Fall Winter 2012 2013 Paris Haute Couture Wrap-Up
So Many Stars
If there have been more Hollywood stars in Paris for any previous haute couture season, I can’t remember when that would have been – and I’ve been attending the haute couture shows in Paris for more than ten years.
Giorgio Armani Prive, which presented a stunning line in daytime, sunset and midnight colors, attracted Shailene Woodley of “The Descendants,” Zoe Saldana of “Avatar” and her sister Cisely, Leslie Mann of “Knocked Up,” Michelle Yeoh of “The Lady,” French actress Isabelle Huppert, Belgian actress Deborah Francois, Armani faithfuls Sophia Loren and Claudia Cardinale, and Princess Tatiana of Denmark and Greece.
Atelier Versace drew Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Matthew Morrison of “Glee,” Elizabeth Banks of “The Hunger Games,” recording star M.I.A., Christina Hendricks of “Mad Men,” and Pierce Brosnan, Hollywood’s best-looking-ever James Bond. Jean Paul Gaultier had the Divine Miss Bette Midler; Chanel had former First Lady of France Bernadette Chirac, Diane Kruger, Leslie Mann, director Sofia Coppola, French actress Lou Doillon and super-author Danielle Steel, and for his bride Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld chose top model Lindsey Wixson.
Stephane Rolland, however, captured the big paparazzi prize, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in the audience; Chinese actress Fan Bing Bing, as a model. The superstar at Christian Dior, of course, wasn’t a celebrity, but new designer Raf Simons, and he got his share of attention from the press, too.
Top photo: The front row at Giorgio Armani Prive fall winter 2012 2013 Paris haute couture, from left: Leslie Mann, Dolores Chaplin, Deborah Francois, Virginie Courtin-Clarins, Isabelle Huppert, Shailene Woodley, Sophia Loren, Roberta Armani, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Yeoh and her husband Jean Todt. (photo: courtesy of Giorgio Armani Prive)
Fashion shows typically start at least a half-hour late, and more likely, three-quarters of an hour later than the time stated on the invitation. But Jean Paul Gaultier and Stephane Rolland took the tardiness title this season, by doubling the usual wait.
Not that I mind the wait. The pre-show time is an opportunity to catch up with friends and meet new people, also waiting for the show to go on.
At Chanel, Leslie Mann told me with pride about the blog her 14-year old daughter, Maude Apatow, is writing. According to her daughter’s online profile, she “is addicted to technology, even though she knows it’s destroying her.”
As the delay is often caused by a late-arriving celebrity, at Jean Paul Gaultier, Bette Midler surmised, “It must be Madonna.”
But although I recall Madonna holding up a Gaultier show some years back, word came that the problem had more to do with finishing the complicated couture clothing. (Yves Saint Laurent, no longer on the couture schedule, had the only show I ever recall starting on time.)
This time, the late start gave me a chance to talk with Midler, seated beside her daughter, Sophie, about how New York is improving, thanks to Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to plant one million trees in New York and Midler’s own New York Restoration Project.
Givenchy’s Glamour Gowns
Givenchy’s invitation opened up to a poster-size print, on one side a rose, overlaid with gold outlines of swords and serpents and splashes of gold paint. Givenchy as before presented an extravagantly embellished line in a grand 18th century “hotel particulier,” overlooking the historic Place Vendome, where champagne and French macarons in flavors such as passion fruit and mango were served.
Ten looks were shown on models strolling through the gilded salons, each featuring multiple hours of hand-crafted workmanship. (Rooney Mara’s intricately detailed 2012 Academy Awards gown came from this revered couture house.)
Second photo, this page: A gown from the Givenchy fall winter 2012 2013 Paris haute couture collection
Celebrity Designer Zuhair Murad
Speaking of the Academy Awards and celebrity fashions, Zuhair Murad designed my favorite Oscar gown this year: that supremely glamorous low-cut number that launched a debate about Jennifer Lopez’s possible “nip-slip.” Taylor Swift took home top prizes at the Grammys in one of this Lebanese designer’s gowns, and other stars showing up in his fashions in recent years have been Gwen Stefani, Rihanna, Catherine Zeta Jones, Eva Longoria, Kate Beckinsale, Kristin Bell, Selena Gomez, Fergie, Carrie Underwood, Blake Lively, Camilla Alves and Kerry Washington. Currently, Murad is designing all of JLo’s costumes for her new world tour.
Murad, too, presented his fall winter 2012/ 2013 collection during couture days, in his case at the Paris Westin.
Third photo, this page: A Zuhair Murad creation from his fall winter 2012 2013 collection (photo: courtesy of Zuhair Murad)
The Kardashian/ Kanye West Effect
Kardashian uber-popularity has obviously reached across the Atlantic, as Kim Kardashian’s appearance with Kanye West at the Stephane Rolland show not only held up the start by nearly an hour, but also caused some pre-show seat shuffling in order to leave empty places near the door, (and not far from me,) so that the duo could slip in and out easily.
