2012 March 7
Paris Fall 2012: Valentino, Alexander McQueen
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It's not only impressive, it's borderline astounding how quickly Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have redefined the second generation of Valentino. We've come to expect certan things: romantic, Victorian silhouettes, a modern sense of modesty, a sweet shoe, a tough bag. And lace! But for Fall, they added a bit of folklore and a lot of leather to the mix, in one of the duo's best collections to date. Despite their penchant for red-carpet dressing, the daywear loomed largest, especially the dresses. Mostly long-sleeved and knee-length, with some bell in the sleeve or some scalloping around the neckline, and always done in the best materials from lace to metallic tweed, they were among the best seen all season. Peasant gowns in equally peasant-y prints and embellishments were another formidable statement—and a harbiner of more great things to come from this talented team.
Mon dieu, McQ! Sarah Burton's first collection for the house told the fashion world, No need to fret. Her Fall 2012 effort had everyone wondering if she may be more McQueen than McQueen. Her high-concept stylings guarantee clothes that resemble art—a hallmark of this house—but they also work very nicely as clothes, especially the first half of this breathtaking effort. She began in white. A short, moderately full skirt with a ruffle or two, paired with some volume up top (a furry collar, perhaps?) was her starting point. Then she moved on to literal balls of fur, tacked onto two sculptural minidresses. And then ostrich feather jackets, which started off as aggressively voluminous and then revealed themselves to be, you know, just a little cocktail frock. But things got increasingly ornate from there, and nearly ended on a massive monument to pink organza. Poor Frida was nearly invisible beneath those hundreds of layers. But then! Things ended in black—a body-con skirt that flared out, fur-covered, paired with a cape of tiered tulle. Forget me if you dare, Jac seemed to say. Not likely!
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