Report: Spring 2017 Haute Couture

I’m having a difficult time reconciling the recent spring 2017 haute couture collections (hence this post’s tardiness). There’s a bizarre dichotomy happening now that puts me at odds with what couture houses are supposed to stand for, and what they have become. Haute couture has never been about making money, which seems odd considering how much money it costs to produce. Sure, pieces get sold and there is some profit, but ultimately, haute couture is and has always been a money-loser. Design houses make their real money on licensing deals (hand bags, shoes and make-up) because they can be pushed at lower price points to more consumers. Haute couture’s purpose has always been to make special clothes for clients that can afford the exorbitant prices. Contemporary pieces are still hand-made using familiar traditions, but with ready-to-wear production getting better, faster and more detailed, several of the couture collections are beginning to look more and more like clothes that are already hanging on store racks.

Yeah, they’re pretty, but sometimes, that’s all they are.

What’s missing from MANY of the couture collections is fantasy.
This is, of course, my opinion. I neither produce haute couture, nor have to staff a design house. I see the couture collections as brand-building muscle-flexing for the ateliers and partly as entertainment. I can appreciate the workmanship, details and savoir-faire in every piece, even the boring ones, but when it comes down to it, the best collections are the ones that turn heads and have a story to tell. Does it always have to be over the top nonsense? Absolutely not. The beauty of haute couture is the signature it leaves on the house that creates it. Each atelier has voice. It’s how that voice gets interpreted that makes the collection sing.

Having said all that, there were a few collections that make be take notice. Some lean on the side of complacency, others, exuberant liberation. Regardless, each of these collections is exceptional in its delivery and deserves kudos.


And the winner of the Most Improved Collection award goes too…
Pale and pastel were the watchwords this season as Lagerfeld softened his touch, and pumped out clothes that were not only beautiful, but felt lighter than seasons past. He’s still obsessed with his lofty plumage, but this season, it was refined and more approachable.Tailoring had a softer edge, and the bead-work, as always, dazzled. Let’s hope this trend continues next season.

Rami Al Ali

With only a handful of pieces, this house showed more established maisons how far clean editing can go. All done in blush and soft metallics, the pieces were worn like pliable sculpture, even when items like simple kimono tops were presented. In one season, this house managed to balance fantasy with wearability in a way that speaks volumes of its maturity.

On Aura Tout Vu

Bizarre clam shell muscle man mise en scene aside, I’m happy to announce that it’s status quo chez Tout Vu. I will always compliment this house on its inspired bead work, and this season was no exception. Working almost exclusively in a palette of black and white, it was impossible to keep up with the mosaic repetitions that adorned most, if not all of the looks that walked out. They kept the cuts clean and, for a change, only resorted to one over the top exit that included molded plastic body casts. This house knows its clients, and with approachable collections like this, are sure to entice more.

Margiela Artisanal

 Galliano continues to refine his taste at Margiela, and the more things change, the more they seem to establish a familiar vocabulary that existed before his appointment, but somehow became louder as he settled in. This season, he blew apart clothes until only the load-bearing seams were left, re-imagined applique in tulle, and layered clothes on the model that suggested they were leaving for far away excursions, and never returning. All brilliant techniques to use, and in some twisted reality I know not of, it all makes sense to the history of the house. Experimentation is the locked door of haute couture, and Galliano is listing to one side from the weight of his key chain.

Stepahne Rolland

Rolland’s signature draping was in full force this season, as it is every season, but this time he played with capturing movement in fabric. Each piece seemed as if the model had just turned or jumped, then the natural flight of the cloth was  frozen in time and rendered immobile, yet still completely wearable. Rolland does clean sophistication well, probably better than any other designer in Paris right now, and as his signature foundations rarely evolve over time, what he does manage to keep fresh are unexpected textile manipulations that feel like soft secrets being whispered to only those willing to listen.

Guo Pei

Over the top, impossible to walk in, jewel encrusted, completely devoid of all reality, and above all, unapologetically decadent…
I have no choice but to hand the season to Guo Pei’s Paris debut.
With pieces that walked like barely-wearable Fabergé eggs, Pei’s collection was forged from lost treasures found in the forgotten armoire of medieval royalty. Impossible textures of hammered gold, pleated fabrics laced with rich embroidery, and under-structures ripped from the sides of Chartres cathedral culminated in a collection that defined everything that is haute couture. Borderline costume? Damn skippy and may I have another please!?!
If haute couture has any future, that future rests on dreamers like Guo Pei. Bravo!


