Last week some of the most influential fashion designers in the world previewed their fall couture fashion collections in Paris. With the likes of Armani Privé, Chanel, Christian Dior, Elie Saab, Jean Paul Gaultier,Valentino, Versace and Zuhair Murad appearing it also attracted the high and mighty of the fashion industry from fashion editor heavy weights to Hollywood’s A-list.
Haute Couture came about in the early 1800s to make sure that Parisian women in high society didn’t turn up to an event wearing identical dresses. There are very strict rules governing which designers can say they are Haute couture including that they must have a made-to-measure service with personal fittings and a workshop in Paris.
Here we look at our favourite designers to see what trends they will dictate from this winter season.
Giorgio Armani stayed true to his simplistic style in his colour palette however his gowns reflected the glamour and attention to detail of high society gals on New York in the thirties.
Fully applying the structure yet flow of chiffon his collection was sophisticated and womanly.
What to take from it: Top to tow nude can be flattering when done right. If in doubt pair it with black and a touch of metallic. Go floor length with dresses that come in at the waist.
Karl Lagerfeld went for tweet, tulle, metallics and monochrome this season.
It’s all about textures adding a hard edge to the look from weighty tweeds and stiff tulle to heavy metallics and a dark palettes.
What to take from it: Off the catwalk, team heavy tweed jackets with softer jersey dresses and long straight skirts. Add a wide belt around your hips to show off your curves.
Raf Simons continues to edge Dior away from its traditional fifties roots. A cacophony of colour reflected his influences which he said were from France, Asia and Africa.
What to take from it: Semi sheer fabrics in skirts and tops and don’t be afraid to add colour to your winter wardrobe.
It is not hard to imagine the gowns at the Elie Saab haute couture show on the top actresses as they accept that Oscar. With the award season still a fair way off we are sure that it won’t be long before we see an A-list gracing the red carpet of a benefit or premiere in one of these show-stopping gowns.
Sparkling embellishments and a regal palette of ruby, emerald, topaz, gold and silver it is little wonder that he called the show ‘A Royal Affair.
“I tried to present a collection this time around a royal occasion. But in a very modern way, for a modern princess, who likes, who likes to treat her realm in a modern way, and the colours are from precious stones, and from this all the collection is embroidered in a way to show it as though it’s jewellery,” Elie said.
What to take from it: We may not all have an occasion to wear similarly opulent gowns but we can use a rich opulent palette this winter instead of greys and blacks.
JEAN PAUL GAULTIER
Jean Paul Gaultier’s structured tailoring harked back to his fabulous creations on the eighties that stood out for all the right reasons. Bold, striking and flattering to the womanly shape it is an updates power dressing for a new era.
What to take from it: Leopard print isn’t going anywhere so if you aren’t brave enough to wear it top to toe think tights or belt to add a little to your winter wardrobe. Look for constructed jackets that nip in at the waist and team them with pencil skirts.
Like Dolce & Gabbana’s AW collection, it seemed that Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli were influenced by Renaissance Rome and the gilding, brocade and embroidery that was present both in the churches and the palaces at that time.
What to take from it: Don’t be afraid of heavy patterning and embellishment. Clash prints if you feel brave but use a base colour or metallic to tie the look together. If this look is too much, try a brocade kimono or coast over a simple black wool dress.
Donatella Versace has once again created a collection that titillates and teases with sheer panels, plunging necklines and enough bling to keep the nouveau riche happy.
“I looked at the black-and-white photos of Man Ray and Horst from the thirties, and I wanted to make a twenty-first-century version of that precision and perfection,” said Donatella Versace. While some on the lines of the gowns echo the Man Rays thirties era, the overall look was definitely very modern
What to take from it: Don’t be afraid to show a bit of skin. If you’re slim and under thirty go for the tummy baring, thigh high look but those of us that have left that behind (possibly when we left our teens!) shoulders, décolletage and well turned out calves and ankles can be just as alluring.
With his show named ‘Enchanted Forest’ it wasn’t hard to see the influence that nature had on the Lebanese fashion designer’s collection. With branches or roots winding their way up the models torsos, moss like patterns embellishing the gowns and an earthy palette it still remained a sophisticated and wearable season.
The twisting of fabric under the bust and around the waist as well as the curve enhancing linear and fabric embellishments make the gowns glamorous for a every age.
What to take from it: Look for dresses with illusions that help create waists and define curves.