PARIS – shedding his purified direction seen in the last two couture seasons, ricardo tisci returned to the dark side for the SS12 haute couture season in paris. in 1952, the house of givenchy was founded by hubert de givenchy. upon establishment, givenchy became a fixture in fashion history through his affiliation with film icon, audrey hepburn & his associations with the kennedys. from 1952-1995, hubert de givenchy was in place at his own label but retired after 43 years. following hubert’s retirement, john galliano was selected as the label’s new creative director, which lasted for a mere two years. as you may know, galliano then left givenchy, upon the offering of a creative directing position at christian dior; where he remained for 15 years up until 2011. following galliano’s departure, alexander mcqueen was then put in place as creative director at givenchy, which allowed a whole other level of fashion to be entered into. throughout fashion history, the house of givenchy has housed & introduced some of the greatest designers, catapulting them into the larger high-end design stratosphere. tisci remains within that lane of great artists that have been given a place not only at givenchy, but in fashion all together. for this couture collection, tisci mentioned the importance of ‘identity’, using this collection to recap all he has done in his seven years with the historic french house.

through all of the speculation whether tisci will leave his post at givenchy to make a move to dior, one would speculate even further once hearing of tisci’s train of thought during the creation of this collection. “the mark of a successful designer is having an identity”, tisci said during interviews about the collection; which definitely adds a sense of retrospect from the designer. no doubt, tisci has made his mark with his work at givenchy, but why would he take this season to look back at all he’s done? unless he was planning to open a new chapter? speculation has lead us to believe that belgian designer, raf simons, is in the lead for the race to dior; but even that has never been confirmed beyond speculated reports. time will tell if this collection is a simple design check point for ricardo, or if it is indeed the closing of one chapter & the opening of a new. cited inspiration for the hand-made collection were 20’s films metropolis (1927) & aelita: queen of mars (1924), which can be seen in the collections concepts of art deco & crystalized embellishments. always a stand out each season, tisci has been doing delicate & powerfully influenced collections of exotic birds & samurais the last two seasons, while this season sees him going back to his darker roots. one piece from the collection was reported taking 350 hours to create- signal enough that the collection is no laughing matter. i always love when designers take opposition, further contrasting themselves against seasons, in fashion. for spring, generally, one would assume that romantic direction would be taken with beautiful florals, like many of the other collections we’ve seen thus far. but tisci, like a true original, separated himself from that expectation; presenting something chic & darkly glamourous.

listed in order from left to right, the 10 piece collection was modeled by joan smalls, stella tennant, ana claudia michels, kristen mcmenamy, saskia de brauw, daria strokous, natasha poly, zuzanna bijoch, valerija kelava & kati nescher. im always extrememly interested to see how tisci opts to have each collection shot. for the pre-fall season, i heard the collection was shot in the streets of brooklyn. this collection? shot in what appears to be a basketball court, which is hinted at the hoop net above the 10 looks & the basketball that rests below the ten models’ feet. overall, the collection is still just a glimpse of design construction genius in images. even when seeing collections through video or strategic lighting, the art of couture is to be experienced in real life, off screen- something that digital media could never replace. what i value most about couture is, despite the advancements of sewing machines, laser cut leather & other modern technology- there is no greater value than a classical technique handed down from generation to generation, from one skilled individual to another. tisci demonstrates that even the most modern fashion houses can still rock with tradition in a way that truly blends the new school with the old. you don’t need me to say it, by just looking at the collection- the designs are impeccable & tisci, via givenchy remains un-fucking-touchable. [source]


PARIS – when looking at couture collections, i take into complete consideration that the pieces are nothing, digitally, compared to what they are in person. so many designers, low budget brands & miscellaneous kiosks in shopping malls have completely slained the meaning, historical value & heritage of haute couture. in looking to identify what true couture is, each season, i’ve made more of a concious effort to stay away from design hype with no delivery, concepts with no consistency & just all around poor design. giambattista valli is one design name that i’ve come to look out for during show season, during ready-to-wear also but more particularly during couture season. there is a presence of design drama that labels are allowed to present during couture season, which i feel is rooted in the true meaning of what fashion is. 