Haute Couture: Fall 2016

Is it me or is Haute Couture week getting shorter and shorter every season? Yet, I feel they are constantly adding more and more shows.  I dunno..

This, as with the last SEVERAL seasons, has been a bit of a sleeper as far as the WOW factor is concerned. It’s like couture designers just don’t care about making a statement any more. I get that they have to pay the bills with wearable pieces, but at one point, the clientele is going to catch on to the fact that they are showing thirty-thousand dollar jackets that look just like the eight hundred dollar jackets selling in the stores.

There is no life to the collections any more. Even heavy-hitters that used to stun and shock have slipped into repetitive navel-gazing. There used to be an excitement to the couture collections. There used to be a buzz about the clothes. Now-a-days, the press is all about kissing designer ass and who was spotted in the front row. It’s a shame.

Maybe I’m just too hard to please, but for better or worse, here is my take on the Fall 2016 Haute Couture collections.  I’m not doing a turkey list this time because the season was more middle of the road than deep end; however, I have mixed in a few one-liners for your enjoyment.

All pictures are from
They have the BEST coverage of all the collections, check them out!


Schiaparelli, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

Billed as an homage to Sciap’s original circus collection, it honestly felt like more of a pastiche. There were the obvious nods to the famous embroideries and motifs, and of course, the beading and embroidery were impeccable, but I can’t help but feel that Guyon (the current head designer) is just going through the motions and is afraid to strike out on his own with the collection. Hopefully he’ll stop rummaging through the archives soon and get down to giving this house its well-deserved update.

On Aura Tout Vu


When you want to look cute, but also value your personal space.

Like a good sauce, it’s best to let it reduce to bring out its finest flavor. This season, the Vu team did just that. They stuck to their usual, nonsensical whimsy, but in such a low key, the collection almost seemed quiet. Of course there were the usual insane embellishments and textiles (I really want to know what that translucent gray stuff is), but overall it worked. I could do without their obsession with insect legs, but I’m glad to see them still on the calendar and being themselves.


Dior,Couture,Collection Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

Dear house of Dior, why the Hell are you dragging your feet hiring a new designer? I mean seriously, your ready to wear is more exciting, and that’s not saying much. This collection was so boring and unimaginative, I worry this will be the norm from now on. Hire someone already. It’s really not that difficult. In the meantime, stop pumping out this lifeless crap. Thank you.


Chanel Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2016 Fashion Show in Paris

“No no, I WANT the dress to make it look like I’m carrying around a spread-eagle gorilla on my back. It’ll be chic!”

MY GAWD this collection was ugly – horrible cuts, nothing fit and all of the embellishments looked like afterthoughts. I mean, Karl has had some clunkers, but I don’t remember seeing anything this bad in a long time. Save for ONE dress, this season is absolutely forgettable chez Chanel, best to avoid it.

Julien Fournie

Julien Fournié, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

OK, I’m sold. Yeah, it was a bit obvious, but this season at Fournie was great. Beautifully simple in its delivery, each look had a desirability that screamed elegance. Interesting embellishments, beautiful cuts and even though it was a little on the predictable side, each exit was a class act. Odd that I’m getting excited about a designer actually doing his job correctly, but hey, I’ll take what I can get. Bravo!

Stephane Rolland


I love it when designers do what they do well. Rolland knows how to sculpt fabric into undulating confections of wearable sculpture better than most designers on the market today. He rarely strays from his beloved black and white, and in any other hands, I would probably call a repetition penalty, but when he works his traditional magic, the delivery is anything but boring. Cool cuts, BEAUTIFUL sheer insets and refined embellishments knock this season out of the park.

J Mendel Couture

J.Mendel Couture Fall Winter 2016 Fashion Show in Paris

And I’m calling this dress the “Landing Strip.”

Pretty weak debut for someone of Mendel’s clout. The guy already designs expensive clothes, what was the point of marking them up further? If you want  an evening look in need of a Brazilian, you should definitely make an appointment for a fitting.



