What Materials and Silhouettes Were Trending Over Paris Couture Fashion Week?
I know Haute Couture should not be regarded as trendy, but then again nor should it be reported by media the way it is and yet here I am writing about the Couture trends… so there you go. Fall 2014 couture was a short week, but it was no less filled with the extraordinarily magnificent pieces that are both handsomely priced and perfectly made. But Fall is an important week for couture, yes – because of the attendees, and yes- because the designs, but more importantly, because what is shown over the course of the week reflects in direct relation to the shows that will walk in a couple months in New York, London, Milan and Paris for the Ready-to-wear season.
The style for Fall is always deeply connected to whatever is “sexy” that season. Last season it was about leaving more to the imagination and embracing the midi length. This season, it’s indisputably thrusting a bare shoulder at them that will leave them wanting more. The real pageant is in the pout anyway, so why not draw more attention to the shoulder, neck and face than to the ankles? Drop that hemline to the floor but expose that collarbone and let’s party!
The Alluring Asymmetrical Approach
Zuhair Murad is always one of my favorites on the red carpets and this year, I was thrilled to see him spear heading this style in all its glory. I can definitely see Jlo in one of these dresses working her hips and making them sparkle a little more than they already do. Another house that took the asymmetrical style seriously was Atelier Versace, Valentino and Maison Martin Margiela. Of course Viktor & Rolf made their asymmetrical dress OUT OF red carpet… but in some odd way (or because it was odd, I haven’t decided yet), it still looked very V&R. So “red carpet” as the fabric, or red carpet worthy… this season you’re going to see asymmetrical styles in full force.
Asymmetrical looks by Zuhair Murad and Versace.
Her Majesty in Metallics
Designers seemingly all decided to jump on the metallic bandwagon and it’s a great thing they did. Couture was exciting for Fall 2014 because of all the shimmering elegant splendor. From bronzed bows at Schiaparelli to polished teal tin at Zuhair Murad to a very full frosty blueberry sorbet colored dress at Versace, the metallic textiles weren’t discriminatory when selecting their colors.
Alexis Mabille was the leader of the pack when it came to metals, but most of the couture houses did at least one look in blinding silvers or soft gold. A great deal of sparkle came from Chanel and Bouchra Jarrar but Valentino’s beaded evening gowns definitely contributed to the opulence of the metallic trend.
Metallic textile looks by Shiaparelli, Zuhair Murad and Versace.
DJ, Mix That Media!
There’s mixed media in art on canvas… then there’s whatever the f*ck Maison Martin Margiela did. I know it’s an ode to an old craft where artisans add a little of whatever they are good at without knowing what the person before them contributed and make up a “beautiful piece for art or fashion…” The MMM couture collection showcased old coins placed strategically on sheer silk and called it a day, they also made a piece using old cashmere swatches from fabric shows. I’m not sure how this is couture but it definitely spurred a mixed media frenzy this year as Chanel, Bouchra Jarrar and Versace all seemed to wage war against the mono-textilian world of high fashion.
Mixed Media looks by Maison Martin Margiela, Bouchra Jarrar and Versace.
Florals for Fall??? Okay… That’s Actually Groundbreaking!
Everyone, and I mean… E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E did florals this Fall 2014. From the 3-d flowers at Chanel to the embroidered ones at Christian Dior, nearly all the designers got a little dirty dabbling in the garden. My favorite was from the Giambatista Valli show where more than half the looks had breathtaking silk flowers hand stitched to dresses and separates.
Glass floral beading and floral embroidery looks by Chanel, Giambatista Valli and Christian Dior.
Overzealous Skirts or Zeppelins?
Some of the balloon style skirts on the evening dresses were so large they mirrored ladies-of-the-court from the mid 1800’s and before. There wasn’t really a favorite because they were all so great, but Elie Saab had some truly amazing full sized ball gowns that swept the floor and moved magically. The only thing about these extravagant dresses is that they aren’t for the affluent or well-to-do. These dresses are reserved for the most quintessential elite whose grand parties we don’t ever hear about and whose weddings are more lavish than Kimye’s.
Giambattista Valli also had some intense full style skirts that were dyed different colors to bring out the bright primary color palate of the show. Other designers who embraced the full factor were Alexis Mabelle, Elie Saab and Versace.
Full Skirts looks by Giambattista Valli, Alexis Mabille, and Elie Saab.
Cape’s have been on the red carpets and runways for a couple years now but it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere just yet. If fall 2014 couture has any power to influence Spring 2015 and beyond, we should be seeing capes in lightweight for Resort 15 and transition into heavier fabrications for Fall 15. But for now let’s revel in the presence of the cape from Valentino, Chanel, Giambattista Valli and Alexis Mabille.
Cape looks by Chanel, Valentino and Giambattista Valli.
What Goes Around… … Defines the Waist
An unprecedented amount of belts were wrapped around the slender waists of so many dresses this season, I had to list it as one of my couture trends. And no I’m not talking about chunky belts typical of Versace, I’m referring to sleek leather wraps in various shades of leather used to cinch a waist or add an hourglass facade to an otherwise tom boyish silhouette. The addition of the belt throughout the week was enough for it to make my trends list and if designers for houses like Dior, Valentino and Chanel used simple belts in their respective collections, then what’s stopping you from incorporating them over a coat you already own, or astride the waist of that pretty party dress with the full skirt in the back of your closet?
Belted looks by Chanel, Christian Dior and Valentino.
Lastly, one of the trends that overlapped from the fall 2014 ready-to-wear was the vast amount of sheer fabrics that were shown on the runway. I didn’t think twice about this though because couture will always use the lightest most delicate fabrications for the shows and sheer material will be present at nearly every season. That being said, if you invest in a sheer piece for fall… you’ll definitely be cutting edge.
I hope you got a lot out of the fall trends from the couture shows in Paris. The best way to use this trend report is to take what was trending and incorporate these styles into your own wardrobe. A little styling goes a long way. So next time you are running out the door to that rooftop party at Sky Room or a friends house throw on a leather sash around your waist or dazzle them with a wool cape. Take your look from everyday to couture by simply incorporating one or more of these trends.