Paris In Springtime? Fall Is Where The Fashion Is!

As promised, here is another installment on my beloved HC (aka Haute Couture) featuring the Paris-based designers we all know and love. Chanel is often seen as the entry point to HC. The migration path for a Chanel customer goes something like this: Chanel No. 5 (Eau de Cologne), 2.55 bag in calfskin, Ready-to-wear skirt suit, Chanel No. 5 (Eau de Parfum), 2.55 bag in (this season’s) tweed or pattern, and, finally, Haute Couture suit for daytime. That said, this fall’s suit – coincidentally look no. 5 in the lineup – features not a skirt, but – wait for it – culottes! No doubt there will be must-have boots to match.

At Dior, the departure of Raf Simons a season ago had many fashionistas worried that the brand would, in referencing the core DNA of the brand, revert back to a sort of fashion stuffiness. True, the current collections draws inspiration from the middle of last century and the entirely black and white collection truly highlights the artistry of HC, but this is a Dior that Carrie Bradshaw would adore! The construction and materials are pure couture, but the silhouettes are distinctly modern and clearly meant to appeal to today’s Dior customer.

Ricardo Tischi of Givenchy is probably more known for dressing rock stars than Couture customers of late. His Fall collection is almost entirely evening gowns, clearly aimed at the HC customer with a very full international schedule of galas to attend this fall. No doubt some of the samples may land on the Red Carpet early next year, but only after the HC customers have debuted these looks at the chicest of events. His evening suit with embellished peplum was too excruciatingly chic for me to not highlight it here.

Speaking of peplums, Jean Paul Gaultier seems to have gone peplum crazy. His fall collection is an homage to 80’s style – strong shoulders, impossibly slim skirts, and jackets that exaggerate feminine curves. The entire collection is in my favorite palette of woodland colors for fall: brown, green and gold. He also mixes textures – bulky cable knits sculpted into tailored jackets, paired with the most flawless leather skins fashioned into second skin skirts. The wood runway brings me back to my early days in fashion when the production values on shows in the tents – at Bryant Park – were so high. Luca Luca had a custom made stainless steel runway one season that probably cost more than most shows do today.

High fashion’s favorite enfant terrible, John Galliano, is spreading his wings at the formerly cerebral Maison Margiela. His collection for fall is looking terribly Dior, as we knew and loved it pre-Raf. I’m in love with this tiered ruffled baby doll dress with asymmetric military inspired jacket – with bracelet sleeves. Could it be more couture?

From the HC veterans to new kids on the fashion block – Bertrand Guyon is the new creative director at Schiaparelli. Talk about a storied brand with an iconic fashion history. Recall that this brand has its roots in the Café Society of the last century and fans of the brand when Schiap was still at the helm included the Duchess of Windsor. Those of you who went to the Met exhibit on Schiaparelli and Prada (aka Impossible Conversations) may recall that café society women were accustomed to being photographed sitting at tables at lunch or in nightclubs. Consequently, they kept the visual interest of their ensembles at the shoulder or above the waist. This butterfly puffer jacket in silk is the modern incarnation of that ethos. Who knew that Haute Couture could be selfie-ready?

I hope you’ve enjoyed our little tour around the Paris HC collections. Stay tuned for more on the Italians!

– Joseph Ungoco

Read about the fall 2016 Haute Couture guest designers here.

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Runway Photos: Vogue.com

Image Layout: FountainOf30

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