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

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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.



Fashion buy of the week: Topshop

The January blues may be making us feel down but one way to perk up your weekend is to purchase an ultra bright piece of clothing like this fabulous knitted fluro Robot motif jumper (£38) from high street fav Topshop.

Laced with neon pink big and small robots – which are knitted on front and back – this fun asset to your wardrobe will not only be a talking point amongst friends but can be kept as a staple piece all the way through to winter.

To purchase the jumper click here


How to buy Spring/Summer 2012 trends from the sales

My favourite thing in the world, apart from good food and drink, is shopping. So it comes as no surprise that I have eyed a fabulous array of clothing in the January sales that are simply must-have pieces. However, if you are a savvy sale shopper then you will know that it’s all about wading through the re-hashed seasonal stuff (yes all shops end up cracking out items that are 4/5 seasons old amidst the new) to find those few ‘gold-dust’ classic pieces that will last you the test of time i.e. a classic shift dress, smart blazer and your favourite skinny jeans. Aside from this if you are really clever and fashion forward then you will spot those rare items that you know are perfect for the season ahead.

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Mine has come in the form of a skirt courtesy of designer Emma Cook from This silk layered skirt in black and white comes with remnants of sea shells and bubbles; perfect for the aquatic theme which swept through the majority of shows last September for Spring/Summer 2012 and which was seen at Holly Fulton, Mary Katrantzou, Versace, Chanel and Alexander McQueen amongst others.

Alongside this was a flurry of deep blue hues from midnight to sapphire and beyond as shown at Armani, Yves Saint Laurent and Victoria Beckham. If you are keen on keeping a demure profile opt for these shades in a silk, satin or lace tops, skirts and dresses which which should flow perfectly as you walk through the office or as you hit the dance floor on a night out. My favourite is a Notte by Marchesa evening dress from reduced from £575 to £287.50.

Lastly the spring/summer 2012 catwalks were full, as you would imagine, of clashing prints, lace and exploding floral content. You can find these sorts of prints and materials everywhere so try not to be a wall flower and opt for an exciting new print that flatters your shape and complexion. Start by looking through high street stores such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Zara, but if you want to splurge then head to for some series retail therapy and purchase something like this fabulous Aztec inspired print top from Diane von Furstenberg (was £445 now £178).

Paris Fashion Week: Chanel Spring/Summer 2012 review

Karl Lagerfeld at the Red Cross Ball in Monaco...

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It seems that ‘under the sea’ is a re-occurring theme for next season and apart from similar showings at Holly Fulton, Mary Katrantzou, Versace and Givenchy, it now seems that Karl Lagerfeld has got in on the act for Chanel too. 

As always Chanel’s collection was held at the Grand Palais with a bleached white set decorated with oversized shells, sea horses and sea weed – which were positioned to climb up the huge glistening curtain that was containing it all. 

Clearly money being no object, for his spring/summer 2012 Chanel collection, Lagerfeld turned to the ocean for inspiration and brought a new lease of life towards a futuristic style mermaid. Models wore pleated organza tops with PVC style trousers alongside PVC suits, however this quickly changed to more transcendent pearly hues with the iconic Chanel tweed suits, jackets and cardigans being emblazoned in pearls and translucent sequins which shimmered a sea green colour in the light. 

Accessory wise Chanel brought new pearl encrusted hand-held clutch bag on to the floor – a desirable hit no doubt for next summer – as well as flat silver pointed shoe boots and signature double ‘C’ logo pearl pendants; strings of pearls were also added to models waists to create belts. 

Jellyfish style skirts in mint and pale pink conjured up sea-like movements in tulle and lace as the models walked down the catwalk and were teamed with tiered chiffon vests; these were also worn with athletic shorts. Swimwear was starch white in full body swimming suits and structured bikinis; Lagerfeld also added in a clear and navy PVC option complete with matching rain coat perhaps for the glamping festival type in us. Silver lame skirts with drawstring waists and dropped hems with ostrich feathers were also apparent.

Lagerfeld left no stone or coral patch unturned as he added scale printed dresses in cream and pink tones to the show, making next season all very chic and all very Chanel indeed. 

