PARIS – regular beauty was the main focus of this collection described as “sensual but severe” by one half of valentino’s creative directing duo, pier paolo picciolli. the house of valentino is one that i feel emotionally connected to, for some odd reason. especially now in the new modern era of the label, i identify so vividly with the way that they represent beauty in the form of fashion design. there is an elegance that is well executed, each season- but doesn’t look to dramatization, loud music or elaborate inspirations. it’s controlled, thoughtful & gradual. i say gradual in that, over the course of the last few years, valentino as a label has made such a valiant effort to compete in the ever changing atmosphere of high fashion. live streamed shows, modern concepts & a kardashian in the front row have all seemed to be intelligent ploys at elevating the label as a conversation piece. though the celebrity co-sign is not needed, in my opinion, it does help.

i wanted to close my reviews of the FW12 couture season with valentino, considering the level of simplicity & effortlessness that is represented in design. it’s that type of simplicity that i am most responsive to. though simple, a certain level of drama was shown in the lines of the collection. the silhouettes were feminine & sophisticated, the glimpses of skin that were made visible through the sheer textiles, the romantic use of floral print on the gowns- it was all very delicate. the runway soundtrack was as whimsical as the gowns as frida gustavsson opened the show in a gorgeous sheer, navy gown. floral elements have seemed to be a staple in the valentino collections in both ready-to-wear & couture, this season they made a smaller cameo. i was surprised to see that the collection also included valentino red, which is a color iconically associated with the house. in seasons past, it has been apparent that the use of such a tone in the palette was avoided to somehow give birth to this new era that the house is so fully engulfed in.

while the runway video as well as the runway images from this collection do no justice to the clothes, i felt the video was much more powerful a reflection of the atmosphere & physical presence that the clothes are promoting. presented was a range of garments, some much more elegant than others but the overall vision never flew of the track of cohesion. it was distinctly valentino. not the valentino of the past, not the old school vintage valentino that used to dress jackie o. & elizabeth taylor- but the new school valentino, the modernized & elegant valentino of the future. respectful nods seemed to reference many of valentino’s own archived collections, but still there is a separation there that is recognized. from their menswear collection & now to couture, i am extremely pleased with the environment being created by the house of valentino. even down to the digital announcements for their live stream shows each season, there is such a vital importance of modernization, especially through a technological approach with fashion houses these days. all around, this collection being further evidence- the house of valentino is winning. im not talking figures or bullshit about corporations- but im talking through creativity. a beautiful victory.


PARIS – as america celebrated it’s independence, fashion continued to thrive in paris through showings of haute couture. of the few couture collections which show twice a year, givenchy by way of ricardo tisci is seemingly unstoppable. this season, i will say- i felt a little more ease with the concepts that were shown. for the past five seasons, i’ve really paid much more attention to couture in taking time to understand the value of the art form. ricardo tisci is a genius, without a doubt, but i wonder if he will soon just become rested in greatness. from inspiration of tropical birds, to samurai warriors- we’ve seen every unexpected form of inspiration with givenchy’s couture collections. it’s the kind of buzz you feel in fashion that is visible everywhere. with the rise of social media, the global discussion has seemingly shifted to fashion. more specifically, high fashion. throughout the course of couture week in paris, donatella versace, raf simons & the house of christian dior were highlighted as trending headlines on the internet.

among the most anticipated design collections every season, images of givenchy’s latest couture collection spilled onto the internet on the fashion forums as well as on twitter as editors allowed faithful fashion followers to grab a few first glimpses.  at first glance, i was dissapointed. but then i started to see more detailed shots of the collection. intricacy to the tenth degree. inspired by modern day gypsies, ricardo tisci is always beautifully inspired by the most unique elements of style. while the collection lines were much more simplified in comparison to past seasons for couture at givenchy, the real magic is seen in the details. hand beading, embroidery- very couture. the use of leather, the palette- very givenchy. what’s particularly inspiring of the givenchy collections, which tisci has directed for the last seven years, is the amount of influence that is accompanied with them. i love that tisci really beats to his own drum & sets the bar higher, not only for fashion, but for himself in contrast to prior seasons, prior collections.

the concepts, looking at them much more simply- were distinct in representing the fall. each look was floor length as joan smalls’ look was a pair of pants & was paired with a dog. those types of oddities are what allow tisci to further standout from the rest of the fashion scene. all in all, the usual dark elements of givenchy were represented but for the most part, it’s expected. much like john galliano during his time at christian dior, toward the end he began to become boring. the theatricality, the design narrative associated with the clothes- it was all soo great, but so expected. that is the type of emotion i was left with in viewing this collection. hoping not to confuse complacency for masterful couture skill, the collection is one that allows the givenchy signature as represented by tisci to be felt. could it have been better? possibly. is it good? yes. was it the best? no. not to take anything away from the greatness of tisci’s work, but this collection didn’t resonate as powerfully as other givenchy collections have in the past.