Rarely does one wake and think “I think I’m going to wear that absolutely stunning couture gown to work today.” It’s not that we haven’t dreamt of the day when we will finally parade around town in corsets and capes, adorned in fine jewels, teetering atop seven inch stilettos, but let’s be honest – it simply isn’t practical. Luckily, practicality isn’t the point of couture. Twice a year, the haute couture collections allow select designers a platform to simply inspire. The designs are elaborate, exciting, often unconventional works of art that push the envelope of what is currently acceptable, both on and off the runway. The autumn 2012 haute couture additions were no exception, exploring a variety of trends – some feminine, some masculine – but one of which was notably and distinctively primal.
From feathers to fur to actual insects, animal-inspired details could be found tucked into a majority of this season’s haute couture collections.
The most obvious inclusion of feathers was perfected by Stephane Rolland. His models flew high on the runway, resembling wild game, yet somehow managed to look more like the hunter rather than the hunted. Those at Armani Prive and Georges Chakra appeared to have taken the spoils of Rolland’s magnificent hunt and adorned them with the luxuries of rich hues, dramatic sequins and a decidedly delicate sparkle.
Navy feathered and sequined dress from Georges Chakra haute couture A’12
White feathered gown from Stephane Rolland haute couture A’12
Feather and jewel headpiece from Georgio Armani Prive haute couture A’12
Sheer feathered gown from Stephane Rolland haute couture A’12
Ruby red feathered and sequined dress from Georges Chakra haute couture A’12
Bugs are beautiful! Well, butterflies maybe, but the rest? Those at Giambattista Valli and Iris van Herpen certainly seem to think so, making a rather persuasive case for themselves. With wrists clasped tight by the gold wings of beetles and dragonflies, butterflies circling like halos above their heads and sitting silently upon their lips, Valli’s models showcased what is likely to be the hottest accessories trend of the coming season. Van Herpen took the idea even further, not merely accentuating her designs, but infusing them with an insect-like quality. Her most affected works included a structured, glossy black, widow-esque gown and an intricately designed mini reminiscent of bees wax.
Gold beetle cuff from Giambattista Valli haute couture A’12
Wax-like mini from Iris Van Herpen haute couture A’12
Crown of iridescent butterflies at Giambattista Valli haute couture A’12
Glossed black-widow gown from Iris Van Herpen haute couture A’12
Gold butterfly cuff from Giambattista Valli haute couture A’12
While fur (whether real or faux) is certainly nothing new to fashion, the versatility of its use never ceases to amaze. At Dior, it added an element of fun in shades of sapphire and textured silhouettes. For Givenchy, it encapsulated extravagance, draping the shoulders of bare backs and trimming cloaks with glorious detail. Then, coming full circle this season, it returned to Ulyana Sergeenko in its most primitive state as a utilitarian necessity to her militaristic couture creations.
Textured, black fur coat from Christian Dior haute couture A’12
Fur cloak from Givenchy haute couture A’12
Sapphire blue fur at Christian Dior haute couture A’12
Fur sleeved gown from Ulyana Sergeenko haute couture A’12
Fur sleeved gown from Givenchy haute couture A’12