giambattista in particular is one interesting design entity, with an incredible life that seemingly revolves around couture. after getting an education during his childhood at the a vatican school in italy, valli began to sketch. these sketches soon followed valli’s comprehension of silhouette, which lead to him duplicating illustrations done by yves saint laurent. valli’s first job was working along side cecilia fanfani, doing production of couture shows in rome. as if that gig was ill enough, he then transitioned into public relations at roberto capucci which eventually led him to a promotion as design staff. during his time at capucci, valli has said that he began to gain a better understanding of the technical aspects of both color & volume, two aspects which have a powerful presence in his own design work. amidst his beginnings in fashion for many years, valli presented his first couture collection in 2011. astonishingly, by looking at his design work, it’s able to hang tough with some of the best. with a collaboration with retail giant, macy’s, waiting in the wings- valli’s star is definitely one that is one the rise to greater commercial success & global recognition. already a star on the high fashion circuit, valli’s latest couture collection rests in great design & consistent execution through greatness. 

even more interestingly, this couture collection is said to be a recap of all the skills valli has learned during his entire development as a designer & through what he was taught during his time in the ateliers. staying true to the season of summer/spring 2012, the collection was light, romantic & hyper-feminine; all aspects i love of design. elegant use of lace added just the right touch of style induced seduction while the clothes never lacked sophistication. voluminous bows accented the collection’s sleek silhouettes as floral embroidery was seen along with modern use of leather. it was a powerful contrast of soft & strong, powerful & delicate. as the collection drew closer to a close, the lines in the collection became almost liquified, spilling onto the runway while lavish floral head pieces added that giambattista touch, ever so slightly. use of pattern was seen more vibrantly toward the final look, which was colored pink, fuschia & purple with printed petals. overall, the collection blossomed beatifiully onto the runway. the show sequence along with the choice techniques to represent couldn’t have been produced or executed any more perfectly. one of the best couture collections of this season, for sure. this collection signifies a new level being entered, a raising of the bar for valli, who is clearly on the brink of making fashion history. what’s so dope about giambattista as a designer is that his past experience & heavy involvment in fashion have all cosmically prepared him for the work he is doing. an inspiring artist, a true visionary of fashion- hands up for giambattista, he killed this. [source]


PARIS – after the disastrous FW11 haute couture collection presented by the house of dior, i had my reservations about whether or not this season’s couture set would even be of any value. under the direction of dior atelier’s bill gaytten, the collection presented was flawless. seemingly inspired by the same aspects of dior archives that had inspired john galliano for much of his time at the house, the collection presented classic silhouettes of voluminous skirts with a bit of sheer flirtation that was accented by hand stitched floral embroidery. sound tracked by lana del rey’s “video games”, the theme of fantasy was well played & clearly translated. opening the couture presentation, which boasted a front row seat for actress cameron diaz, was karlie kloss of next models ny. use of houndstooth & the signature cat eye were seen on the runway, driving the presence of classical beauty even further. theatrical just enough to remind you that the house has not fallen, i was floored by each look- completely. a controlled palette of black, white & nude was seen as shots of red & some deep purples were added to the mix, but did not disrupt the timeless appeal.

