3 Days of Paris Haute Couture Spring Summer 2012

Three Days on Scene at the Paris Haute Couture Spring Summer 2012 Collections


What else but the Paris haute couture shows could attract the former First Lady of France Bernadette Chirac, along with rock stars, top actresses, heiresses, the international press and other VIPs?  

Populating Jean Paul Gaultier‘s front row, for example, were the glamorous Catherine Deneuve, swathed in her furs, and fun rock recording star Beth Ditto of “Gossip” with her tattoos.

Over the three days from Jan. 23 to 25, anyone venturing to Paris to see the haute couture spring summer 2012 collections could find something to love amid the exquisite fashions shown. There were classically beautiful gowns, great suits and dresses for daytime and in the case of Gaultier, an entire parade of undergarments, albeit with jeweled bras and high-fashion corsets. 

Considering that Cameron Diaz attended five haute couture shows during the three day period, I’m truly looking forward to seeing the results of her collaboration with InStyle. The Magazine has reported that Diaz is helping to choose fashions for an upcoming issue about couture. (Update: As it was subsequently announced that she would be presenting at the Academy Awards, I’m also looking forward to seeing what she chooses as the best of all the extraordinary gowns shown to wear herself on Oscar Night.)

“The first four looks at Dior were to die for,” she told me early in the week. So I’ll also be curious to see which items still made the cut by the time she saw the last show.  

Clearly the bubbly blonde of “Charlie’s Angels,” “Knight and Day,” “Something About Mary” and “The Mask,” enjoyed the assignment. She sat beside Jessica Chastain at Giorgio Armani Prive and beamed when they heard the news that Chastain’s performance in the “The Help” earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.

Diaz sat across the room from me at Valentino’s elegant show, paying close attention to the passing parade of elegant styles. We also walked the aisle together as we found our airplane seats inside Chanel’s superb replica of a jumbo jet, where Diaz shared a laugh beside Alice Dellal, as we all waited for Karl Lagerfeld’s impressive blue-sky fashion show for Chanel to begin.

Elizabeth Olsen entered the Chanel jet along with Derek Blasberg, editor-at-large for Harper’s Bazaar, as well as editor of “Influence,” the best-selling fashion and art volume conceived by Olsen’s older sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley. Blasberg is also the author of the new book, “Very Classy: Even More Exceptional Advice for the Extremely Modern Lady.” 

Instead of modeling, this season Ines de la Fressange came to the shows in a newsboy cap, cameras slung over her shoulder, reportedly as a photographer for Madame Figaro. She could be seen snapping pictures, alongside the other top photographers and TV reporters in Paris from all over the world.   

There, too, in the coveted front row seats at the various shows were actresses Diane Kruger of “Inglorious Basterds,” Abbie Cornish of “Limitless,” Michelle Dockery of Downton Abby,” Olivia Palermo of “The City,” Carmen Chaplin of “All About the Benjamins” Salma Hayek of “The Spark of Life” and Ludivine Sagnier of “Swimming Pool; model Bar Rafaeli, model-turned-filmmaker Farida Khelfa, model-turned-lingerie-designer Natalia Vodianova,  model-turned-photographer Astrid Muñoz.

Spotted among Californians were novelist Danielle Steel, burlesque queen Dita Von Teese, Susan Casden, Sutton Stracke, Anne Crawford, Marsha Anderson, Michelle Rohe, Cameron Silver of “Decades” and Jennifer Smith Hale of “C Magazine.” Also seen were Becca Cason Thrash of Houston, chair of the glittery annual fundraiser for the Louvres Museum in Paris; plus top fashion editors, such as editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, creative director Grace Coddington and international editor-at-large Hamish Bowles of American “Vogue,” editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey of “Harper’s Bazaar,” Suzy Menkes of the “International Herald Tribune,” and Corine Roitfeld, formerly of Paris Vogue.

Paris was certainly the place to be for anyone intending a red carpet stroll or any other black tie occasion, or simply shopping for the world’s finest quality fashions – or reporting about such fashions to the world.

As the couture is considered a showcase for designer ideas, no expense is spared as the major houses strive to make the fashions and shows exceptional. That means elegant, exotic or ultra-creative venues and clothes with impeccable tailoring, intricate beadwork, lavish embroidery and the other hand-tailored and hand-fashioned details that define haute couture.

According to French tradition, haute couture fashions are made-to-measure, perfectly tailored to suit individual clients.  Quite often, that requires a massive number of man-hours and inordinate skill. Valentino listed those numbers in the program, pointing out garments that required 1,000 or more hours to create or used 5,000 stones and crystals as decoration.

This year designers not only delivered stunning fashions, but many also did so in color. Alexis Mabille put his models in eye-popping shades with floral headdresses and make-up to match; Jean Paul Gaultier popped bright shots of red, turquoise, yellow and orange into his line; and Stephane Rolland decked out his bride in red, right down to her 110 pound train, which took two men to help maneuver her around the turn on the runway.

Giorgio Armani built his Prive collection entirely around shades of green, while Karl Lagerfeld showed nothing but blue for Chanel.  Valentino, on the other hand, skipped the signature red in favor of white, pale shades and soft flower prints.

As parties take place, too, designer Bruno Frisoni at Roger Vivier was among those feting guests with a champagne luncheon and a look at his latest high-fashion shoe and accessory designs.

Check out the other stories on this website for more details about the individual collections. 


Photos from top: Elizabeth Olsen, Mary-Kate and Ashley’s younger sister, with Derek Blasberg, author of “Very Classy: Even More Exceptional Advice for the Extremely Modern Lady;” Cameron Diaz in Chanel at the Chanel show; Beth Ditto of “Gossip,” front row at Jean Paul Gaultier; Valentino haute couture fashions, some requiring 1,000 hours or more to create.



Valentino Provides an Elegant Ending to the Spring 2012 Haute Couture Shows

Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Spring 2012 Collection Pays Tribute to Amy Winehouse 

Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2012 Takes Off in Out-Of-This-World Style

Jessica Chastain’s Oscar Nod Adds Extra Excitement to Giorgio Armani Prive Spring 2012 Collection

Stars and Superb Fashions Color the Paris Haute Couture Spring Summer 2012 Collections


Paris Haute Couture Spring Summer 2012

Published Feb. 1, 2012 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA