Fall 2010 Couture: Top 10 Dresses

Let it be said, from the get go, that there is no Dior on this list because Dior KICKED IT OUT OF THE PARK this time around.

Everyone else? Kind of ehh, bleh, and really, this is couture? But Dior? Man, oh man. Dior did what couture is meant to do and you should look forward to a post extolling their awesomeness soon.

So yeah, all the other couture showings for fall were, to my mind, a bit of a let down. That is not to say that there were not beautiful, creative looks–because there were–but overall it all seemed rather ready-to-wear and not at all elevated enough for the distinction of haute couture.

These dresses are just run down in alphabetical order by designer. My absolute fave, I think, is Jarrar’s.

I was unimpressed by Alexis Mabille. I loved the trompe l’oeil booby bows, but not the crazy sleeves. I love the pants. Otherwise: meh.

But I do like this dress. Then again, maybe that's just because it reminds me a bit McQueen's last collection. Pretty, and interesting, just the same. I love the falling petals.

I mostly really like, actually, what Armani Prive put out this time. I think that it was a nice follow up to the Spring 2010 showing. That said, very little blew me away.

This was one that did. The color is lovely, if oft used, but the color blocking and silhouette are crazy, creative, and I'm not even sure what's going on here but I love it.

As you can see the silhouettes and styling are very upper crust 1970s. This, I dig.

I also dig this dress. I'm not sure how one sits in it. But this is couture. It all art and no craft, all fashion and no function. And I think the model looks amazing.

Bouchra Jarrar actually brought out a pretty stellar collection of art deco-reminiscent jackets, dresses, and coats.

But this little number was the standout to me. I love, love, love this dress. I want.

Chanel was so-so for me. I don’t know what it is, but Karl is just kind of bugging me lately. I hate the unflattering length on most of these dresses. It’s a cut that does no one any favors. Even the models come off stubby. Also, these sleeves, showing up everywhere in the collection, are awful: similarly unflattering and awkward. I know it’s Chanel and I know he’s La Lagerfeld, but, just, no.

That said, this dress highlights the best of the collection, for me. The ornate embroidery, the opulent colors, the BOOTS! and the interest of silhouette underline what should be done.

Christian Dior: Again, this was a spectacular show. It’ll be getting it’s own post soon.

Elie Saab showed well, with a long line up of lovely, well-crafted, if unimaginative fancy frocks.

I love everything about this dress: the color, the shape, the length. It hangs sweetly and with spunk, the detailing is dynamic, and, again, the color is grand.

That being said, his looks really were beautiful. I had a hard time picking my favorite.

Givenchy offered a tight collection of only ten looks. While the first few are oddly crotchtastic, the mood is elegant and gothic, the detailing divine, and the tone consistent.

This one was my favorite. Though really I recommend looking through them all. The gold ones were also quite breathtaking.

Jean Paul Gaultier was very true to himself, I felt. Playing up the drama and dramatizing the playful, though there wasn’t much here we hadn’t seen before. The palette was dark, the good old fall back for fall.

This I love. Is it leather or sheer plastic? Lovely, sexy dangerous, and just a touch of crazytown. The perfect Gaultier woman.

This one is also seriously killer. One of each, please.

For Valentino’s run, we got 60s mod in the LA hills: one part classic, one part frill. Not much here screamed couture to me. The materials often appeared stiff and I just don’t like that. I did love some of the shorter, Patty Boyd-ish dresses though.

This one was by far my favorite though, for the invisible color, the ballerina-in-a-cage construction, and the imagination of the look.

More to come soon on the couture shows, including Dior. For now though, I hope that you enjoyed my run down of the best dresses. Thank you and please come again.

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Spring 2010: Dusty Desert Dawn

Mojave Desert, photo by Kelly Daugherty

“As we crossed the Colorado-Utah border I saw God in the sky in the form of huge gold sunburning clouds above the desert that seemed to point a finger at me and say, “Pass here and go on, you’re on the road to heaven.” — from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

Valentino Spring 2010 RTW

There is something about the desert that calls to people despite the dangers. What grows in the desert is beautiful in its ferocity. The expanse and swath and heat and span recall God and legend and vision quests.

A.F. Vandevorst Spring 2010 RTW

And there is a desert-like beauty springing up in fashion right now. You can see it in the sand-like colors and in the windy, whispy fabrics.

Bruno Pieters Spring 2010 RTW

As is evident to anyone paying attention the last few seasons, flesh tone clothes are IN in a big way. The naked dress. Sheer and airy and breathy and dust-colored. These are the shades of the desert at dawn and they are permeating the Spring lines.

Anne Valerie Hash Spring 2010 RTW

While there is something ultra-feminine and soft about these diaphanous looks, while the colors are purposefully faded and pale, there is a remarkable strength to these looks. The softness is striking, wouldn’t you agree?

Alberta Ferretti Spring 2010 RTW

Maybe it’s that is takes guts to pull of an outfit that so obviously subverts what it means to cover up, that plays with the whole idea of clothing as cover. I don’t know, but I like it. Like it enough to write a little poem-y thing about these colors of the desert.

A.F. Vandevorst Spring 2010 RTW

Dusty rose and blush and gold
Sand and ash and skin and bone

The super Karlie Kloss in Alberta Ferretti Spring 2010 RTW

Ecru and honey
Me, you, and loving

A.F. Vandevorst Spring 2010 RTW

Pale hues, parched desert nudes and
Moonlight-colored mornings

These neutrals are the best conduit through which to shoot the neons and brights into your wardrobe, as can be seen in Issey Miyake Spring 2010 RTW.

