Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 round-up review

After a stunning show-down at Christian Dior (which excluded the usual flamboyant Philip Treacy headpieces and extravagant theatrical make-up) from designer Bill Gaytten and a very-welcomed come back from Atelier Versace and Donatella’s warrior inspired woman, Paris closed its doors to Spring/Summer 2012 haute couture yesterday evening.

Amy Winehouse performing in Berlin in 2007

Image via Wikipedia

Forming an array of bespoke and highly skilled pieces the designer opted to minimalise the showmanship in his collection for Dior without scrimping on the designs. Using a palette of monochrome and greys Gaytten opted for origami inspired pleats and folds in tulle, silks and crepe fabrics which moved perfectly as the models sashayed down the catwalk concentrating mostly on the skirts, bustles and shape. Gaytten also added in crocodile print in toffee hues alongside polka dot bows and ties.

For Atelier Versace, Donatella went for flashes of colour as the previous collections had not been shown since 2004 the design team seemed to resurrect this amazing collection (for the full review click here). Donatella’s warrior women adorning fabric body suits encased in lace with gold metal trimmings and matching biker jackets. For evening wear bright lime greens, sunset oranges and pillar box reds flowed down the runway showing off the intricate detailing and beading.

Aside from the aforementioned other designers, Chanel took off in a flurry of Pan-Am inspired pieces. Designer Karl Lagerfeld emulated a cabin style runway via a jumbo jet casing with models adorning suitably chic flight attendant style attire (if they were VIP class and brought their own work wardrobes). Press sat in aisle shaped seating complete with numbered seats. As the sky was the limit so was the palette with all shades referencing day to evening shades of the sky blue. As the night sky dawned the air stewardess’ changed flight and opted for a mixture of PVC, beaded, metallic and sequined cocktail dresses.

Whereas Lagerfeld headed to the skies, Ricardo Tisci at Givenchy had slightly darker thoughts on his mind. Showing a select presentation of glamorous 1920s and 30s inspired dresses Tisci fused jersey wear with high couture to produce a piece of work that was worthy of the Art Deco period. He also took inspiration from the 1927 Fritz Lang film Metropolis (a sci-fi film set in the future), and added a selection of oversized zips, spikes and metallic pieces to the range. However, the most surprising aspect was his use of jewellery; models adorned huge crystal chandelier style earrings which sloped over their collar-bone.

As the week came to a close designer John Paul Gaultier showed his take on couture. This season it was an homage to the late Amy Winehouse styling models in pencil skirts, open collared shirts to the breast bone, complete with Winehouse’s signature beehive, black liquid eyeliner and beauty spot (instead of piercing) alongside a classic cigarette.

Unfortunately for Gaultier his adoration soon turned into a public slamming as Winehouse’s father Mitch spoke exclusively to a national newspaper commenting on the “insult” it had brought to the family.

Mitch noted that: “… we’ve had a difficult week with the six-month anniversary of Amy’s death. To see her image lifted wholesale to sell clothes was a wrench we were not expecting or consulted on. We’re proud of her influence on fashion but find black veils on models, smoking cigarettes with a barbershop quartet singing her music in bad taste.”

I think however, in fashion there is a very thin line and once a family is grieving the slightest thing can resurrect their pain. Grief, of course, does not disappear overnight and for Gaultier I assume the best he can do is respect Winehouse’s family at this time and adhere to their request that a donation is made in her name as a gesture of goodwill.

To end Paris haute couture spring/summer 2012 collections Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli took to the stage creating a collection reminiscent of the Victorian era and Jane Eyre. Floral, flounciful and pretty are a few words that spring to mind as the light collection showed billowing dresses and layers of chiffon; a complete contrast to the assortment of designers that had shown previously this week.



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