Well, at least they showed something. Givenchy has been off the calendar for a while now, and I kinda see why. Tisci (the current head designer) is usually a great couture designer. I normally  love what he does,  but this season was, uhh… interesting? Half the lace looked like kitchen curtains and this pleated number is dumpy at best, but overall… oh who am I kidding? It was boring and uninspired. Look, I get that he’s been in ready-to-wear mode for a while now, so I’m going to let it slide, but step it up Ricardo. You’re better than this.

Maison Margiela

Maison Margiela, Fashion Show, Couture Collection Fall Winter, Paris

Maison Margiela, Fashion Show, Couture Collection Fall Winter, Paris

Is it a dress? A blanket? An off-the-shoulder bathrobe? All of the above? Who knows, but that’s kinda the point, huh? Galliano has been at the MM helm for a few seasons now, and manages EVERY DAMN TIME to merge his sensibilities AND that of Margiela’s traditions – confusion, experiment, found-object and history. I honestly think that Galliano getting fired from Dior was the best thing that could have happened to him.  At Dior, he was bound by a legacy of restriction. At MM, the only thing that restricts him is his imagination. Odd, yes, but that’s right in step with the mood of the house.

Elie Saab

Elie Saab, Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, Saab is best when he turns to the dark side.  This collection was so deep, rich and mysterious, by the time the blush and nude colors finished the collection, you almost missed them in the darkness. The cuts were experimental for the house, if not grounded in Sabb technique, the embellishments, even though beautifully decadent, were almost architectural, and the styling was clean and classy. It was like fairy land in a black out, and frankly, I hope Saab keeps cutting down the power lines. I have no idea what that means, but whatever, the collection was great.

Gaultier Paris

Jean Paul Gaultier, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

Well, it was better than last season. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good collection, but JUST good. With a dark forest theme, Gaultier cleaned out his techniques vault and cranked out familiar shapes and embellishments with a modern edge.  There were elements from past shows, like the beautiful, pleated leaves on Chrystelle’s dress that harkened back to the late 80’s/early 90’s, and familiar shapes, like the structured suits of his French can-can collection and the wide brimmed coifs that were direct patterns from his Mongolian travelers collection. It all felt comfortable, but still lacking in forward creativity. There were a few missteps, like those bizarre flaps dangling from the fronts and backs of like 20 looks, but still, there was a richness to the pieces. He could stand to step away from the Grés pleating for a change, but I think this season gave me a little hope for the Gaultier future.

Viktor and Rolf

Viktor&Rolf,Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

A trip to Goodwill, that’s what I’m calling this collection. That might sound like a bit of an insult, but it really isn’t. The Dutch duo likes to over-explore one theme with their couture collections, and this season they choose weaving as their starting point. Not intricate jacquards or twills, but rather a terribly simple over/under plain weave.  Taking odds and ends off the racks, they cut up then re-weaved mismatched scraps and ribbons to give very simple clothes, VERY artistic textures. They raided the random button jar, and covered every conceivable surface in thousands of the fasteners.  Beautiful tulle layers and blown together embellishments gave this season a welcome uniqueness that their past few collection have been lacking. Overall, a great step forward.

Zuhair Murad.

Zuhair Murad, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

This guy does embroidered tulle probably better than any other designer working today. I mean, there’s sexy, and then there is Murad sexy. The goofy cowboy hats that adorned 60% of the models were missteps -honestly, they looked like an afterthought, but OMG these were some of the best looking bodices I have seen in a very long time from him, or any other designer.  I’m not sure classy and super sexy belong together, but if they do Zuhair’s got it all sewn up.



OMG PLEASE MAKE ANOTHER DRESS PATTERN ALREADY!! WHO NEEDS THIS MANY OF THAT ONE CUT OMG PLEASE?!?!! Now that that’s out of the way, this collection was rich in it its simplicity. A romp through the middle ages cum Renaissance, there were high, ruffled collars, doublet bodices and plenty of restrained elegance to pass around the medieval banquet hall. Revolutionary? Not at all, but there was such a fine, edited eye placed on this collection, I was forced to acknowledge it. The design duo that heads up Valentino does one thing VERY well, they design a collection.  Yes, they can repeat cuts ad nauseam, but they are so damn good at editing and staying true to the house’s objectives that, even though I hound them, I secretly respect them for what they are doing. SHHHHH! DON’T TELL NOBODY, Y’ALL!!! In conclusion, I hate it all and love it at the same time.

