Paris Fashion Week Review: Spring 2014 Haute Couture Shows

Paris Fashion Week Review: Spring 2014 Haute Couture Shows
There’s nothing like a burst of Paris Haute Couture to drum up pep during dreary winter months. And the Spring 2014 Haute Couture fashion shows did just that. Among the fabulous, were the houses of Versace, Dior, Mabille, Chanel, Vionnet, Armani Privé, Valentino and Viktor & Rolf. Haute couture shows are the Halloween of the fashion world: full of wholly ridiculous (and amazingly gorgeous) dresses fit for a wild party. It’s the more “fun” aspect of shows, versus the exciting, yet practical, RTW (ready-to-wear) shows. Viktor & Rolf won the award for most unique model choice: ballerinas. Supermodels were replaced with dancers as the design team cast dancers from the Dutch National Ballet for their show. True to ballet form, light pinks, bows and leotards all graced the runway. Versace was all about the hooded dresses, in the manner of Grace Jones or Little Glam Riding Hood. There were power suits, deep purples, sequins and plunging v-necks. At Valentino, the theme was opera. On one model’s tulle dress, Verdi’s La Traviata was embroidered onto the white tulle skirt of the dress. Katy Perry donned the same gown at the Grammys on Sunday night. Mabille impressed with white and creme-colored goddess gowns and paper butterflies attached to the heads of the models, while Vionnet showed billowy dresses, more fit for the beach than the runway. The incomparable Chanel did everything right: innovative, crowd-pleasing and inspiring. The most unique thing about the show had nothing to do with the clothes – it was the models’ hair: tufts of hair poking around the head like the fur of a lion cub. Think Simba’s fur meets Queen Elizabeth’s crown. Looking fierce and fabulous, Lily Allen, rebel Brit pop star and mother of two, posed backstage at the Chanel show with Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld. Allen showed off an up-do hairstyle with a wide and chunky headband, blunt bangs, tear drop earrings, cat eye makeup and a colorful blazer. Karl sported his trademark look of sunglasses and nonchalance, a common combination among the fashion elite. Fashion critic and author of Bringing Home the Birkin, Michael Tonello, said of the shows: “Once again Paris has firmly cemented itself as the seat of fashion. The couture shows (which drive the fragrance and accessory ends of the business) are magical and often give a glimpse of a forthcoming trend, whereas the RTW shows are just that – ready to wear – as in what we’ll be wearing now… This spring, for women, we’ll be seeing lots of computer generated prints and bright colors. Accessories are big! I think Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garcons) may have suggested that men will be wearing wide legged trousers in the not too distance future (yay!). A major break in trend from the skinny leg that Hedi Slimane ushered in at Dior years ago.” With spring feeling like a million miles away at this time of year, once again, the world of fashion reminds us to lighten up, have fun and look to the big, bright, colorful future that lies ahead. photos from the Viktor & Rolf collection courtesy of Karla Otto Paris

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Anne McCarthy is a contributing writer to BBC News, Teen Vogue, The Telegraph, Dance Magazine, and more. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Westminster and is the Editor in Chief of Fat Tire Tours’ travel blog. She lives in New York City.