Style: SS12 Couture Round-Up

There may be few old-school artisan fashion houses still showing at Paris Couture Week, but for those that are still standing, it offers a unique chance to show off the breathtaking levels of skill of their ateliers.  Couture clothes are by definition one-of-a-kind and are often heavily adorned with intricate embellishment to show off the skill of the designers. However with the pace that most fashion houses are now churning out collections, some fashion editors are asking whether couture week is living up to it’s own hype (see Cathy Horyn’s interesting article here). With SS12 giving us everything from Jean Paul Gaultier’s vision of Amy Winehouse to Chanel airways, here is our guide of all you need to know.

Most Likely to be Worn at the Oscars: Elie Saab

The Lebanese designer showed a collection full of light and delicate pieces in pale blues, creams, peaches and yellows that was easily the most mainstream and wearable of the week. Sheer slimline evening gowns and subtle glamour marked a contrast to some of the more out-there designs of the rest of the week. It’s a sure bet that at least one Saab dress will be gracing the red carpet come Oscar night.

Best Setting: Chanel

Karl Lagerfeld took his guests on a luxury trip with Chanel airways, complete with drinks trolleys and a starry sky overhead, showing 150 shades of blue in his collection along the way. Known for his extravagant backdrops, Karl clearly has the biggest budget to work with and always hits the news with his lavish shows. Last season’s Raj inspired decadence was replaced with drop-waisted pieces in Chanel’s trademark boyish yet elegant style.

 Best Craftsmanship: Christian Dior

Still with no replacement for the controversial design maverick John Galliano, acting Creative Director Bill Gaytten decided to fall back on the distinctive Dior New Look style. We saw beautifully well-made full skirted ball gowns and nipped in waisted cocktail dresses with delicate black floral embroidery over sheer layering. Was this a genius way of reminding us of the timelessness of Dior, or a stunningly made collection with little creative direction? The jury’s out, but we still love Dior.

Loving the Colour Green: Versace and Armani Prive

Clearly Shrek green is a massive deal this year. Who are we to argue?

The Amy Winehouse Tribute: Jean Paul Gaultier

Leaving subtle references to the others, JPG sent models down the runway with giant beehives and eyeliner. Fred Perry style polo dresses were shown alongside more traditionally Gaultier style heavily embellished pencil skirts and corsets.

The One to Watch: Givenchy

Riccardo Tisci’s somber collection of Metropolis inspired 20s evening gowns may have been shown on a basketball court but these were by no means lacking in glamour. In a week of huge ball gowns and bright colours, Tisci showed that there is no need to shout out loud to make an impact. Sophisticated gowns with draped structuring gave us a a preview of the 20s style glamour we will all be craving this year.