2011 July 6
Runway Reviews: Chanel Couture, Valentino Couture
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Bienvenue Place Vendome! The diamond-clad couture ladies were in their element in Karl Lagerfeld’s recreation of the tony Place Vendôme – home, in days gone by, to Mademoiselle Chanel’s apartments in the Ritz Hotel, along with a multitude of the world’s most renowned jewelers. The glass ceiling in the Grand Palais overlooked a shimmering sky of lights as well as a recreation of the famous Vendôme column, complete with an effigy of Coco perched fashionably at the top. With reports that Chanel Haute Couture has found a renewed vitality from private buyers with new world fortunes, it seemed as though this grand presentation was signaling Mademoiselle Chanel’s final triumph over her couture competitors. At the edge of the avenue, the front row was equally as glittery, with Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson not far from an adorably poised Elle Fanning, who was seated with Mario Testino, next to a collection of Karl’s favorite “it” girls: Alexa Chung, Charlotte Casiraghi, Tatiana Santo Domingo, Gaia Repossi and Elisa Sednaoui. From the American magazine contingent, the Earl of Mornington and wife, makeup mugul Jemma Kidd, appeared to be guests of Anna Wintour, enthusiastically chatting with Hamish Bowles as they waited for Ms. Wintour to return to her seat. Opening with a collection of skirt suits in grey tweed, Lagerfeld got the presentation off to a modest start, showcasing boxy shoulders and flared waists on double-breasted jackets that screamed a 1930’s influence, down to the matching tweed hat worn demurely at the back of the head. Pencil skirts matched the glittering night’s sky with flashes of sparkle, as more tweed suits with interwoven metallic threads of blue and variations with black and grey came out. When a collection of beaded evening dresses worn short at the ankle and mixed with beading and tulle you could tell certain customers were getting excited: Daphne Guinness, seated alongside Carine Roitfeld, started pointing out certain looks to neighbor Lynn Wyatt, no doubt planning future purchases. The wealth of couture details is always astounding at Chanel and these couture buying ladies can definitely sleep soundly at night knowing that their money is going towards supporting an industry of petit mains, the expert hands that work in the Chanel ateliers. Now if only we could all afford to be so eco-chic!
A slightly sluggish coterie of editors made their way to Place Vendôme early this morning for Valentino Haute Couture to take in yet another strong showing by Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri. In their two year reign at chez Valentino, Piccioli and Chiori have cultivated a signature lightness alongside the house’s iconic day coats, aristocratic suiting, and red gowns. This season, the design duo continued to weave their trademark touches into the lineup with an ethereal fairytale where “opulence is transformed in a private dimension far from indiscreet eyes” and “evocation replaced urgent definition.” The Guinevere-inspired ball gowns flecked with gold, the floor-sweeping white cape, the long-sleeve velvet confections—all were in accord with the romantic narrative awash in nude, silver, white, and noir. Poised front row and center, gal pals Amanda Peet and Anne Hathaway ogled the abundance of sheer dresses, anchoring the frock-heavy collection lavished with satin bows, demure ruffles, floral applique, and art deco beading.
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