Spring Couture 2012

It's totally valid to wonder, what is a blog that focuses on the classics, the staples and the basics, doing with something as ephemeral and fickle as fashion shows? The same should be asked to these fashion houses, what is the point of hosting such massive over-the-top events when only an odd piece or two  will be sold to a wife of a Russian oligarch or a Middle Eastern oil sheik? Almost all fashion houses run a loss with haute couture shows and make most of their money through accessories anyway. For the most part, the haute couture shows add prestige and a brand identity through these elaborate events, but I feel this is also an opportunity for the designers to push their creative limits and run wild with their artistic vision without being held back by the 'wearability' needed of RTW shows. For me the blogger, it's all about the exquisite attention to detail, the extremely high quality of the workmanship, the choices of different fabrics and the (wo)man-hours dedicated to the construction of such works of art, which are on a smaller scale, the same kind of qualities I look for in a much more ordinary piece of clothing. So consider this an exercise on a grander scale, plus the tremendous amount of eye candy never hurts. A few fashion shows have not been included in this couture review, due to limited time and energy but also because I felt that I had the most the talk about for these shows.

Ironically there isn't all that much to say about Elie Saab, mostly because it just consists of the soft airy pastel gowns but since it's making all the rounds on fashion blog I should at least a few words (however little) about this collection. All the dresses are gorgeous don't get me wrong, but it's just cotton candy and a lot of fluff without substance. ES is known more for execution and not so much concept (unlike say Tisci of Givenchy) so it does not matter too much in the sense, but it would have been nice to see a stronger central cohesive theme to surprise us from time to time. This however is the collection I wanted to see in person, partly because the execution IS good here and the details are still so drool-worthy through these less than HQ photos. I can only imagine how beautiful the intricacy of the lace, the brilliance of the embroidery and texture of the gowns, would look in person.

I think before I write anything more I should post a little disclaimer: I am HUGE HUGE fan of Giambattista Valli and naturally this will all sound quite biased. I am not going try and hide it so I might as well just come clean with it. And I have to say <spazz> OMG IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL I LURVE IT </spazz>. Phew~ I got it out of my system. You can easily argue there's kind of a lack of a theme here, but I can't help but feel that there is more of a thought process here of how different gowns will fit in with each other and how the different details echoes a similar theme throughout. There's nothing revolutionary here, but I like how Valli is trying to make small little adjustments with same details with each progressing collection (like evolution, so baby steps people).

In the past, I've pretty much liked almost all of the Givenchy couture collections, (esp. this past fall 2011 collection) but this year so far I'm not quite as smitten with the present collection above. The details and craft is still beautiful and admirable, however the other pieces just had awkward draping that I just cannot bring myself to love. Unlike the previous two collections, Tisci clearly has a concept and vision before execution, so props to him for that.

For the first time ever, I am going to eat my words and say I miss Valentino (Garavani, the person). It's not like this collection is epically terrible, but if you think Elie Saab is cotton candy then this is heavy thick cloyingly sweet syrup whose saccharine aftertaste never quite leaves your mouth even after repeated rinses of black coffee. Again like many of the collection in couture week, the construction and craft is marvelous, however overwhelming twee vibe of the collection is a little hard to swallow (some looks like it was straight out of a fancier Picnic at Hanging Rock set or something). Though you might not agree with Valentino Garavani's tastes, one must agree that he had flare, pizzazz and a lot of fire in the elegance of his designs.

I didn't expect to like this collection this much, especially with the noticeable difference between Galliano's last couture show with the one the Dior team pulled together later. I enjoy the vintage post-war Dior feel of the gowns, and makes me feel nostalgic in a good way (unlike above). It's all very traditional but so so elegant, and I cannot help but keep wondering how the ombré patterns and designs were created. The pomp and sass of the silhouette is also noteworthy. Finally, I think that the simple black number here is the ultimate fancy LBD a woman could have––SO PERFECT.

And I shall end this ridiculously long post with my runaway favourite of the week, Armani Privé (Didot didn't let me type the ´ over the e so I left it out). Generally I am not an Armani-anything fan (Exchange for obvious reasons, and the cosmetics have horrible cheap packaging) but I was seriously impressed by this collection. There was a super strong theme here (lizzard? fish? snake? and holy grass and cucumbers!) and it's not subtle at all. But after all the more mellow-er collections before it, it's entirely refreshing to see such unreserved daring boldness splashed across so liberally all over each piece. The different ensembles look rather intimidating at a first glance, but when each individual piece is more approachable when paired with something a little less crazy on its own. My eyes always continues to go back to that unbelievably beautiful ombré snake print skirt. I die. The last gown and jacket are also never ceases to mesmerize me with all its brilliance and sparkle. I die again.

Hopefully everybody made through this giant behemoth of a post in one piece. Feel free to disagree with me and let me know what you think. I am not even going to attempt a post of this magnitude for the fashion weeks ahead so enjoy this while you can, hee. I am not entirely sure how I will cover even just parts of fashion week, but you'll know very soon. Not all the pieces were shown here and these are just my favourite picks out of each collection, but if you're interested, you may see each collection in its entirety on Fashion Gone Rogue.

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