Romantic chills thru lace-like sky
Tawny hills and ruffled light

I love, love, love the make-up at Julian Louie.

Frilly clouds and sun-bleached earth
A mauve and whispered torrent

Alberta Ferretti Spring 2010 RTW

The beachy colors of a desert dawn
The khaki, the cream, the peach, the fawn

Mojave Desert, photo by Kelly Daugherty

A quick rant: Everyone else keeps throwing out the word “nude” as the descriptive term for these pale peach and taupe tones. I call BS. These are only “nude” if you’re white, and a pale white at that. And while these clothes make “naked dress” for us white girls, these colors actually IMHO look FANTASTIC on darker skin tones. For real, look how gorgeous Aminata Niaria is in this Hash dress. Sometimes it’s “sand” or “dune” maybe, or “peach” or “tan” or even boring ol’ “beige,” but “nude” is a misnomer and as a writer and logophile I cannot abide this. (Also dark skinned girls need only search for browns and earth tones to replicate the whole naked dress trend, with which, don’t get me wrong, I’m totally on board.) That is all.

Am I totally crazy to crave lace pants? Valentino Spring 2010 RTW

A.F. Vandevorst: One of my favorites of this season and a definite inspiration for this post. Truly a woman-warrior-wandering-the-desert collection. Gorgeous earth-tone colors in sheer fabrics. Strong and interesting lines. And breast plates? I mean come on. Consistently good, shocking layering. Not the first designer recently to throw out pantlessness and sheer pants but one of the best. This is really making me think about how I can make pantyhose wearable and sexy. There’s just something about this collection that I adore madly, truly, deeply. I keep going back to this one. Takes/demands a second and third look. This is a line that can teach you how to put clothes together, inspire.

Anne Valerie Hash: Here Hash is putting her fine tailoring into mostly unflattering fits. I hate that. Like all these skirts and pants she’s got? They hit at that perfect unflattering, stumpifying length. But! HIGH TOP CHUCK TAYLORS!!! Hell to the YES. And the colors are good, I’m liking these colors. Obviously. B-

Alberta Ferretti: Light, airy and gorgeous. Another one of my favorites. Feminine in all the right ways. In other words: alluring, soft and forceful, graceful, lovely. These are soft, classic clothes and like Vandevorst this is a look at how to dress as much as a presentation of “ohh pretty” and “I want to go to there.” I’ll take one of each please. Recalls for me too this collection, which is good as that was a memorable one.

Bruno Pieters: Clean but far from simple, these naked dresses take tailoring to the forefront. No one’ll even notice your nipples are showing. I didn’t pull them for this post but you’ll find lots of gorgeously accomplished, stark white and black in this collection too.

Julian Louie: While it’s slightly hit or miss for me, there’s a nice span but consistency of color choices in a mostly classic collection. The cuts and lines are interesting and wearable, and the geometric touches contrast nicely with the draping.

Valentino: A gorgeous collection of mostly party (read: shorter length) and frilly dresses. I think Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli are doing a great job running the historic house. This collection is covetable from start to finish… and not a red dress in sight. Instead we get lots of these desert tones and dove greys. And the shoes in this collection are out of this world amazing. I already threw them in the post I did in tribute to J.D. Salinger’s Esme, you can see them in the third look.

All fashion images from style.com.

Kelly Daugherty is an incredibly talented San Francisco photographer. You can find over 600 beautiful photographs on her website, many of them portraits, meaning landscape isn’t even her specialty, meaning these are even more impressive. You can also purchase prints from her etsy.com page here.

Mojave Desert, photo by Kelly Daugherty

6. Victory for Valentino

Click here for the complete collection on Style.com.

Okay, it’s a smidge Balmain, and a little bit Rodarte, and I think I whiff a bit of Lanvin, but I’m really happy with where Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli are taking the house after the controversy and confusion that the house of Valentino has suffered over the last several seasons. There were some pieces too that didn’t seem to quite fit with the rest of the collection but this is a minor complaint. Or rather the off pieces didn’t disrupt what is otherwise WOW.

I love how the nude works with that shot of yellow and moody blue eyes.

They called the whole thing “the Garden of Eden in the cyberworld” and I dig that about this. But to me it seems very “runaway boho princess on a vision quest in the desert.”

How cool is the color blocking here? How ohh-las-laa are these colors together?

The color palette is unquestionably good and while it calls forth other houses as much as Valentino (so little red!), there’s still innovation to be found in the recycling. In fact, the more I look at this, the more I like.

Like this, for example? Swoon.

Yes, we’ve got draping, nudes, and color blocking. All of which have been done many times over as of late, but the it all feels fresh and inventive here.

Especially the color-blocking.

You can see the Garden of Eden in these hints and peeks at nudes and nudity, and there is an air of a future world, but to me--I'm tellin'ya--it's runaway princess on a vision quest in the desert all the way. She maybe took up with bandits. Or dances for buskers and gypsies.

We’ve also seen designers really play with pants (and pantslessness) lately but these new models seems truly original, flattering, and cool.

Um, yeah. I know. Wicked.

Moreover, the line itself managed to be cohesive without being the least bit repetitive. Each piece is unique and stands alone, but taken together all of the pieces unify in one tone, one mood.

And can we talk about the styling for a sec? Because I need to do this to my eyes. And the body paint is so otherworldly. Maybe the princess is from another planet? Like Superman or the Little Prince. In any case, I want. This is a night-time look though. Obvs.

Again, Maria, Pier Paolo, Grazi.

Yes, please.

All images taken from Style.com.