looks in leather, accented by long length gloves were seen alongside techniques of exposed stitching, belted waists & beautifully ombre’d dresses. the power was definitely in the details for dior this season, which was evident in the surprisingly strong collection. writhing in regality, each look was more beautiful than the last & the gowns which closed the collection became more & more dramatized. crystal encrusted beading, plaid & layers upon layers of elegant textiles were presented. with the position of creative director still in the air, i was completely impressed with this season’s couture collection & began to question the need for a new director. under gaytten, whom has worked alongside galliano for quite some time, could be a shoe in. this collection being evidence enough, the house of dior is heavily based on concepts of classic beauty & christian dior himself had created a lifetime of inspiration that could easily be referenced by the atelier who has produced these looks each season. while there seems to be no rush in filling the position anytime soon, ready to wear collections for show season are rapidly approaching. it’s clear, the beauty we’ve come to expect from the house of dior is still very much present & rests on the skills of the atelier, who has done a commendable job in the absence of a director. unendingly inspired by how classic this collection is; im excited to see what will be presented for paris fashion week, when womenswear collection are presented in february. applause to bill gaytten for stepping up to the plate this season to slay with classic style & complete sophistication. [source]


PARIS – in their return to the runways of haute couture, donatella stood in front of a gold mirrored stair case in paris to unveil 15 jaw-droppingly gorgeous, extensively detailed haute couture gowns. just when you thought you could count the italian fashion house out, due in large part to their collections with fast fashion retailer H&M, the iconic atelier versace collections come crashing onto the runway. in anticipation of the collection, i had been looking at archived collections, both ready to wear & couture of versace, designed by donatella’s brother gianni from the late 80′s into the 90′s. what i love of versace is their use of sex through sophistication. when gianni versace was still alive, death by murder in 1997, he had a way of taking flash & turning it into trend. he took the gaudy & unwearable, transforming it into the chic & ultra-feminine. this move made an indelible mark on high fashion & versace remains one of the most iconic fashion houses for it. in the heritage of the italian label, gianni became known for taking hardware & making it wearable- using taboo concepts & churning them out on the glittering runways of milan & paris. for a while, the couture side of versace had become dormant along with the labels diffusion collection, versus. through industry trials & financial woes following the death of gianni, the house of versace has definitely stayed in the fighting spirit. headlines of downward revenue have been circling for years but now it seems that the label is hitting their stride once more in the new year. take for example, the H&M collections. one thing is certain of H&M, they know how to produce fashion for the masses & the inclusion of versace with their annual design collaboration allows a wider audience to partake in the fashion festivities while not having to suffer the escalated price points. the success of this collaboration brough a new level of luxe to H&M, also proving to be a golden union for versace who has been looking to push their design presence even further into the new & modern market. following their fall collection, versace also opted to follow-up with a cruise collection in a continual effort to push themselves upon consumers who will never be able to drop a couple grand for a gown.

on the heels of their fast fashion domination, the house of versace, under the guidance of donatella, have clearly not forgotten about their home in the luxury market. i was extremely excited to see that they would be making a return to the couture presentation circuit in paris, considering that they had only been producing custom looks from their made-to-order division. all things considered, custom isn’t couture. a few altered hemlines so that your titties sit right is nothing compared to hours spent by the atelier, hand beading a custom gown with a metal neckline. absent from the couture scene since 2004, the collection marked a goddess like return sound tracked by operatic excellence that was beautifully contrasted by the ultra-modern, hyper-sexual image that versace has become known for & delivered so well. dubbed “warrior women” by donatella herself, video previews of the collection truly evoked this persona as models- in order- karlie kloss, daria strokous, maud welzen, jasmine tookes, kendra spears, kati nescher, josephine skriver, lindsey wixson who stole the show with super sass, kate king, arizona muse, sara blomqvist, karmen pedaru, sigrid agren, kasia struss & rose georgiou modeled the 15 hand crafted pieces. do keep in mind that simple images do not do pieces like this any justice. i wanted to take time to find high quality images for you to get a better sense of the artistry that is represented in each piece, with every detail & design technique. exaggerated silhouettes, hand beading, laser cut leather- the collection was a beautiful return to haute couture & im hoping that the house of versace will stick around, with such glamorous consistency, for the next decade. collections like this remind you that fashion is not ‘just clothes’ but an ar tform of historical proportions. [source]