Paris Fashion Week: Yves Saint Laurent Spring/Summer 2012 review

For next season Stefano Pilati conjured up a filthy rich powerful muse for Yves Saint Laurent’s spring/summer 2012 collection. Her style was apparent in every way from the gold bucking on the shoes to the luxurious materials on her clothing. 

Held at the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild YSL’s show was engrossed with a palette of green hues which ranged from moss to khaki to forest green shades. Pilati teamed these colours with rich jewel tones such as ruby and sapphire – carrying on from the current autumn/winter 2011/12 trend – and mixing in perfectly with cool mint, lilac, indigo and black shades. 

Key pieces came in the form of a dark green and black swing coat, which launched the show, to silk palazzo pants and elegant halter neck jumpsuits complete with jewelled belts. There was an iconic 1960s and Hollywood vibe around the collection which was cemented by the siren red lips and dramatic eye make up. 

Alongside this were strong ornate prints which came in the form of maxi skirts and dresses as well as bubble gum pink peplum pieces; Pilati also created a light midnight blue and similar black cocktail dress – a sure-fire hit for the younger crowd and cocktail parties. 

To end the show models adorned several gowns all in sheer black material with a sprinkling of gold dust thrown on and were finished off with a far eastern inspired pattern across the bottom of the dress: sending a message to the rumour mill that whatever the gossip is at present regarding Pilati’s supposed departure, he is almost certainly going nowhere just yet… 

Paris Fashion Week: Jean Paul Gaultier Spring/Summer 2012 review

Jean-Paul Gaultier

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French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier opened his show in quite an unusual style on Saturday evening (1 October 2011) during Paris Fashion Week. For his spring/summer collection Gaultier opted to bring out a compere that spoke to the audience in French and English beforehand telling some jokes and asking those present to clap for the models.

However, this was quite a show as the compere continued to elaborate as models came down the catwalk – carrying numbered cards – describing Gaultier’s latest range and bizarrely what the models hobbies were; somewhat resembling a beauty pageant show.

Apart from the compere Gaultier’s collection had in fact harked back to his earlier collections – approximately 15 or so years ago – with signature trench coats, striped trousers and white shirts. Alongside this were staple tattooed motifs on arms covers, sheer bodies and tights, alongside dresses and trousers.

Models also adorned a touch of 1940s style with siren red lips and victory rolls in their hair; cute sailor inspired navy blazers and breton striped clothing were also in play as well as  monochrome pieces and a mixed palette of coral, powder blue and musty yellow.

Finishing with an array of corsetry, leather and PVC Gaultier showed off his iconic styles and paired homage to his fabulous albeit extravagant designs once again.

Paris Fashion Week: Lanvin Spring/Summer 2012 review

Designer Alber Elbaz created an unusually dark and gothic collection for Lanvin’s spring/summer 2012 range, adding drama and suspense throughout.

Heavy metal music crashed around the show space whilst fashion editor’s wilted in the heat, but alongside the darkness came Lanvin’s light, and Elbaz’s creations were still just as desirable and wearable as ever.

Dark soft metallic moss-green hues adorned pencil skirts and were paired with silk tan and rose-coloured tops complete with dresses that were sliced around the rib cage and thigh. Elbaz also added in statement and signature organza cowel neck tops creating bold shapes throughout.

Petrol blue and monochrome pieces were also incorporated with sharp tailoring and mid length coats as well as soft silk oversized three-quarter length tuxedo jackets in coffee and dusky pink tones. Some outfits were matched – such as cigarette style pants and jumpers – whilst others were statement pieces of their own (the embellished evening wear).

Towards the end of the show models started to wear large pearl and jewel encrusted crucifix necklaces alongside a combination of neon green swirl printed outfits.

Elbaz however, ended the show creating an illusion of dark vampire goddess’ as models switched to black, green, citrine and turquoise blue evening dresses in silk, which were wrapped perfectly around their bodies. This was completed by a selection of sheer chiffon see-through gowns that were gathered on top and cinched in at the waist creating a skirt that almost floating in the night-light as the models paraded down the catwalk.