When it comes to couture, I have a love-hate-misunderstood relationship with it. I expect couture to be big and bold, and detailed and confusing, and intricate and wild, and everything besides simple. It is the one place I expect a designer to go far out wild and crazy a la Gaultier, because couture is not for mere mortals. And definitely not akin to RTW. But I suppose those are days of old because today’s couture is masquerading as RTW. The simplicity brings the confusing element in a way, but that’s a tale for another day. Of the couture shows of Fall 2014, three have made quite the impression, the rest have been…ok. I’m more the RTW gal, but isn’t September taking its time to come round? Anyways Couture…
At Valentino Chiuri and Piccioli continue to go against the grain of couture confusion with a collection influenced by the pre-Raphaelites. Embodying an ease and freshness that has been the theme of much of this couture schedule. I don’t know about the gladiator sandals though, that’s a tough sell by RTW standard even tougher by couture, but the simplicity was the underpinning, so to speak. Simplicity has always been the mission statement of Chiuri and Piccioli, sweeping lengths, dainty and demure. Valentino couture 2014 strayed no further from that look; pretty, soft and gentile. The gowns nipped at the waist with fat Obi belts were pretty and sinister in a way, rough and smooth, a coarseness beneath all that finery. There was embroidery in uncomplicated detail, even when it ran the risk of being busy, there was a balanced hand applied; daywear and evening wear alike. Even more stunning and oh so simple were the one shoulder toga dresses that were almost heavenly to behold and oozed confidence of the wearer. There was something so supremely offbeat about them in this mix that it was hard not to take notice.
Chanel was as one would expect, grand and much. But isn’t the Kaiser the king of muchness? I haven’t been keen on Chanel for a while now because the fanfare is more distracting than the fashion on the runway itself. Very noisy. But something about this collection was different. Yes, it still had the noise; can we please just shut up about Kendall Jenner on the runway now? She is a model, that is it. That is all there is to it. On the fashion business, this Chanel was simply exquisite, the tweed, the mosaic detailing, the mesh…MESH?! Only the Kaiser can make mesh couture approved. Oh and there was concrete in the detailing, yes concrete used to build houses… talk about a construction. I went bananas for the white dresses and dove grey mesh boleros, the shredded tweeds, the unbelievably stunning, concrete embroidered little dresses, down to the summer tie sandals that worked so much better than Valentino’s gladiator sandals. This may have been Karl at his most Karl… you know what I mean. There were shorts paired with most looks, peaking from beneath them; jackets, dresses, coats… Little hats pinned on the models’ head with punk-spiky hair cuts or whatever you call them. And a practicality infused by the flat sandals, which made each model look like she was just skipping down the runway as opposed to stumping in senseless heels as designers have been known to do to models. The finale with seven month pregnant Aussie model Ashleigh Good was the perfect cherry on top of a very delicious cake. Was it for show? Absolutely. But did it work. Beyond Absolutely, and she was stunning.
My best in show was by far Giambattista Valli. Everything about this show made my heart sing. It was beautiful and romantic and fresh and everything else. It was a garden of beautiful things, appliqué flowers on sheer tulle dresses, pyjama stripe tulip dresses, full skirted midi dresses, and even that ombre pink look at the end that reminded me of my five year old birthday cake, (didn’t we all have that cake done?), was a stunner. This was Cinderella the morning after the ball, from the after, after party, rolling up to work at noon, hungover, out of bed hair tucked in a scarf, and bags hidden behind her sunglasses. This Cinderella is not timid, she has an attitude, its cool, and forget the prince, she’s good all by herself. And that is the Valli girl, she’s as cool as she is elegant, and there is a rebelliousness to her that makes her all the more charming. For her, dressing up is what it is, there is no three day planning, she picks out what she wants, gets up and go, but her style is always on point. Even at its most basic. The looks were eccentric but edged out with a confidence, the floral jacket and the stripped pants, sexy without even stating it; the elegant black dress… it was all so hot, pretty cool, but hot nonetheless.