We can already imagine celebrities waiting in line for a piece of Elie Saab's collection. For Spring, Saab emoted pure femininity, highlighting gorgeous gowns dipped in a rainbow of pretty pastel hues. Dresses ranged from short to long, showing intricate floral and beading details, most of which were cinched in with a dainty little bow belt. Meanwhile, streamlined silhouettes kept the look fresh and modern. Sheerness also came into play, adding subtle, sexy mystique to an otherwise overtly feminine collection. The closer? A pink and white floral printed wedding dress complete with a cathedral-length tulle veil. Check our notes below for more details, then click the slideshow to see the rest of the runway presentation.
Models at the latest Jean Paul Gaultier show were a big surprise when they hit the runway, and not just because of Gaultier's iconoclastic ensembles. The designer sent out an army of Amy Winehouse clones, all bedecked in huge beehives, thick retro eyeliner, and Ms. Winehouse's signature "beauty mark" (which was actually a piercing). One of the doppelgängers was even smoking a cigarette. Gaultier genuinely seems to be inspired by Amy's singular sense of style and her music as well — the soundtrack to the show was comprised entirely of her songs. So far, reviews of the collection are positive, and everyone involved seems well intentioned. Still, given how recently Amy passed, is it fair to ask whether copying her look is appropriate just yet?
If you glimpsed Giorgio Armani's Spring Couture, you might just have one first thought: he's going green — literally. Initial reactions aside, the palette gives way to a range of vibrant hues that encompass every shade of green. But if you lose yourself in the color, you lose sight of the whole collection, how it marries both the sporty, streamlined menswear in shinning gray tones and the decadent eveningwear that's made Armani a favorite dresser among the Hollywood crowd. The collection doesn't cater definitively to either persona; it gives us both the modern suiting in a glossy, slick finish, then carries over that same contemporary confidence topping a sequined floor-length gown with a jacket tossed effortlessly across the shoulders.
- Trends: Pantsuits, texture, sequins.
- Colors: Every shade of green, citrus, slick gray, liquid silver, and black.
- Key Look: The liquid-silver strapless gown with the embellished jacket tossed nonchalantly over the top.
- Accessories: Swirl-shaped fascinators, handheld clutches, elbow-length gloves.
- Who Would Wear It: Awards-show A-listers; Cate Blanchett would rock this suiting.
It's raining couture in Paris as we speak, and we're more than just a little excited to pore over every handcrafted, painstakingly beautiful detail of these custom-fitted, atelier-designed clothes. While the high-fashion looks of Spring 2012 continue to trickle in, we've culled 100 of the most stunning gowns, impeccably tailored suits, and everything in between from Couture Fashion Weeks past. These made-to-order creations are nothing short of masterpieces, more akin to viewing gorgeous pieces of fashion-infused artwork than off-the-rack designs. Keep clicking to view some of the chicest couture from the likes of Chanel, Valentino, Givenchy, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and more. Don't forget to tell us your favorites in the comments!
Karl Lagerfeld put together an in-flight crew of the chicest kind. His Spring '12 Couture collection modernized and glamorized vintage flight attendant uniforms, outfitting his models in the same knee-length skirt suits and sheaths, albeit with Karl's eye for embellishment and detail. He quite literally took us to the skies (complete with gravity-defying hair!), drawing inspiration not only from the structure and silhouettes, but also using an entire palette of blue, ranging from soft powder blue frocks to decadent midnight blue sequined gowns. He marries the intricacy of paillette-dotted gowns, proportional play, and the most delicate of drop earrings with practicality — no over-the-top footwear and a form of the label's shifts and tweeds still intact. He speaks to the whimsy without compromising what the Chanel client wants — classics, wearability.
- Trends: Sequins, ladylike, sheer, volume, and cutout shoulders.
- Colors: All shades of blue, white.
- Key Look: The deep v-neck sequined cocktail dress with shrug layered underneath has Diane Kruger written all over it.
- Accessories: Multi-strap sequin pumps, long dangling earrings, feather-adorned headpieces.
- Who Would Wear It: Diane Kruger, Alexa Chung, Chanel fans who crave their pretty pieces with a dose of the unexpected.
Just in time for award season, Bill Gaytten debuted an ultra-feminine collection of ladylike frocks and gowns begging to be worn on the red carpet. With a nod to vintage Dior, Gaytten delivered cinched waists balancing fit and flair shapes and classic ladylike silhouettes with folded open collars, exposing a hint of decolletage ever so tastefully. The structure and glamour of the Old Dior house are there, but not without Gaytten's modern updates — we're treated to fresh sheer pleats, sleeves, and tops, while evening gowns are a study in delicate texture with organza and chiffon layers. We can think of little else but who might walk the Oscars red carpet in one of these gowns.
- Trends: Ladylike, sheer.
- Colors: White, black, gray, purple, and red.
- Key Look: The white sheer frock, nipped at the waist with black floral embroidery.
- Accessories: Full-length gloves, black patent belts, classic pumps in red, black, white, and nude.
- Who Would Wear It: Charlize Theron, red-carpet beauties, and Hollywood A-listers.
Nothing could kick-start Couture Fashion Week quite like Atelier Versace's confident return to the ring after an eight-year hiatus. Donatella Versace presented the label's couture collection for the first time since 2004, marking its resurrection in signature brights and distinctly sexy silhouettes. All the elements we've come to rely on from a Versace collection were present — curve-hugging bodices, brilliant statement color, leg-revealing hemlines — and like any good couture collection, there, too, was the element of surprise. The standout, but limited, color palette verged between blinding brights, creamy grays, neutrals, and a splash of gold. We're treated to all-out sultry silhouettes, then checked with futuristic-feeling detail. Laser cuts and lace feel at once delicate and fierce, like the glamorous gold heels made tougher with buckled shin guards. The collection was sexy, but not without substance — just the way we like our leading ladies who will wear it.
- Trends: Neoprene brights, corsets, lace, peplum.
- Colors: Citrus hues — orange, green, yellow; nude, gray, gold.
- Key Look: The creamy gray lace-paneled gown with gold-collared halter neckline.
- Accessories: Heels and boots with shin guards buckled up over the calf.
- Who Would Wear It: January Jones, Jessica Alba, red carpet queens who crave drama and sexy cuts.
Now that Paris haute couture week has wrapped, we thought we'd put you to the test. How well can you tell couture from ready-to-wear? We rounded up some amazing Fall 2011 looks to come down the runways, but there's a catch. Some are ready-to-wear, some are couture — and it's up to you to decipher which is which. Think you can handle it? Test your fashion skills with our latest Couture vs. Ready-to-Wear game!
Azzedine Alaïa wrapped up Fall 2011/12 Paris Couture Fashion Week with a big bang, making his first runway appearance in over eight years. The collection itself was quite beautiful, showcasing bell-shaped dresses and Mongolian lamb detailing made to flatter Alaïa's signature waist-defining silhouettes. That, plus more couture collections from Quentin Veron, Dany Atrache, Maxime Simoens, and Julien Fournie in the slideshow.
Haute couture is magical, and the looks that emerge from the week of shows in Paris vary from the incredibly gorgeous, to the downright wild. Would you ever wear a dress that looks like splattered water, or a hat in the shape of a radio? Probably not, but that's not the point. It's about fashion as art, and designers have an opportunity to create things that go far beyond what most of us would ever dream of wearing to our next party (Daphne Guinness and Lady Gaga being the exceptions). Be sure to check out our roundups of Paris Haute Couture, and then click this slideshow to see the most fascinating, outrageous, and striking looks of the shows.