Couture Report '09:Positively No Grey Areas

As Couture week began this week in Paris, it was nothing short of intriguing to see what would be shown on the runway, given the current economic woes throughout the world. Would we be be seeing a new, simple silhouette with bare color and detail, or would we continue down the path of fashion ingenuity and modernism, using structured ensembles and bold color choices as our sincerest and most modern for of expression? The answer was clear: we would see both. Starting at Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld went back and wiped off the metaphorical slate for his last collection, December's highly Russian inspired extravaganza of bold colors, exuberant silhouettes and overly embellished ensembles. This time around he went for a much cleaner, simple and sleek line of clothes, keeping the economic crisis in mind, and the idea of fashion progression at heart. What we seen were clean lines that were stark to the eye, using an all white canvas as his tool to display the use of simple detail and structure. Elevated and structured shoulders and cropped jackets were once again a must-have, although this time with a newer (not to mention shorter) hemline, that was drawn around the naval. The incredibly structured and architectural coats were paired with A skirts with noticeable open slits done by exaggerated pleating at the waist, and a slew of pencil pants in both black and white. Light weight fabrics were another essential item from the collection. Lagerfeld used an array of lace, brocade, sheer and other light fabrics to fully demonstrate his vision of clean, un-complicated style. The addition of the paper headdresses by artist Katsuya Komo were another great addition that added to the point of simplicity, and the beauty within. The collection was a black and white vision, and was clearly a Victorian-Paris meets a 60's American woman. It was truly, and quite literally a work of art.

In stark comparison to Chanel's simplistic endeavour, Dior found itself toying with the idea of exuberance and elegance. The house's newest collection featured excitingly bold color choices, extravagant fabrics such as silk and satin, and silhouettes that rivaled the balloons at Macy's Day Parade. The collection was all about excess, with taste in mind of course. The 80's inspired show showcased overly exaggerated skirts that looked liked budding roses mixed with sculptured jackets with raised shoulders and overdone sleeves. It was the collection that truly seemed to say "Here I am! I'm making a statement!". It was everything Dior is known for. Galliano's newest creation was what I considered to be "little Bo Peep goes to Sak's Fifth Avenue", if that gives any idea. There were pieces that were starkly black and white, which mirrored what Lagerfeld was doing at Chanel, only in a much more over the top kind of way. The shows evening wear was something that could have come straight out of a Jane Austen novel, and was truly a masterpiece unto itself.

It comes as no surprise that the two biggest houses in not only Parisian fashion, but world-wide fashion, debuted 2009 Couture Collections that were nothing short of spectacular. Two different perspectives, and two different ways of reflecting the times in which we live; in either case, when looking at these clothes we do in fact get a little hope, that things much better are yet to come.

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