Couture at Paris Fashion Week is always considered one of the most— if not the most— prestigious events in the luxury fashion world. This year's Spring edition just concluded in the City of Light, and a number of impressive collections made their debuts on the catwalk. Here, I put together some of my favorite looks from this year's Haute Couture lines. Valentino
Beloved in the fashion world, Valentino Garavani is the founder of the fashion house that bears his name; but his successors, creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, are carrying on the maestro's legend beautifully. The Roman designers have no difficulty integrating a distinctive Italian touch into their collections, and I believe this is beautifully demonstrated in this fiery red ensemble. With a bold hue like this, the designers do a great job of letting the fabric and expert tailoring do the talking without need for extravagant silhouettes or embroidery. The elegant, just-below-the-knee length of the skirt plus the sculpted, barely off-the-shoulder necklines are classically Italian and beautifully finished. Photo Courtesy of Valentino
Like other fashion frontrunners Chanel and Dior, the Valentino Couture Collection took inspiration from the outdoors— the coiled embroideries seen on this cape, as well as other ensembles, strongly resembles park gates. Look closely at this outfit and you'll notice a flurry of small birds that lie inside the birdcage of a cape. Between the intricate detail and sheer creativity of this ensemble, it's no wonder the audience burst into spontaneous applause as the model made her way down the runway.
While Donatella's collection seemed to vary between themes, I am drawn to the elegant daywear she produced in the form of pant and skirt-suits. This sector of the line employs 24-karat gold thread that is sewn into the suits as pinstripes, and the gold jacket you see here was just long enough to be worn as a dress. This is my favorite look from the designer's Spring Couture collection, as the nontraditional tailoring, accentuated shoulders, and luxe fabric ooze sex appeal. Photo Courtesy of Versace
In a show consisting heavily of black and white creations, this blush number was a breath of fresh air. The design is just as minimal as Valli's color palette; however little else was needed, as the slacks included under this gown resulted in just the right amount of shock factor. Chunky, sculptural jewelry is the cherry on top of this unexpected look, and I'll be interested to see if the pants-under-gown look will gain enough traction to actually enter "trend" status in the near future. Photo Courtesy of Giambattista Valli
Something about this short-in-front/long-in-back skirt screams "Barbie doll" to me— but even though this silhouette trend might be beaten to death, you'd never expect to see it on a ballgown. Add in the accompanying crop top and chunky metallic jewelry, and you've got a combination that just works. To me, this ensemble is a great example of how foregoing fashion "rules" can sometimes result in something unexpectedly fabulous. Photo Courtesy of Giambattista Valli
The heavy use of satin and chiffon in Christophe Josse's Spring Couture Collection automatically give it a sense of luxury; however a designer can only get so far with a minimal color palette, silhouettes, and detail. Intertwined embroidery and delicate trimmings added a little extra "umph" to an otherwise underwhelming collection; however this navy number stood out to me from the rest of the line. The sheer cap sleeves and oversized neck bow are subtle but are enough to give this gown a leg up from the rest of the collection. Photo Courtesy of Christophe Josse
Zuhar Murad sent a number of red carpet-worthy designs down the catwalk; however one that I'd especially like to see come to life off the runway is the gold-embroidered body suit that started the show off on an impressive foot. Just one look at the amount of detail and embellishment on this piece and I am overwhelmed with the idea of how long it must have taken the Lebanese designer to complete this stunner, not to mention an entire collection of equally delicate ensembles. Photo Courtesy of Zuhair Murad
For the presentation of his Spring 2013 Couture Collection, designer Karl Lagerfeld once again chose Le Grand Palais to showcase his hard work. A large use of lace, feathers, leather, tulle and sequined floral adorned pieces in the minimal color palette of black and white that the label is known for. The particular look pictured here is one of my favorites in the collection; and as diverse as it was, I believe it's a great representation of Lagerfeld's masterful silhouettes, fabrics, and detail. The textured tweed, thigh-high lace boots, lavish chiffon headpiece, and heavy feathers that encircle the model's eyes were all themes of this show. Photo Courtesy of Chanel
This look is a favorite due to the mere imagination behind the piece— plus its construction, fit, and versatility. What Rolland has essentially done is made a gown and suit in one. While the sheer skirt of the gown may throw you off at first, consider what the ensemble would look like with the overcoat buttoned up. It's another interesting blend of masculinity and femininity in women's fashion, all the while exuding expert execution. Photo Courtesy of Stéphane Rolland
Known for his sculptural approach to designing, Stéphane Rolland has once again produced an impressive collection of expertly constructed ensembles. In my opinion, this look is flawless, and an accurate representation of Rolland's collection as a whole. What I love about Couture Week is the surprising amount of suits and made-for-her menswear— and while many designers tackled the challenge, this is my favorite of all the suit combinations I saw on this year's runway. From the pure white of the fabric (which leaves no room for mistake) to the crisp tailoring and airy silhouette, to the fine feminine detail at the bottom of the slacks, this is a great example of couture at its finest. Photo Courtesy of Stéphane Rolland
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