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Runway Report

Fashion News
Caught up in Couture: From left, Chanel, Valentino and Armani Privé.

With fashion’s breakneck cycle from season to pre-season to season again, it’s nothing short of miracle that designers can keep apace. But there are two shows every year that stop us in our tracks to take in the full expression of the fashion house, and that’s Spring and Fall couture.

Last week in Paris, 11 houses—vetted by the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture—put on their Fall Couture shows to dramatic effect. There were a few newcomers this year, including Azzedine Alaia, who put on his first runway show in 8 years, and Giambattista Valli, who put on his first couture show for the house.

Here we take a look at three of the longstanding couture houses—Chanel, Armani Prive and Valentino.

Chanel
Karl Lagerfeld called the collection Les Allures de Chanel, and in effect depicted some of Coco Chanel’s favorite looks and influences. The tweed suits, first made famous in the 1920s, were in heavy rotation. Beaded and plumed, the classic tweed suite shape-shifted its form to give way to lampshade flares. The collection was dominated by shades of black, gray, and midnight blue and moved elegantly through its 69 looks from suiting to gowns.

Chanel’s front row included some of its fixtures, like Mario Testino, Diane Kruger and Peter Marino, as well as some newcomers like Elle Fanning.

Valentino
Valentino presented a fairytale collection of ethereal dresses that practically floated off the runway. A dewy procession of models showed off the craftsmanship of the Italian house with its still young designers, Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, at its helm. The palatial setting at the Rothschild Hotel Particulier lent itself well to the fairytale.

The front row included Delfina Delettrez Fendi, Margherita Missoni, Carine Roitfeld and Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Shala Monroque, Anna Dello Russo and Anne Hathaway, who may have been perusing the looks for some upcoming red carpet appearances.

Armani Privé
Giorgio Armani has been looking East for inspiration of late. His Resort collection called on Chinese influences, while this Fall’s Couture collection is all about Japan. His company has been a major donor to the country’s disaster relief efforts, but this collection depicts an affinity that spans beyond charitable efforts.

Obi belts, parasols, cherry blossoms and origami folds were all present in his collection of suits, dresses and bolero jackets. Philip Treacy designed the origami-like head pieces in brilliant shades of yellow, pink and orange.

Armani regulars like Cate Blanchett and Katie Holmes held court on the front row.

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