January 31, 2012

Christian Dior Spring 2012 Couture

Let's skip all the fancy stuff and get right down to it: Christian Dior Spring 2012 Couture is the most successful collection Bill Gaytten has given us so far.  I'm surprised, happy, and relieved that Gaytten took in the criticism over the past few seasons, and came out with a collection that is finally moving towards the better.  Mind you, it still lacks the magic and drama of Galliano's collections, but nonetheless, Gaytten deserves a good pat on the back for this collection.

There were a lot of aspects taken from the Spring/Summer 2012 RTW collection, but Gaytten infused Galliano's previous fascination with a kind of deliberately unfinished quality by using sheer fabric to expose the pieces to their bare bones, giving rise to a beautiful first couple of looks:
Then came looks much like those from RTW (notably the A-line skirts and wide necklines).  Some of the looks weren't like couture at all and definitely could have been revised, while others were remade with black crocodile skin and sheer skirts.
One of my favourite looks in the collection heralds the arrival of evening wear.  It was an outfit consisting of a sheer, pale lavender dress shirt with a multiple layered skirt.  It was casual-meets-couture and it was fantastically unexpected.
The lavender started to darken into a deep purple, and the dresses that ensued were utterly elegant and sultry.
And finally, the ever-famous ball gowns.  The line up could have been rearranged, since it felt as if the drama petered out near the end, but the first couple of gowns were beautifully layered.
One thing I have noticed is that after the last season's incohesive couture collection, Gaytten seems to be laying back on the colour.  Galliano always adored color, and more colour would bring some vibrancy to these collections.  Other than that, congratulations to Gaytten for coming through.  Just a bit more fine-tuning on the clothes and possibly creating a more solid theme and Dior may begin to pick itself back up again.

Watch the entire show here.

Image Source: Style.com

January 28, 2012

Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2012

With my lack of Fashion Week posts in the past couple of months, when I do end up posting about Fashion Week, I unfortunately have to filter it down to my favourite standouts.  I would love to talk about labels other than the typical big designer labels (I talk a lot about Dior, Chanel and McQueen, don't I?), or about collections that I don't necessarily have a positive review for, but bear with me as I take a look at Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2012.

Pre-Fall was never too exciting for me; it wasn't quite Fall, and it wasn't quite Spring.  It just never produced looks that were so astounding they couldn't have been saved for Fall collections.  And really, it's just another reason for designers to be overworked.  But Alexander McQueen gave a Pre-Fall collection worth singling out.  It was a sharp, gothic, Victorian collection with a focus on menswear and three-dimensional floral embroidery.  Sarah Burton began with exquisite black embroidery atop cherry red, all belted with black leather corset-like belts, and accessorized with mercilessly pointed boots.  The boots were what first drew me to the collection.  They sharpen the line of the leg, and you no doubt feel powerful wearing them.
As the collection morphed towards plum purple, there were a couple of leanly tailored pant suits thrown in.  It's certainly one way to take charge in the boardroom.
Then came black lace-like embroidery, wrapped around the richest, most luxurious shades of green.
The embroidery then transferred onto sheer dresses with sleeves so light they may as well have been invisible, reminding me very much of Givenchy couture (although, as you'll see in my review of Givenchy couture later on, this is no longer the case).
Burton played around with the typical McQueen silhouette of prominent shoulders, cinched waist, and a pencil skirt, by replacing the pencil skirt with an A-line.  In doing so, I saw a subtle '50s reference that softened the strong looks, and made them more feminine.  Yet another legendary collection by Sarah Burton.

See the entire collection here.

Image Source: Style.com

January 24, 2012

Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2012 RTW

Technically, I should be talking about Christian Dior Spring 2012 Couture, but I've wanted to talk about their Spring/Summer 2012 RTW for a long time now, and it would be a great way to build up to my review of the couture show later on.

Remember Dior's fun, but fairly disastrous Fall 2011 Couture show?  In comparison, this collection was infinitely better, but unfortunately, it tried so hard to be the opposite of what the couture show was like that it became lacklustre.  You couldn't say any of the looks were unflattering, but you couldn't say they were outstanding either.  Galliano was a master at producing looks that were undeniably Dior, but which were relevant and new.  Bill Gaytten stayed on the safe side with looks that were all Dior.  As one Youtube user puts it perfectly, it wasn't "not Dior enough" (as the argument usually is), but rather it was too Dior.

The show started off with a silhouette of curved shoulders and a cinched waist - characteristic of Dior's classic Bar jacket - done with a wider neckline than the original.  There was a mix of organza and gazar, with an especially interesting tile/mosaic detailing that I liked, overtop a sheer, masculine collar.  However, you'll see that as pretty as these looks were, they were flat and lacking a certain spark.
As the show progressed, the only burst of colour came in the form of red.  From here on, even though there were still very basic Dior looks, there were more ruffles, bows, and bits of unique detailing.
Once the evening wear started filtering in, I perked up a little.  Gaytten finally started to "get it".  The end consisted of a string of art deco gowns, which I think if he carried from start to finish, would have given him a more successful collection.  Not perfect, but better.
Another thing I noticed was the choice of soundtrack.  Galliano always had magnificent soundtracks that transported the audience into a world of theatricality and indulgence.  The soundtrack this season was too fast and upbeat for the clothes that were being displayed, and maybe it was just me, but even Karlie Kloss seemed to walk faster and ditch her slow saunter.  Hardly any of the models did any of the acting they usually do for Dior.  There was no feeling of adventure.  Just a straightforward look at the Dior archives.

Watch the entire show here.

Image Source: Style.com