The Holy Grail of Fashion Houses - Paris Fashion Week, Part Trois

Here it is, the last installment of my fashion month coverage. What would a grand finale be without Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Lanvin?

Mar 9, 2012 at 6:17pm | Leave a comment

Here it is, the last installment of my fashion month coverage. What would a grand finale be without Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Lanvin? I threw Miu Miu in the mix for shits and giggles (ok, I admit: I have a soft spot fot Miuccia Prada's cutesy counterpart). As much as I love fashion and witnessing the birth of new trends, designer's visions, the excitement of shows and all that comes along with them, I am glad it's over. Seriously guys, it's exhausting. But don't get me wrong it's kind of what we live for, isn't it? Now without further ado...

I can’t even remember a time when Chanel face-planted. Even that weird denim Americana collection was kind of awesome. There’s nothing Karl can’t do and he knows it, everyone knows it. He takes us on trips, he titillates our senses, he constantly reinvents the iconic Chanel look and he does it so masterfully every season and between-seasons that we can only EXPECT nothing less than amazing at a Chanel show. Perhaps it’s because Lagerfeld hates to look to the past and based not only his entirely library of work, but also his actual life, on what can be summed up as “never backwards, always forward.” 

The Chanel shows are more specifically Mega Productions – capital letters, yes. For fall 2012, he was inspired by nature and minerals (giant reproductions of them were sticking out from the runway and he likened them to a city of skyscrapers). There was something we hadn’t seen at Chanel in quite some time: color. Like, crayola-type colors, certainly a nod those precious jewel stones. He introduced new, interesting proportions that worked incredibly well, and though some looks were stronger than others (that inevitably happens when a show has 67 exits), I can already picture Diane Kruger and Vanessa Paradis in a bunch of these numbers.

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It’s no secret that Alber Elbaz LOVES women. In fact, he has probably made Lanvin one of the labels that women from all ages gravitate toward – it’s elegant, effortless, comfortable, good for all occasions and extremely feminine. While the collections always feel like a celebration of women, the fall 2012 show was a giant party celebrating Alber’s 10 years as creative director – and boy, does he deserve it. Most of his collections at the house were standouts. For fall 2012, the colors were spectacular, it bedazzled and bejewelled, it was fun, it was refined, the silhouettes hugged every curve. As model Lily Donaldson said backstage, “[his clothes are] very much about the women who are wearing them.” Touché.

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Okay, so the rumour mill is back on about Marc Jacobs heading to Dior, who has yet to name a successor to John Galliano (in case you’re living under a rock, he was canned after being caught making anti-Semitic remarks on tape at a so-trendy-it-hurts Parisian bar last year). Marc has made Louis Vuitton so intrinsically his that it’s hard to remotely fathom the idea that he would leave the iconic French house to go lead another. Although it would be kind of exciting, wouldn't it?!

Vuitton’s birthright is Malletier, which basically means that luggage was (and still is) their expertise. Marc Jacobs made the label a well-rounded ready-to-wear brand, but the strength of the house still remains their bags and trunks – clearly Jacobs is well-aware: they had their own bell-hops on the runway. So smart to give the accessories a starring role in this affair, being as popular as they are with their legions of consumers. For fall 2012, Jacobs was taking us on a trip, literally, as an actual train dropped of heaps of models in travels clothes. Well, the most luxurious of travel clothes, of course, complete with beautiful hats courtesy of Stephen Jones. It felt like a glimpse into the past, inside an era when the very wealthy migrated in style – so extravagant, yet so tasteful. The whole thing was quite spectacular, and if he does end up leaving Vuitton for Dior, what a grand exit this was.

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The fate of the Christian Dior house is still up in the air, as mentioned above, and while the interim designer, Bill Gaytten, is doing a good job holding down the fort until they lock someone down, it is lacking a little direction. The dresses were pretty, feminine and had a dreamy lightness to them, but there didn’t seem to be a particular point of view, which is exactly what we’ve been missing since Galliano not-so-dearly departed. I suppose it doesn’t help that mister Galliano probably has one of the strongest, unmistakably unapologetic visions of his generation, so I can imagine just how difficult it must be to follow his act. While the fall 2012 collection will undoubtedly sell well – as I said, it was very pretty, and very wearable – Dior needs a leader, like, yesterday.  

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Anyone who knows anything about Miu Miu conjures up thoughts of girliness, youthful and playful femininity when thinking of Prada’s little sister label. However, Miuccia threw us a curveball this season! Youthful and playful it was, but while we’re used to seeing collections consisting only of skirts and dresses, she seemed to be screaming “Jackets! Trousers! Suits! Ties! Menswear! More pants!” at the top of her lungs. Well, message well received, Miu Miu.

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That's it, guys... until next season! What did you guys think of this season - strong? Weak? Undecided? I want to know!

Want to read more about the fall 2012 collections?

Click here to read about London

Click here to read about Milan part 1

Click here to read about Milan part 2

Click here to read about Paris part 1

Click here to read about Paris part 2

All images via Style.com