Haute couture by definition is clothing that’s custom made – not purchased off-the-rack. That’s lead to an association with creative freedom, designers and fashion house’s being able to showcase what they’re capable of in terms of their craftsmanship and creativity. The fall 2012 haute couture runway shows spanned aesthetics from the elegant and minimal (showing you’re a master tailor is important, too) to the mildly insane. But what we’re looking for today is neither of those. We’re singling out the kinds of floor-sweeping, embellished, breathtaking and beautiful gowns that couture runways inevitably produce – and that we all, inevitably, love to feast our eyes on.

Without further ado (and in no particular order), here are 10 couture gowns most fit for a fairytale.

Zuhair Murad

If Murad was in fairytale land, then this particular black lace gown would be found in the wardrobe of Charlize Theron’s Evil Queen. But with it’s off-the-shoulder black lace, it’s also delicately beautiful enough for any belle of the ball.

zuhair murad couture gown
View more Zuhair Murad haute couture F/W ’12.

Georges Hobeika

Georges Hobeika’s aquamarine strapless gown is not only an impressive feat of embellishment, it also channels the mythical mermaid, flowering out into a fan of fishscales at the bottom.

hobeika couture gown
View more Georges Hobeika haute couture F/W ’12.

Giorgio Armani Prive

If Armani’s collection mirrored the changing sky from dusk til dawn, then this dark sequinned gown is the starry night personified. It feels like something you might find amidst the drama of a 1920s silent film.

giorgio armani prive couture gown
View more Giorgio Armani Prive haute couture F/W ’12.

Valentino

Embroidered sheer fabric and a cape of oriental silk. Valentino’s couture runway had more obvious showstoppers, but it was the Eastern influence that was the most unique; making this the blushing beauty of the collection.

valentino couture gown
View more Valentino haute couture F/W ’12.

Basil Soda

Gold continues to be a major trend, and Basil Soda’s burnished, beaded take didn’t hold back on the detail.

basil soda couture gown
View more Basil Soda haute couture F/W ’12.

Versace

Leave it to Donatella to make something both beautiful and sexy. Versace’s bodice of tiny buckles had visual impact softened only by the bursts of sheer organza spilling out from under it.

versace couture gown
View more Versace haute couture F/W ’12.

Elie Saab

Elie Saab’s embellished lace dresses were not only impressively detailed, but they followed the lines of the body in the most feminine of ways. Another jackpot for gold.

elie saab coutur lace
View more Elie Saab haute couture F/W ’12.

Elie Saab

OK, so we have two from Saab – let’s just say that from this collection you could easily kit out an entire fairytale kingdom, let alone a single princess. Saab’s full-skirted gowns had a different appeal to those of the form-fitting lace variety.

elie saab couture gown
View more Elie Saab haute couture F/W ’12.

Yiqing Yin

When hard sci-fi futurism and the softness of feathers come together to create something so otherworldly, it’s hard to draw your eyes away. Yiqing Yin did that with this closing gown.

yiqing yin couture gown
View more Yiqing Yin haute couture F/W ’12.

Chanel

It started off with grey boucle suiting and crescendoed to an unapologetically voluminous snow-queen wedding dress. The sparkling icing on the couture Chanel cake.

chanel couture gown
View more Chanel haute couture F/W ’12.

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