Armani Privé

Giorgio Armani Prive, Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

Giorgio Armani Prive, Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris


As usual, Armani put me to sleep, and as usual, I’ve given up caring. The same old, same old per Girogio; I honestly wonder how he stays in business cranking out clothes that look JUST LIKE his ready to wear collection. Oh well, I’m going back to sleep. G’nite.

Alexandre Vauthier

Alexandre Vauthier, Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

Normally I ignore this house. I mean, it’s got its moments, but over all, it’s just sexy, rock-chick clothes; however, this season saw a slight bit of refinement, and that was worth noticing. Yeah, there were the usual “up to there” splits and sex-kitten cuts, but maybe, juuuust maybe, Vauthier is cleaning up his act. I don’t need him to clean it all up, I mean, sex pays the bills, but little numbers like this go a LONG way to showing customers that naughty can be refined.

Adeline André

Adeline André Fashion Show, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

In the year 3562, this is what doctors will wear into surgery.

Let’s face it; André has been doing the same thing for decades now. And by “doing the same thing,” I literally mean DOING THE SAME THING. You could pull a look from her first season and mix it within the lineup from the current season, and you would have NO idea that it was from the archives.  She refuses to stray from her path, and that is her strongest attribute. It is platonic and clean to the point you wonder how she’s stayed in business for so long? Yup, but within that, you have to admit that her body of work looks nothing like anything else on the couture runways, and for that stick-with-it-ness, I applaud her.

Ulyana Sergeenko

Ulyana Sergeenko, Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

When you get dressed in the dark, but still have to ride your moped to work.

I mean, yeah, I don’t know why I ever expect this collection to make ANY sense, but here we are. It was bonkers, as usual, and I’m just so very tired of that. The clothes are ugly, the styling is goofy as Hell and none of it makes a lick of sense. Sequined bathrobe? Check. Bodysuit? Check. Dad’s shoes? Check. Goofy-ass garter belt with matching tights? THAT’S A BIG OL’ CHECK! This is what an unstable old lady wears to the grocery store when she runs out of her medication. Only I know the old lady didn’t have to drop the better part of 40,000 dollars to buy it.

Atelier Versace

Versace Atelier, Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

This collection is difficult for me because I’m totally on the fence with it. On one hand, I applaud Donatella’s experimentation with the draping and the cuts, on the other hand, it all felt a little too derivative of other designers’ work.  I mean, if you told me Haider Ackerman had taken over the house, I honestly would have believed it. There were some beautiful pieces, like the one pictured, where the house nailed it, but others just felt rushed and unfinished. I dunno, I’m giving it to Versace for the step forward, but maybe refine and edit the collection a bit more in the future.

OK, that wraps up the season for me.

I’m going to be working on some showpieces and will update you all with progress pics as soon as I make some progress.


Haute Couture – Paris, Fall 2015. Le Finale

The good, the bad and the WTF?
Well, I’m cramming it all into this last post for the haute couture season that was Fall 2015.

What a long, strange trip it’s been!

First up, some overlooked collections that really deserve more credit that the mainstream press is willing to give them. That’s a shame because they really do hold their own.

Frank Sorbier

No one, and I mean, NO ONE spins poetry like Sorbier. His collections aren’t grand like the couture powerhouses, but there is still a decided richness that exudes from every stitch Sorbier sews.  The guy knows how to create magic and this season, we were transported to a wintery wonderland complete with stark white forest and ballet dancing fairies. Each exit was a delight in various values of white and cream. As the models mugged for the camera, grand arabesques exaggerated the brilliant textiles and cuts Sorbier is known for. This is the purest example of couture you’ll find. Sorbier is a genius as weaving a narrative with cloth and this season was no exception.