Kanye West, as an aside, is no stranger to couture shows. I remember seeing the rap star turned fashion designer and his then-girlfriend Amber Rose at the Chanel spring summer 2010 show in Paris and then later at the Air France baggage claim in Los Angeles, as we all took the same flight home and chatted briefly about the show.
Hermes Garden Promenade
Hermes, famed for beach towels, Birkin bags, sleek fashions and riding accouterments, showcased its array of perfumes, by inviting guests to a fragrant promenade July 2 through a Japanese garden, the Jardin Albert Kahn in the Bologne-Billancourt section of Paris.
There, the invited VIPs found ten “Hermessences” at stations set up amid the garden’s meandering pathways – past sculptured seashells, bonsai trees, patches of fragrant flowers and streams, including one elegantly filled in with tumbled rocks instead of water. Deliciously scented ribbons were passed out at each stop.
Fourth photo, this page: The Jardin Albert Kahn’s Japanese Garden, where Hermes held its fragrance promenade
Shoe Rendez-Vous at Roger Vivier
Model and muse Ines de la Fressange, together with shoe designer Bruno Frisoni, invited guests for lunch and a look at the new Rendez-Vous collection of couture foot fashions at the Roger Vivier boutique beside the embassies and private clubs along the Faubourg Saint Honore.
And so, while sampling foie gras, sliders and skewers of cheese and veggies, guests got a look at feathered and jeweled shoes that looked as much like works of art as footwear. But then, if haute couture fashions are on the agenda, then artful shoes would be the way to go.
Fifth photo, this page: Shoes from Roger Vivier’s Rendez-Vous collection, presented during the fall winter 2012 2013 Paris haute couture shows
Good Old-Fashioned Invitations
In a world where e-vites have become the norm, it was a joy to receive elegant – and tangible – invitations, many of them addressed or entirely hand-written in calligraphy. One could wonder about the cost of such invitations, especially as many are hand-delivered, too, but then haute couture fashions are high-priced enough to justify the expense and the shows are typically presented in unique venues with lavish decor. (In the case of Dior, the rooms were reportedly filled with one million flowers.)
A standout in the invitation mountain, Basil Soda’s missive featured a cover louvered like a window shade. Russian designer Yulia Yanina’s invitation came in conjunction with the Russian Ambassador to France, Alexandre Orlov. Other invitations, such as the one from Jean-Luc Amsler, offered lunch along with the fashion show, in this case at the Swiss Embassy.
So Many Brilliant Shows
The innovative design team at On Aura Tout Vu celebrated its tenth anniversary with a morning show, complete with creative fashions and two men dressed as centaurs, at the beautiful Gardens at the Palais Royal and a late-night after-party at Paris’ VIP Room. The dress code: “Queen of the Night.”
There were many other magnificent fashion shows on the haute couture calendar. They came from exceptional established designers, such as Elie Saab, who first generated international attention by dressing Halle Berry the year she won the Oscar. Plus, there were talented, relatively new designers, such as Alexis Mabille and Christophe Josse who showed their lines.
Check back later to see more photos of the fashions from fall winter 2012 2013 Paris haute couture shows.
Sixth photo, this page: One of the innovative designs from the On Aura Tout Vu fall winter 2012 2013 Paris haute couture show held in the gardens of the Palais Royal (photo courtesy of On Aura Tout Vous)
Seventh photo, this page: Elie Saab, known for his glamorous Hollywood looks showed his stunning fashions during the fall winter 2012 2013 Paris haute couture shows (photo courtesy of Elie Saab)
Eighth photo, this page: An evening ensemble from the Alexis Mabille fall winter 2012 2013 Paris haute couture collection (photo: courtesy of Alexis Mabille)
A Special Highlight at Armani
Seeing the Saldana sisters at Giorgio Armani Prive show provided a special highlight for me because two years ago, I first met Zoe Saldana when “Avatar” director James Cameron presented her with the “Star to Watch” award at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon.
Clearly thrilled about the honor, Saldana gave a charmingly candid speech, during which she mentioned that her sister had been named for her legendary co-honoree Cicely Tyson. On this occasion, both sisters were charming.
More stories and photos…
Check out the photo gallery below for a look at the Paris scene and shows that took place during the haute couture days in Paris.
Readers can also click on the links that follow to find separate stories and photo galleries from the spectacular shows by Giorgio Armani Prive, Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Atelier Versace and Stephane Rolland.
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Fall Winter 2012 2013 Paris Haute Couture Wrap-Up
Published July 10, 2012 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA