Couture: Good!

OK, now for the good news about couture.

You might not like what I’ve chosen, but I do, and since this is my blog, I get final decision.  <insert evil scientist laugh here>

Here are my top ten favorite looks from the spring 2013 haute couture season. Commentary follows each picture.

Armani Prive

Armani Privé. Again, this collection was hit or miss, but I quickly fell in love with this gown. It doesn’t translate in the pictures, but the bodice is studded with highly reflective crystals that dance in the light. I love the juxtaposition of the strict shape of the bodice and the fluid draping on the skirt. The baton that catches the fabric at the waist is an unexpected twist to an evening dress. This is Armani at his finest.


Chanel. There were many things to like about the Chanel collection (a few things not to like too), but this suit stole my heart. With an endless list of permutations on the classic cardigan suit in tweed, the house of Chanel delivers a smartly tailored look that updates the traditional foundation. The shape is clean and the styling, with the boots and hat, gives this new classic a jaunty twist.

Elie Saab, Couture, Paris, Spring Summer, 2013

Elie Saab. Damn I love this dress. The beading at the top of the sleeve aligns perfectly with the diagonal lines across the bodice and that makes me very happy. The open effect at the shoulders takes weight off of the dress and the soft lilac color gives an otherwise hard-edged look, a gentle softness. I love that the dress has a long sleeve and calf-grazing hem – those two details give it a versatile appeal that will translate well to a lot of women. To put it bluntly, I wish I had designed this dress.


Ferrant Couture. The ease and simplicity of this dress speaks volumes to the designer in me. It is NOT easy to translate the gesture of a drawn line into fabric. And by adding tulle in the mix, you ramp up the danger of it failing. This dress sails clear of any pitfalls and delivers a clean yet dramatic design element that not many can wear, but those who can, will be very grateful they are able.

Julien Fournie

Julien Fournie. OK, I know what you are thinking, but hear me out. Haute couture gives a house an opportunity to experiment with looks that are mainly show pieces and will probably never sell. With that in mind, this outfit encapsulates that idea swimmingly. It is a bold attention-getter that defines an otherwise lackluster collection. The color blocking is balanced and the model is copping the right attitude to carry it off. Also, Leon Hall once said, “if you are going to wear a feather boa, wear the biggest, gaudiest boa you can find” – I think this model wins that race.

Oscar Carvallo

Oscar Carvallo. The open beadwork on this lace jacket is stunning. The dimension and depth it renders a boxy cut is rarely achieved in design. It was smartly paired with an understated dress in a complementary color and the beadwork itself is done in one, restrained, solid color so as to not overpower the workmanship. Overall, it defines complicated simplicity.

Rami al Ali

Rami Al Ali. This dress is so subtle in its delivery, it can easily be overlooked. Kind of like the shy girl at the party who stood in a corner all night and didn’t really talk to anyone. But, that one time you casually looked up and saw her out of the corner of your eye, you were rendered speechless by the stunning beauty hiding behind her all too concealing bangs.  The cut is so simple that the light to dark beaded clam shells get to do all of the talking, and this is a one-sided conversation you don’t mind being on the business end of.

Stephane Rolland, Haute Couture, Paris, Fall Winter, 2013

Stephane Rolland. With every season, I fall harder in love with his clothes. They look architectural and yet, yielding to the touch. The bodice on this dress looks like draped fondant on a wedding cake to me, and the addition of the metal belt, gives the waist a hard edge without being cold and uninviting. The melting black ink hem grounds this dress and gives the total look gravity. I love it.


Valentino. Working in silk tulle is a nightmare in itself, but with the addition of volume, gathers and underpinnings, you can quickly wonder why you designed the dress in the first place. Clearly the house of Valentino is unaware of these issues and can crank out magically dark concoctions like this dress. The lace detail at the hem is an unexpected twist to an already stunning gown that is both alluring and mysterious.

Zuhair Murad

Zurhair Murad. It was a task picking just one look from this collection. He always delivers a clean, beautifully detailed set of clothes each time, and this season did not disappoint. The cut is not that dramatic, but the sheer, tulle skirt arranged with beaded lace appliques flows nicely into both the bodice and the hem. There is a fine line between sexy and classy and this dress walks that tightrope perfectly.

OK people, those are the hits.

As soon as my studio gets squared away, I’ll be back to the sewing.



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