Couture’s Big Guns

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Published July 7, 2010

ARMANI PRIVE, GIVENCHY

 

Giorgio Armani called his Privé couture show for fall “Giochi d’Ambra,” which means “a play on Amber.” It might’ve been about the color, or a joke about the bimbo-ish American name. Led by Carmen Kass, his line-up of blonde beauties looked as though they had been dipped in honey. In three-piece, one-color ensembles, they all seemed to take the form of a curve: long, bias-panned flared skirts, soft hourglass jackets with shawl collars, and cardigan-soft swing coats. Many of these tailored pieces, and some dresses, had volumes swept dramatically to the side held in check with oversized amber and wooden buttons. The overall effect had a vaguely 70s Stepford Wives vibe. For evening, Armani poured on the amber sequins and Swarovksi crystals for A-line bustier columns and mermaid dresses.

Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci fixated on one colorway and design focus: white for fur and lace, and the skeleton in diamond crystals, for one of the most elaborate, labor intensive couture collections the house has ever presented. From spinal column porcelain belts to nude lace skeleton dresses outlined in crystals, no detail was spared. The 11-piece collection captured was a sublime death couture tableau right down to the bone zipper-pulls.

Apparently, the giant gold lion runway centerpiece for Chanel’s fall show at the Grand Palais kept a large assembly team busy for six months. 2000 guests viewed this in-the-round extravaganza, making it one of the largest couture shows in Paris. Lagerfeld took one of his Eastern Europe inspirational trips for this collection, and came up with chunky tweed cropped jackets over long, bias panel skirts that gave the girls an endearingly chubby, curvy allure, as though their lives revolved around hot chocolate at Vienna’s Central café. The inventive decorative treatments are endless in this collection: lion’s head scattered patterns for one flared glitter dress in old red, a collection of Chantilly and guipure lace doily dresses in naughty, transparent black. Finally, there were fairytale fantasies that looked like they sprung from a psychedelic Lewis Carroll  childhood tale: dresses in floral green with fat, glittery petal skirts, tone-on-tone blue glitter harlequin check dresses, a glittery latticework dress that looks like Minton porcelain. The overall impression was a kind of snow scene, protected opulence complete with Karl’s favorite Baptiste Giabiconi as a savage Prince Charming in a tux with a lion’s head at the end. LEFT: CHANEL