Georges Chakra

Ah, the 50’s. I remember them fondly… from old movies on TCM.
This season, Chakra took us to a cocktail party flooded with radiant divas tripping the light fantastic, in glorious party dresses, drowned in rich detail.  The only real criticism I have of this show was that there could have been some tighter editing. It felt a little top heavy as he tried every couture technique on the planet; I’m not opposed to technique, but sometimes there are too many options. Still, the collection is beautiful and offers a ton of choices for any would-be client.  As I looked at the pictures, I found myself saying, “Oh wow, that’s beautiful,” more than any other collection this season., so there must be a method to his madness.

Rami Kadi

OMG THIS COLLECTION WAS SO COOL! OK, so I have a thing for insects on dresses. It kinda started with the roach dress Ricki Lake wears in Hairspray.
Don’t judge me.
Kadi took the idea of the creepy crawlers and turned them into the stuff of legend. Using embroidered insect motifs, Kadi worked in light reactive fibers, so when the surrounding lights are dimmed, the magic of glow-in-the-dark thread illuminates the bugs in a phosphorescent green haze. Against the black backgrounds of the gowns, this house shows us the possible future of couture. I don’t usually like gimmicks in design, but I’m giving this collection a pass because I can’t see that anyone else has ever done this on this level.  Apart from the light tricks, the cuts of the looks were fantastic. Even in the light of day, this tightly edited collection holds its own against more established lines.  I can’t wait to se what next season holds for Kadi.

OK, now for some honorable mentions:

Julien Fournie

Julien Fournié Couture Fall Winter 2015 Fashion Show in Paris

This collection was dark and moody. Perfect for fall, but overall, it felt a bit run of the mill. Sill, there were some beautiful looks to be had.



Serviceable and OMG so much black! I think Taroni must have had a sale on black silk because I have NEVER seen a season so rife with darkness.
For being shown as the hallmark to the new flagship store in Rome, this collection sure was lackluster. It felt like they were going through the motions, rather than pulling out all the stops and showing what the Valention atelier can do.

Fendi Couture


I honestly don’t see the point of this collection. It’s not like Fendi doesn’t already make forty to fifty thousand dollar coats. Did they really need to double the price for a few customers? Anyway, always experimental, there were some beautiful techniques in this collection, but overall, it just seemed flat and lackluster, and for coats that can top the charts at the cost of a four bedroom house, you wonder what all the fuss was about.

Zurhair Murad and Elie Saab

It’s gotten to the point where I can’t tell these two collections apart.
Seriously, if these looks had been shown in one collection, you’d be just as confused.
Admittedly, Sabb has been doing the “color group” presentations longer, AND both collections were beautiful, but damn, it almost seems like a waste of time to review the both of them separately, so I’m not going to until the they remember they are individuals.

And now, all the steaming hot messes NO haute couture season would be without:

Alexandre Vauthier

Alexandre Vauthier Couture Fall Winter 2015 Fashion Show in Paris

Sure, the fringing technique is a neat idea, but the “Late 70’s hooker on payday” look has got be a hard sell.  I mean, damn, for the price, do you think this frock comes with a street corner and a limo partition?

Charlie Le Mindu

Charlie Le Mindu Couture Fall Winter 2015 Collection in Paris

Remember that week you skipped the bikini wax? CHARLI SURE THE HELL DOES!!! Damn girl, I see in the last election that you voted for Bush! And just what every woman needs, MORE BOOBIES!! Only these can be removed for easier washing.

Christian Dior

Dior Fashion Show, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2015 in Paris

Dear God, how long is the model’s neck? She might actually be part giraffe!
This collection was so ugly I can’t understand how it got produced. It’s like the top brass at LVMH refuses to be corrected and replace him. So, they let Simons loose in the atelier to spite the detractors.
Raf is like the little kid who can’t draw, but begs his mommy to put his artistic monstrosities on the fridge. Mommy knows it’s crap, but does it anyway, then gives him a cookie.

Stephane Rolland

Stephane Rolland Fashion Show, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2015 in Paris

Wow, what happened this season chez Rolland? The collection, presented on one podium, was terribly underwhelming. Included in the mix was this little number reminiscent of the Flying Nun’s habit coming in for a landing.
I’m all for experiment, but that collar looks like frozen paper towels.

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier Fashion Show, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2015 in Paris

I honestly have no idea what Gaultier was thinking with this look. Flattened roadkill? Rorschach test? Bear relaxing in a tide pool after a long day of gathering shells? Your guess is as good as mine. I can’t imagine how much this thing weights or where you’d wear this to. Hell, if nothing else, that skirt shape would work well as an entry room throw rug.

