Haute Couture AW16

Relax. My bi-annual review of the Haute Couture shows is here.
It was a mixed bag. (see collage)

I’ll go as far as saying none of the collections were entirely terrible. Avant Garde to unintentionally comical (Maison Marigela) sure, predictably prom (Elie Saab) yes. But there was nothing overwhelmingly awful. Actually Guo Pei was hysterically awful.

Like I (and all fashion writers) always say – three makes a trend.  In the case of the ‘naked dress’ I think it’s safe to say it’s more of an epidemic. As usual we were beaten over the head with that tiresome look thanks to . . . almost everyone. In particular the lace and sequin encrusted numbers by Alexandre Vauthier, Zuhair Murad, and the bizarre "mother daughter" display from Elie Saab.

pomo-lizzy-anne.jpg

Giambattista Valli –  At long last a slight diversion from his stereotypical floral mini skirts. This time it was less mod and more modest – with high collars opaque tights and full sleeves. Somewhere between the opulent Romanovs and Victorian romance, GBV gave me hope. Even though he ended the show with his predictable froth of tulle. Siiigh.

J. Mendel - killed it . . . literally. There was a crap-ton of fur.  Having said that it was easily one of my favorite collections. 

Schiaparelli  - breathtaking, and not in a Jerry Seinfeld sort of way.  Elizabeth I ‘s court jester goes to Studio 54 by way of the Big Top.  There was a LOT going on – but done in a miraculously cohesive way. This is the only show I watched multiple times.

Maison Margiela – Possibly the only collection that didn’t deliberately reference an historical theme. Instead, like a seagull caught in a beer ring Galliano’s latest effort was tightly tangled in a fishing narrative. Like a mess of flotsam hauled up from the ocean floor, there were nets, plastic and semi-digested feathers adorning everything from slickers to bonnets.  I didn’t hate it.

Viktor & Rolf - One word; Hobo. The good kind. It was a rags to literal riches story. Think Hollywood’s Artful Dodger - complete with jaunty bedraggled top hat and pockets full of buttons and jewels. But with way more ruffles.

Valentino - Big news Maria Grazia Churi is leaving Pier Paolo Piccoli and Maison Valentino for Dior.  Here’s hoping the rock-stud shoes go with her. This will be their last Haute Couture show as co-creative directors.  The show was a blatant, albeit gorgeous nod to the fashion stylings of Elizabethan England.  The only thing missing was a chopping block and Anne of Cleaves (yes I know she wasn’t beheaded but I need a segue). 

And speaking of Cleaves . . . here are the trends as I see them.

Cleavage cut outs:
Several designers not so subtly pointed directly to the chesticles by way of triangular cut outs.

Elizabethan:
bloomers, ermine, full sleeves, corsets, tufting, tapestry the list goes on.

Victorian:
encompassing the full spectrum of the era from early vic with enormous full skirts, collapsed shoulders, and elongated bodices to the latter Vic of lace, high collars and puff sleeves.

Medieval:  
fur, Dalmatian sleeves, buttons, chainmaille(ish) 

Ruffs: 
Who needs a bib when you’ve got a ruff? As chic as they looked on the catwalk I couldn’t help drawing parallels between ruffs and these.

Puff Sleeves: 
Anne Shirley would’ve gone berserk for AW16 Haute Couture. Puff sleeves abound and in degrees from subdued to buoyant.

Pomo:
When the 70’s just won’t do. pastels to neon, power suits and un underlying vague element of sleaziness. The decade of excess ornament prevailed. Again.

Underpants:
It’s been 3 years. We get it. 

Cold Shoulders: 
After exposing pretty much everything, designers are hanging on for dear life to the exposed shoulder. And frankly, I can’t get enough. This season it was less about the cut-away and more about a subtle to dramatic slouch.

Collar Bones:  
Sweet-heart, scoop and square - wide necklines put those ever-so titillating clavicles on display.

Swashes of Taffeta:
it’s happening. see Pomo.

A collection of my top pics. If you agree with 50% of them you have superb taste. 

Swoon

The single worst thing to hit the catwalk since Rick Owens 'human backpack' fiasco. 

Gag

If some is good more is god awful - Guo Pei Haute Couture AW16