Twice a year, in January and July, couturiers show their designs during Paris Couture week. While nowadays people like to throw around the word couture to mean high fashion, it's meaning in France is very specific and not to be used lightly. In order to be a couturier, you must be accredited and recognized by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in France. It is a government agency that is protected by the state in order to regulate the craftsmanship that is involved in couture garments, which are made by hand with the most detailed work by the most specialized houses. Just being a fashion designer, even one who shows at Paris Fashion Week, does not mean that you are a couturier. So Paris Couture week does not feature many designers, making it all the more special. (Also, if you are recognized as a couturier, you must show in Paris, no exceptions.)
So with that being said, the clothes for Couture week are beyond anything else. One of the first to show this week was Donatella Versace. The House of Versace had taken a break from doing couture for many seasons until this past January when they returned to Paris for the Spring/Summer Couture showing. For Fall, Donatella showed her collection at the Hotel Ritz, where her brother Gianni often showed his couture collections. The looks in my opinion are classic Versace, showing off a woman's body in the way only Donatella can.
Another big show was Christian Dior. While Dior's couture is always a sight to see, this season is particularly exciting as it is the debut of the House's new Creative Director, Raf Simons. Over a year after John Galliano was let go from Dior, speculation about his replacement ran rampant and many thought it would be Marc Jacobs who would take over. But supposedly Marc was not too keen on the couture part of the job description. Instead, right after the Paris shows for Fall 2012 wrapped up in March, it was announced that Raf Simons was leaving Jil Sander and heading to Dior. Simons is definitely beloved by the fashion industry and his debut collection for Dior did not disappoint. He brought his minimal sensibility and attention to detail to Dior. Some looks reminded me a lot of Simons' Fall show for Jil Sander (the pale pinks, reds, neutrals and the slightly different take on sweetheart necklines). Simons overall focused on the architectural aspects of classic Dior form taking cues from the founder himself while still making everything modern, clean and classic.
Here are some of my favorite looks, more from Couture Week coming soon!
Versace Couture Fall/Winter 2012
|Scarf prints were used in many dresses|
|The detail on this trench is amazing|
|A recurring theme was dresses cut up and swoon back together...with crystals.|
|Such a tiny dress... so much amazing detail.|
|Notice the bead and crystal work. Astounding.|
Christian Dior Couture Fall/Winter 2012
|First look, classic tuxedo styling|
|A recurring theme, ball gown tops that ended at peplum lengths over cigarette pants|
|The same blush pink from Jil Sander Fall 2012|
|Such a simple dress, but so much construction|
(images from Style.com)