Monday, July 18, 2011

Runway Report: Paris Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011 Fashion Week--Elie Saab

Baby Got Couture Back

Ice, Ice Baby: Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011

Elie Saab
is criticized for making collections that are safe and often repetitive. Often you could interchange one season for another and not really tell the difference. This collection is no exception in that Saab sticks to his trademark of sending out beautifully crafted gowns and cocktail dresses that look as if they are floating down the runway.

I, for one, have no problem with his aesthetic and I am sure his many clients in Dubai and China don't mind it either. Yes, while watching the video you do get a bit glassy eyed from all the continuous hand beaded concoctions, but the House of Elie Saab is certainly giving all there couture clients (and Red Carpet Actresses) plenty of options, and letting them feel comfortable that their dress will be unique from the others.

Ballerina Chic: Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011

For Fall/Winter 2011 (Yes, this is Saab's version of Fall! No fur and wool for this client!) there were a few themes that stood out in the collection. Elie made the beading lighter and more transparent with breathtaking beading on the most delicate chiffon that he draped and pleated across the body. Also, there was a Ballerina feel to his cocktail dresses with short skirts that were pleated and full. This might be a Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture trend alert.

Caplet Queen: Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011

Probably the most standout trend of the collection was the open backs on many of the dresses. Unfortunately not apparent in the photos (make sure to watch the video below), the gowns and cocktail dresses had stunning backs that were completely open, delicately draped or open with delicate shear caplets.

Below are more looks from the collection:

Bronze and Beaded: Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011

Blouson Couture: Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011

Blue Shear: Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011

One Shoulder Goddess: Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011

Click below to watch the entire Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011 Runway Show:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Beyoncé wears NIKOLAKI In Her New Music Video: "Best Thing I Never Had"

Beyoncé in NIKOLAKI, "Best Thing I Never Had" music video

I just returned from almost two weeks in London, Mykonos (Oh how much I miss those beaches!!!), Rome and Florence, Italy, where, along with my design and business partner David Paul, we showed some of our NIKOLAKI Collection for the first ever Miami University of Ohio "Summer In Italy" Fashion Show. More on the entire trip in an upcoming blog posting later, of course (working on editing the 400+ photos and videos!). While there, I received word that Beyoncé--yes, THE Beyoncé--wore one of our NIKOLAKI dresses in her latest video "Best Thing I Never Had".

Beyoncé Prom Diva: Beyoncé in NIKOLAKI, "Best Thing I Never Had" music video

We grabbed some screen caps here from the video where she is doing a "look back" at a "younger Beyoncé" and where she wears our silk-wool ziberline fuchsia strapless dress with side draped detail. I was so excited that I think I actually stopped my sunbathing in Mykonos and yelled a "Go Miss Beyoncé!" in front of about 200 Italian and Australian fellow beach-goers! does a style "look by look" of the video HERE

Above is the dress from our NIKOLAKI Spring 2011 Collection modeled by model Lauren Gish Photo by Evans Vestal Ward

Click Below to watch the entire "Best Th9ing I Never Had" Music Video:

Runway Report: Paris Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011 Fashion Week--Jean Paul Gaultier

Black Swans, Biker Tutus, Men in Feathered Skirts, Silk Mousseline Trench Coats, a Cone Bra Wedding Gown and French SuperDiva Mylene Farmer??

Biker Tutu: Jean Paul Gaultier Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

French Fashion Designer Jean Paul Gaultier showed his Fall/Winter 2011/2012 Haute Couture Collection and by the looks of the video and the photos, it was a Not-To-Be-Missed show! The music soundtrack began with the voice of actor Vincent Cassel of the film "Black Swan" instructing his dancers. From that moment--and the first Swan-like feathered headdress--we knew that this collection might have some Ballet tendencies...

PETA-Free Zone: Jean Paul Gaultier Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

As the 60+ look collection materialized, indeed there were strong "Swan Lake" influences: Luxe
tutus with mink, silk tulle, leather and wool, full skirts, ribbon-laced "Ballet" platform-pumps.