Ilja Couture.

Ilja Couture Fall Winter 2015 Fashion Show in Paris

“I’ll take the shapeless, poo-brown coat with blue velvet sleeves and the bizarre chiffon top that vomits cascading ruffles from my gut, please.”  – SAID NO ONE EVER!!

Yanina Couture

Yanina Couture Fall Winter 2015 Fashion Show in Paris

This collection wasn’t that bad, but HELLOOOOO TITTY!
You think if she jiggles, the two birds will look like they are fighting each other?

Ulyana Sergeenko

Ulyana Sergeenko Fashion Show, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2015 in Paris

This is what happens when you let a blind clown design a dress for your collection.

OK kiddos, I’ll be back soon with updates, class schedules
and a whole lot of nonsense!!

Haute Couture: Spring 2015

The State of the Union: A Dress

Another Haute Couture week is done and dusted and all I can say is, DAMN! That was boring! I gave up counting the pastel gowns after 100.

There are always a few happy moments here and there, but this season was the quietest in a while. I’ve noticed the decline of the “exuberant” designer in the past few seasons and I think it all finally came to a head for spring 2015.

The big trend (if you can say that couture has trends) was black and white. Yup, that good, old fashioned staple of EVERYONE’S wardrobe – boring black and obvious white. Don’t get me wrong, when done correctly, it can sing and elevate the simplest garment to the stratosphere, but honestly, what haute couture client needs ANOTHER black suit?


Let’s face it, the haute couture salad days are more than likely gone; Hell, even Galliano’s debut at Margiella couldn’t save the sinking ship that is the state of creativity in Paris. I used to look at the couture shows for inspiration and joie de vivre, but now I just see a handful of designers going through the motions, trying to tread water. We are in desperate need of a belly-flop splash in this milieu.

Haute couture has never been about making money. It is, in and of itself, a money loser. In my tenure on this Earth, I can only think of a few designers who operated in the black with haute couture. It’s expensive to produce and sucks a ton of resources. Making these show pieces has always been about realizing the designer’s most intimate, fashion dream.  There have always been suits and “simpler” pieces in the collections, but when designers of the past did them, there was a life to the clothes – those garments had soul. Designers today just seem to be interested in catching a Hollywood starlet’s eye so they can lend her a dress on the red carpet.  Admirable enough for a photo-op, but at what point do you take a look at the house you’ve made and really understand its worth and meaning?


My opinion, as always, doesn’t matter, but I hope a few designers take some notes on the season and start to remember what fun couture can be.

This season was too mediocre to recap it all, so I’m just going to focus on the looks and houses that made me take a second look, for better or worse.

On Aura Tout Vu
You gotta hand it to these guys; when they do funky, they do it with such aplomb and personality, you’re often left wondering what you just saw and whether or not it was just all just a dream. They definitely play by their own rules; and frankly, I applaud them for that. Do all of the looks work? Well, no, but in a season of complacent monotony, a jolt of fun is very much a relief.

Frank Sorbier
I find that there a few designers that truly understand their craft and really hone in on what it means to be an haute couture designer. Frank Sorbier tops that list. He is consistently solid in his delivery and knows what his customer wants without becoming obvious and repetitive. I could have dealt without the smoke machine effects, but this collection was so pulled together and well-edited, I had to pay attention to it. He’s like Marc Chagall and a starry-eyed poet all rolled into one, and I hope he never changes.

Yiqing Yin Couture
THIS! THIS is what simplicity should look like on an haute couture runway, dammit!! Clean lines mixed with complicated stitching and drapes made for a smooth collection that was rich with restrained beauty. The color palette was somber, but that is often necessary when dealing with complicated workmanship; and the details were just enough to make the pieces interesting without going over-the-top. Dear rest of Paris, TAKE SOME FREAKING NOTES FROM THIS COLLECTION!!!

