Just as I was slipping into a shorts and flip flops induced fashion coma here in Los Angeles, the Paris Couture season kicked off. It was just in the nick of time as I was beginning to believe what local “designers” were telling me about “winter” tank tops… At any rate, dear reader, you know quite well how obsessed I am with the Haute Couture and this season the designers do not disappoint.
Fashion is nothing if not fickle and after several seasons of pingponging from all black to all white to – shocker – black-and-white, designers are beginning, just slightly to offer us color. Just what exactly is “the new black” this season? Well, there the designers disagree, but we won’t as the colors are richer and deeper than we have seen in a long time, perhaps all the more attractive as the standout looks in collections that are largely – you guessed it – black, white and black-and-white.
Let’s start with the ‘Ladies in Red’. Karl Lagerfeld’s collection for Chanel this fall winter is largely white but the house’s signature wool boucle tweeds are woven through and introduce notes of color. My favorite look is a very fresh silhouette for couture, exactly as inspiring as it should be. The dress is a cross between Marie Antoinette and Joan of Arc – part armor, part courtly panier. While the silhouette may not flatter all figures, the effect is thought provoking and a little bit challenging – just how I like my fashion. I can’t wait to see how the Grace Coddingtons of the world photograph this.
Armani Prive collections of late seem made for the red carpet. Many a Hollywood actress will vie of the honor of wearing one these Giorgio Armani designs to the Oscars next year. My favorite is one that may not actually appear on the carpet if Hollywood stylists stick to the maxim of no red on the red carpet. The slightly empire-waisted, Juliette-sleeved blouson is somewhat fifties, but the confection of construction that is the skirt is the perfect blend of slim and full. From the front the skirt has a narrow appearance that pumps up the volume as it moves. If someone dares to wear it, this will be a red carpet showstopper.
If red means stop then green means go – go directly to Valentino and order this dress. I’m a huge fan of long sleeves for evening and this dress will have everyone else turning green with envy. The bateau neckline is super feminine and – forget thigh high, Angelina – the waist high slits are filled in with the sheerest of sunray pleated chiffon, a signature of the fabled house since the 1960s. I love the juxtaposition of the strict severity of the architecture of the dress and the sheer – literally – vampiness of the slits in the skirt.
Donatella Versace celebrates the rights of women everywhere to bare arms – well, maybe just one. Forget the one shoulder gowns of seasons past, this season you can have a gown that features both my beloved long sleeve and one completely bare arm. The asymmetrical structure of the skirt – just one pocket – throws everything off kilter – in a totally brilliant Atelier Versace way. The red carpet competition will be off their game when this gown shows up.
The cycle of fashion begins anew each season with the Haute Couture in Paris. In the months to come, we will undoubtedly see elements of these designs appear in the fall, in the Spring Summer 2015 collections of the American designers. No need to wait until next year though, you can start drawing inspiration from these looks now and join the haute couture customers in heralding a new fashion season this fall. Remember, fashion is a game and a game should be fun, but we all know it’s about winning and staying ahead of the pack. Now you know what you need to know to do that!
– Joseph Ungoco
Image Layout: Second City Style