Also: Lots of Furs--in those "tutu dresses", as well as in parka coats, cape-gowns (above on English Model Erin O'Connor) and just about every other piece in the collection (it's Fall/Winter after all--a very un-politically correct one but still). Gowns featuring Madame Grès-like plisse pleating also showed up, as well as late 70's Disco-Era Divas like this one:

There was also a general undercurrent of a "Look-Back Through the Best of Gaultier" with highlights being all those FABULOUS Trench coats and Variations-on-the-Trench which is a Gaultier Hallmark:

It's Raining Trenches: Two Trench Coat looks from Jean Paul Gaultier Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

My favorite being the GORGEOUS silk mousseline trench gowns with open back on above photos. Continuing with his "Ode to Himself" theme, Gaultier also showed many Menswear Looks--all hand-made Haute Couture naturally. These male DIVOS, stomped the runway in three-inch heel boots with Marabou and Ostrich-trimmed floor-length skirts, asymmetrical cape-jackets, poufy trench coat-gowns (yes, I said POUFY TRENCH COAT GOWNS!) and even a strapless bustier with attached shawl-over "over-gown". Check out les hommes kiddies:

Miss Thang: Gaultier Muse, Model and Collaborator Tanel Bedrossiantz, Jean Paul Gaultier Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Poufy Officer: Portuguese Model Luis Batalha, Jean Paul Gaultier Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Bearded Bustier: Model Benjamin Dukhan Jean Paul Gaultier Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

And to put the "Gaultier Cherry" on top of this "Haute Couture Cake", he sent out French-Canadian model Ève Salvail who was definitely NOT typecast as the "White Swan" of the collection. She wore "Le Mariage" (wedding dress) with those iconic Cone-shaped bust cups that put him on the map, via Madonna:

Express Yourself: Model Ève Salvail, Jean Paul Gaultier Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

And speaking of Madonna--his show ended with the "French Madonna" (doesn't it seem as if there's a "Madonna" in EVERY country!), Mylène Farmer:

Comme J'Ai Mal: French Icon-singer Mylene Farmer, Jean Paul Gaultier Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Who, naturally was THE Black Swan of the show, wearing a fitted black leather jacket, tulle high-low skirt with a very long train (poor thing tripped on it when turning around), and of course, "Swan Lake"-like feathers atop her ginger-colored swept up-do. If this all sounds Trop! ("too much" en francais), then please by all means, see for yourself...

Click Below for Full Runway Video of Jean Paul Gaultier Fall/Winter 2011/12 Haute Couture--Part One:

Jean Paul Gaultier Fall/Winter 2011/12 Haute Couture--Part Two:

Runway Report: Paris Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011 Fashion Week--Stephane Rolland

Folded, Ribboned, Draped...

Dip-Dyed Canary: Stephane Rolland Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Stephane Rolland
showed his Fall/Winter 2011/2012 Haute Couture Collection in Paris and as usual it was a Masterful display of the drapery, folded and structured modern elegance. His designs are not for the shy woman but more for the UBER chic, Glam Dominatrix Diva. His clients come mainly from Asia and the Middle East and every now and then, you will see a FAB Stephane Rolland Haute Couture creation on the Red Carpet (if we're lucky--he still has to compete with the POWERHOUSE PR Offices of the "biggies": Chanel, Valentino, Dior, etc.). For Fall/Winter, he was inspired by two things: China (smart, since that's where the latest crop of multi-millionaire clients are coming from), which showed up in Pagoda sleeves, Mandarin-like collars, Chinese calligraphy details. Another inspiration was:

Iconic model Carmen Dell'Orefice (seen above at the Stephane Rolland Haute Couture Show with NY socialite/MTV's The City "Elle Magazine intern" Olivia Palermo next to her). The clothes were fabulous by the way. Colors ranged from "Winter White" to deep blacks, violets, muted raspberry and lots of oversized metallic/jeweled embellishments as in belts, neck and bust accents as well as the above mentioned drapes, folds and twisted ribbons that are the "Rolland" hallmarks.

Daywear According to Rolland: Stephane Rolland Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

To start with, there was some "day wear"--OK, forget it, it was more like "Cocktail Hour". But mainly, as always with Rolland, it was about THOSE gowns! Showstoppers. Take a look:

Who Invited Her: Stephane Rolland Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Shanghai Ball: Stephane Rolland Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Plunging: Stephane Rolland Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

New Slit: Stephane Rolland Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Shoulder Padded Grecian Goddess: Stephane Rolland Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

China Calligraphy Couture: Stephane Rolland Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Be sure not to miss the Final Wedding Gown and how HEAVY it was--so heavy that the model is literally FORCING it to move with all the strength of her 5'11" size 2 frame!!! Bless her heart! (and bless those in the audience trying to cool off from the hot & humid temperatures that were occurring during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week a couple of weeks back)--click on the video below...

Click Below for Full Runway Video of Stephane Rolland Fall/Winter 2011/12 Haute Couture:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Runway Report: Paris Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011--Chanel

Bouclé Lamp Shade Couture...

