Most people see the meticulously handmade clothes from the haute couture collections as inaccessible, but the styles and silhouettes showcased by select fashion houses often act as inspiration for Ready-To-Wear collections and therefore dictate the fashion trends for the upcoming season. This Fall 2012 Couture Fashion Week is characterized by designers’ harmonious mediation between the new and the old, the feminine and the masculine, the classic and the avant-garde. While the looks that walk down the runway in Paris are usually only available to the upper echelon of celebrities and socialites, similar looks interpreting key trends spotted on the haute couture runways can be attained at a much lower price.
One of the most highlighted trends on the couture runways was the peplum silhouette. It added a playful contrast to the clean cut lines of most collections shown in Paris. From the lacey peplums done by Ellie Saab to the sleek variations at Georges Chakara, peplums in all shapes and sizes reigned the runway. At Giambattista Valli, the designer incorporated a carnal, yet bucolic theme not only into the prints of the dresses but in the silhouettes too. The layered peplum looked slightly bulky, yet still feminine and chic as Valli played with proportion. The sharp, angular peplums at Maison Martin Margiela added structure to the futuristic looks, while still emphasizing the feminine form. Finally, at Christian Dior, Raf Simons took inspiration from Dior’s architectural past and layered classic silhouettes, like a chic ball gown shortened at the peplum with modern, tapered cigarette trousers.
The peplum trend can easily be translated into your wardrobe. The key is to find the right length and cut for the garment. For curvy women, a flattering combination would be paring a strong shoulder with a short peplum skirt. For women with a more slender figure a longer more pronounced peplum skirt would add the illusion of an hourglass shape while elongating the legs.
Take the Plunge
A more daring trend seen in Paris was the deep V neckline. Variations of the deep V acted as the focal point of many gowns that were showcased during the Haute Couture week. Designers usually paired the contrasting revealing necklines with longer hemlines in order to balance out the revealing trend. The plunging necklines at Bouchra Jarrar added a touch of sexuality to minimalistic dresses, while at Armani Prive and Elie Saab, the necklines extending well below the bust were contrasted with the model’s modestly veiled faces and sheer lace covered décolletages. Givenchy’s Ricardo Tisci is the epitome of a designer with a reverence for the female form. Tisci used the deep V necklines in order to add a scandalous touch to the collection by pairing them with fur adorned pantsuits and floor-length gowns, extolling the feminine shape.
The key to pulling of this daring look is all about angles. For curvy women, a narrower plunging neckline is more flattering, while a wider, more pronounced deep V flatters those with a slender frame.
Ladylike shapes dominated the runways, and designers achieved the prim-and-proper look while still accentuating the feminine form through the use of attention grabbing belts. At Giambattista Valli, thick red belts acted as a transition between sleek tops and feathery skirts, creating a balance between the contrasting proportions. At Christian Dior, similar glossy wide belts were used to add a modern touch to the 50’s inspired collection, marrying Raf Simmons’s own dramatic flair and style with Dior’s iconic history. Chanel, too, showcased lady like suits featuring wide metallic belts that showcased Lagerfelds idea of ‘new vintage’.
A wide belt wrapped around any woman’s waist makes her look more feminine as it creates the illusion of a more pronounced hourglass shape. By cinching the waists, a wide belt can also add structure to flowing skirts while acting as the focal point of the outfit. This is one of the most versatile accessories for the fall as it is flattering on all figures when worn correctly.
Comme des Garçons
Menswear still continues to be an influential trend this season as Jean Paul Gaultier, Bouchra Jarrar, and the Christian Dior all based their collections on cuts while balancing them with feminine silhouettes and fabrics. Jean Paul Gaultier offered his own meditation on Le Smoking and Bar jackets. He infused the classic menswear staples with romance and dark sensuality through the use of tailoring and choice of decadent silks, leather, and velvet fabrics. Both Dior and Jarrar took a more structured approach to menswear, simplifying the designs and offering a refined and minimalistic viewpoint.
In order to translate the trend into a wearable look, consider investing a pair of classic, clean-cut pants with a tapered in leg. The pant will act as a wardrobe staple and can be paired with structured jackets in order to mimic the looks seen on the couture runways.
Got the Blues
The fall runways are always dominated with dark rich colors, and the Fall Couture collections were no different. Powdery pinks and pale beiges made a surprising appearance, but blue was king on the runways. Lavish shades of royal blue were the staple of Couture Fashion Week. At Armani Prive, varying shades of royal blue were seen in both the clothes and accessories. With a slight purple sheen, the blues at Armani and Valentino were a contrast against the models’ pale skin to create an ethereal effect. At Christian Dior, the classic cuts were offset by a more modern shade of blue, creating a balance between Raf Simmons’s style and Dior’s history.
This trend can be translated into everyday looks in several ways. Royal blue is flattering on all skin tones and for the daring can be the perfect color for a floor-length gown. This shade can also add a pop of color as a nail polish, or accentuate your eyes as eyeliner.