>> For Fall 2012 Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld went glitter-studded, sparkle-emblazoned, and mineral-inspired — right down to the Lucite shoes and the crystal-adorned runway. But despite all the embellishment and shimmer, the selection felt focused and surprisingly downtown: oversize coats, patterned knits, and artfully-draped dresses were layered over ankle-cropped cigarette pants — which, incidentally, appeared on nearly every look.
>> If you've got to go, might as well do it with a bang. Or better yet, with an army of sharp-shouldered power women leading the charge.
For his last collection at Yves Saint Laurent, Stefano Pilati did just that. His coats, dresses, tops, and trousers were cut in strongly tailored '80s shapes — broad-topped, angular, and belted. Chainmail dresses, slinky jumpsuits, and asymmetrical furs felt darkly glam in dusky greens and inky blacks; and the house's Le Smoking was re-imagined in sharp swaths of silver or leather. It was tough, chic, and as confident as they come.
Pilati may be out, but he's not looking back.
>> Who better captures the spirit of Peter Copping's darkly romantic, pastel-tinted vision than Raquel Zimmerman — especially as lensed by Inez & Vinoodh? Set in an old manse in Westbury, Long Island, the resulting minifilm for Nina Ricci Spring 2012 is lovely and ethereal — with just enough camera-shake, slow motion, and subversive wind-blowing to keep things interesting.
>> For her second season at Chloé, Clare Waight Keller worked the house's signature pastels into an easy-wearing lineup of slouchy separates and puffed-up outerwear — and it felt just right for Fall 2012. Silhouettes were soft, sporty, and cozy in quilted silk, fleecy wools, and nubby knits. Slim-cut trousers, button-down blouses, and utility pockets offered a sense of structure, while breezy pieces in an assortment of lace added girlie charm.
>> "Horse riding, Guy Bourdin, and Paris in the '70s," were Riccardo Tisci's talking points for Fall 2012 Givenchy. The horse-riding influence was present in the form of equestrian jackets, slouchy jodhpurs, and chap-like knee-high boots. But this wasn't your average English countryside jaunt; there were also ruffled peplums and undulating bustles, lacy boudoir slip dresses, ruffles of scarlet chiffon, and an eye-popping amount of slick black leather. The tough sexiness? Part of it was the Guy Bourdin '70s bit, sure, but mostly it was all Tisci.
>> It's not surprising that Stella McCartney would have athletic-wear on her mind — she is, after all, designing the British uniforms for the upcoming Olympics. Not surprising either, then, that a bit of sports influence would creep into her Fall 2012 ready-to-wear collection. And indeed, there it was in the form of baseball jackets, racing stripes, tennis dresses, and streamlined ski sweaters. But, as McCartney puts it, "the Stella woman is about balance," so there were plenty of elegant, grown-up elements on hand as well. Those tennis dresses? They were flippy, sure, but they were also cut in a serious tweed. And the speedy-looking ski sweaters? Those came neatly tucked into work-ready trousers.
Also on hand for more of that signature Stella balance: cable-knit sweater sets, sharply tailored jacquard suits, and a selection of electric-hued power coats that — with their asymmetrical zips, contrast panels, and oversized proportions — felt very right now.
>> There may have been bold prints and crimson hues, but the collection on offer from Giambattista Valli felt much more sober than usual this time around. The designer kept it straightforward for Fall 2012, eschewing his trademark embellishment and frills and opting instead for clean-lined silhouettes and tailored pieces. Tweeds, plaids, and patterned knits dominated in shades of black, ivory, and gray for day, while for evening, there were pleated chiffons, speckled furs, and even a smattering of metallic croc. It was chic and wearable, yes, but it would have been nice to see just a bit more of that signature Valli spark.
>> With Karlie Kloss opening the show, jewelry by Delfina Delettrez, and a front-row crew that included Diddy — not to mention the Magnolia cupcakes on the seats — it was pretty hard not to have a good time. Add Humberto Leon and Carol Lim's riotous mix of stripes, patterns, color, and prints, and the fun was practically guaranteed. But the duo weren't just focused on whimsy. "One of our new house codes is functionality," they explained in their show notes. "For Fall, we’ve created garments with zip-off pieces that provide an element of transformation — a coat will zip off to become a cropped jacket and skirt. We also focused on technological fabric treatments, like rubberized exteriors on coats to fend off rain." Fun and functional — now there's an idea.