which could mean Chanel is condoning flip flops for all occasions now.
Christian Dior Fall 2014 Couture
Of all of Raf Simons’ collections at the helm of Christian Dior, the fall 2014 couture show was my favourite. Simons brought innovative panelling and construction techniques to create volume and shape, reminiscent of Marie Antoinette. Required reading: this article on structural waist shaping at the Dior Fall 2014 Couture show.
Look 3: This dress might have an alien shape, but the Marie Antoinette influence was modernized with a drop waist and revolutionary panelling and folds to create the voluminous shape in the skirt.
Look 6: The selective embellishment of the flowers on this dress feels fresh, especially when a period-era silhouette is updated with pockets and a plunging neckline.
Look 8: I love the soft blue colour of this dress, and the dainty floral print doesn’t compete with the statement of this silhouette. The paneling is amazing, and I’m so impressed with how Raf Simons was able to give such a thick fabric the shape without all the undergarments and fuss.
Look 17: This dress was my favourite in the entire collection. Simons carried his paneling technique to create volume with pleats here, creating a very voluminous drop waist skirt. The belt and tone on tone sheer pink panel over the cleavage grounds the look as well.
Look 25: This look is so simple, yet completely translatable into everyday life. The floor-length fur is dramatic, but the plunging sweater and sleek pink pants are office-appropriate and add simplicity to the coat.
Look 38: The dramatic embroidered coat was my second-favourite look of the collection. The baroque-inspired floral design was grounded once again by a sleek pair of pants.
Giambattista Valli Fall 2014 Couture
Models wore cute oversized bows and circle sunglasses as the collection showcased florals in 3D relief, sheer panels, and playing with classic shirt silhouettes. The show stopping ombre gowns at the end were playful and the perfect way to end the lighthearted collection.
Look 5: This sheer panelled black and white look is so sexy and elegant, especially with the coquettish hair bow.
Look 11: I love the girlyness of this floral tea-length dress. That’s not to detract from the exquisite technique of the three-dimensional layering technique of embroidered flowers, embellished with silk floral petals, rendering the flowers lifelike.
Look 19: This was a bit of a miss for me. I kind of got over jailbird stripes a while ago, and the tulle skirt peeking from underneath is awkward and a little mismatched, compared to the rest of the tight collection.
Look 23: I love this pastel yeti coat! I think coloured fur will be a huge trend for fall 2014, and this look is fun and dramatic!
Look 28: This look is extremely sexy, but is possibly the most chic bathing suit coverup I’ve ever laid eyes on. Once again, the designer used three-dimensional flower petals for embellishment along the bustline, but what really grabs me is the way the chiffon is pleated neatly at the top to create vertical stripes, and then cascades into a loose sheer at the skirt.
Look 43: I think I’m seeing a trend here with the bathroom loofah-inspired tulle! However, I like Giambattista Valli’s version the best. The tiered seafoam ombre is still cut to mimic a woman’s natural shape and the look is lighthearted and in context with the rest of the collection.
Valentino Fall 2014 Couture
The collection was inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites. There were diaphanous goddess gowns, gladiator sandals and even togas comprising the collection, anchored by leather wrap belts and muted hues and prints.
Look 5: This sheer dress is so sexy, yet the organic motif looks like it is painted on and becomes the focus of this look.
Look 16: This is too reminiscent of a straight jacket, I’m not a fan at all!
Look 23: The graphic, oversized print of the zodiac is eye catching but doesn’t overpower the entire look.
Look 25: This perfectly fuses the roman influence with modern silhouettes. The draped shoulder and asymmetrical cut of the top, contrasted with black slacks is very modern.
Look 55: This sheer goddess gown leaves little to the imagination, but captures the inspiration behind the collection.
Look 59: Another daring sheer dress, this one is my favourite. The embellishment overlay is artistic and captures the Raphaelite inspiration with the focus on organic motifs and the celebration of female beauty.
Honourable mention to one of my favourites goes to this cheeky squirrel dress (complete with brown squirrel yeti coat) from the second Schiaparelli collection from designer Marco Zanini.