Ugh. Valentino… oh boy. Look, the collection was beautiful. The embroideries and details, superb. The color story, logical and well studied. The cuts… well, therein lies the issue. I don’t really understand how many times they feel the need to cut that dress shape, but honestly, the atelier has to be sick of it at this point. I remember Valentino as an almost experimental design house, when the man himself was making the clothes – there were constant innovations and boundaries being pushed. The current team seems to rest on a few laurels and refuses to move forward with the body. The writing and the storybook feel of the clothes saved them from my wrath, but in the future, please, MOVE THE FRACK ON!

Jean Paul Gaultier
You know, for a man who gave up designing ready to wear, he has a hard time letting it go. This collection seemed to be a lateral move for him. There was nothing new, nothing different and certainly nothing that even came close to feeling like haute couture. It was probably the most boring-looking collection of the season, and this saddens me beyond belief. I think I have given up hope on his couture house. I used to look at Gaultier as the one destination for consistent innovation and smiles, but now, this sad little couture house has just quietly sunk into the shadows of what imagination could have been.

Jantaminiau Couture
Admittedly, I have a soft spot in my heart for comic books, but seriously, how fun and goofy was this collection? It was like Lois Lane and a Lichtenstein painting had a wardrobe together. The colors were bright and outstanding without being garish, the styling was a bit over-the-top, but still just this side of wearable and the clothes were all completely joyous in their delivery. Sift through the gimmicks and there were a Hell of a lot of completely beautiful looks that would stop hearts in any crowded room. Beautifully playful and tons of ideas – EXACTLY what haute couture needs!

Christian Dior
WTF? Seriously Raf, what cosmic mushrooms did you ingest to crank out this horribly ridiculous pile of steaming nonsense? I’ll admit, it was a step outside of the norm from what you usually do, but scale it back a pinch, next time. For taking a risk and gamble with pushing the envelope, I’ll give you a hat tip, but duuuuuude, this shit just ugly. I get the Ziggy Stardust idea, I really do, and some of the metal ring inserts were cool in principal, but let’s not go down this road again until you learn to rein in the unicorns, okay?

Serkan Cura Couture
I know what you’re thinking and frankly, yeah, this stuff is tripping on goofballs. The house of Serkan Cura isn’t known for being the shy wallflower in the bunch, but what I like to look at with this house is the reckless abandon with which they work. Does it make sense? Hell no,  but this is the second season I have been enamored with their work. For someone who is pretty good at reading clothes, I am at a loss for words as to why I constantly look forward to this house’s presentation. Maybe it’s a line gesture or a model’s attitude, but like a crash on a NASCAR tack, I just can’t stop staring at it. I might need help. Whether is it good or bad, I’ll leave up to you. I have no qualms with calling them the Hypnotoad of couture. OBEY!!!!

Armani Privé
Sorry, just woke up from my Privé power nap.
Pretty fabrics, yeah, clean lines, sure, sober color… BLAH BLAH BLAH!!! OMG this collection was so complacent and slow to develop, you could watch actual bamboo growing on the runway! Giorgio, sweetie, you do the establishment better than anyone in Milan. We get it. It’s always perfect and cool, but COME ON! this is just an extension of the ready to wear collection, and you know it! Honestly, the only thing that separates this line from the signature line is the price point. Where is the exuberance of the Jewel collection? Where is the sleek modernity of the Reptile collection? Please bring that Giorgio back. I miss him. Having said all that, this collection was utterly beautiful in its workmanship and textiles. I just wish it had a bit more ‘umph.’

Maison Martin Margiela Couture
Well, Galliano is back and just as adept at sequencing the genome of a fashion house as ever. It truly amazes me how brilliant he can be at doing just that – understanding a label and then filtering it through his aesthetic. He did it first at Givenchy, then at Dior. I don’t care for whom he designs, as long as he keeps doing it. This collection was an exercise in found objects and “make do” mentality. The cuts were innovative, yet approachable, and the overall mood had an air of freshness, even in the face of walking artifacts. I honestly don’t know how he does it. A marvelous first outing… Hell, that was a marvelous outing. PERIOD.

Stéphane Rolland
Yup, saved the best for last. This collection was perfection from beginning to end. Beautifully draped, exquisitely rendered dreams in silk and wool paraded down the runway with such grace and elegance, I had no choice but to declare him the season’s winner. I could have stood a bit more color, but you know what, I’ll take what I can get. Bravo!!

OK kids, I’ll have my list of the season’s turkeys up by tomorrow.