Freja Gives Tweed: Model Freja Bbeha Erichsen in Chanel Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

For Fall/Winter Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Creative Emperor of the House of Chanel went Dark, moody, and very traditional to the old-school 1920's/1930's aesthetic for Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel. The collection began with lots of those traditional and iconic tweed/
bouclé suits which will make his devoted clientele from St. Tropez to Shanghai very happy. Most of these suits featured elbow-length oversized sleeves (as opposed to those super-tight, can-barely-move-my-arm Chanel sleeves). The peplum was a HUGE silhouette detail for this collection, showing up in the suits as well as the gowns toward the end. If it's up to Karl Lagerfeld, the Chanel Couture Woman will be in a "Lamp Shade" mode when it comes to this year's Fall/Winter season.

Lunch Ensemble: Chanel Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Colors ranged from light silver dark gray--as well as black and midnight blue. There were "shots" of fuchsia for the client in need of more color than just four shades of GRAY. And of course, all the expert Lesage (it's owned by Chanel after all!) hand-beading and sequins that Chanel Haute Couture is famous for was there in almost each and every look. Beautifully done and one assumes, terribly costly. But who cares, it is Couture! Doesn't every billionaire's wife need a hand-made tweed suit with hand-beaded Lesage embroidered sequins to wear to her next lunch date at the Hotel Plaza Athenee?? Take a look:

Red Carpet Gray: Chanel Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Fuchsia Office: Chanel Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Gown de Peplum: Chanel Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Going to Hollywood: Chanel Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Le Sari Mariage: Chanel Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Click Below for Full Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011/12 Runway Show--Part 1:

Chanel Fall/Winter 2011/12 Haute Couture--Part 2:

Runway Report: Paris Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011--Armani Prive

Le Japonais Couture...

Arigato Armani: Giorgio Armani takes his bow on July 5th at his Armani Prive Fall/Winter 2011 Runway Paris France

Over a week ago--during the Paris Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture Fashion Week--Giorgio Armani showed his offering of his Armani Prive collection--yes, the one you will see on big A-List Hollywood stars and yes, the one in which garments are hand-made, made-to-order to the size of the clients and yes, the one where a suit ensemble can put you back about $45,000 and a gown, well...about $100,000. Armani and Armani Prive have been in the news as of late because of the Prince Albert-and-Charlene of Monaco Royal Wedding (Bride wore Armani Prive Custom Wedding Gown) and of course, there were all those Royal Ladies who decided to order some of those $100,000+ aforementioned ensembles (The Belgium Royal contingency LUVS themselves some Armani Prive!!).

Sushi Queen: Armani Prive Fall/Winter 2011

For Fall/Winter 2011, the theme was Hommage au Japon. The collection was heavy on the origami folds, cherry blossom prints and obi belts. Suit ensembles featured cropped pants and nipped-in waist jackets. Plunging and/or asymmetrical necklines accented these as well as those obi belts and origami-style pleating and draping.

Cherry Blossom Suiting: Armani Prive Fall/Winter 2011

The gowns were sumptuous, with silk velvets, oversized orange paillettes, and Japan-inspired flower prints. It's difficult for ANY fashion designer to do Japonais when , well, John Galliano and his now-iconic (and heart-palpating) Dior Haute Couture Spring 2007 Collection of over four years ago, has become THE Fashion Design Guide Rule Book for what Madam Butterfly should look like...but I give Mr. Armani and his Armani Prive Design Team "Nick V." Points for even trying. Take a look:

Little Tokyo Gown: Armani Prive Fall/Winter 2011

Red Carpet Geisha: Armani Prive Fall/Winter 2011

Tunic Couture: Armani Prive Fall/Winter 2011

And then , of course, there were those FABULOUS Philip Treacy hats--this one above being one of my favorites--Can't wait until Princess Beatrice features this one at some event and makes half the Western Hemisphere--as well as East Asia--gasp!

Click Below for Full Armani Prive Fall/Winter 2011 Runway Video:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Runway Report: Paris Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011--Dior!!!

Dior Haute Couture...sans Galliano:

Fashion Darlings: Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011 Fashion Week began this past Monday and ended yesterday (I know, only three days!). So, naturally, I am here as your "Fashion Servant" to give you the highlights and my "Nick V. Two Cents" on what the top designers offered in terms of these rarefied hand-made $100,000+ clothes on the catwalks. These clothes are then either shown or lent to stylists for their famous Hollywood clients to wear to BIG Red Carpet events, given to fashion editors to feature in their magazines, or hopefully, ordered by that very small list of multi-millionaire clientele (estimated at just 400 in the entire World!) from Dallas to Dubai, Mumbai, Beijing and Shanghai.

First up: Christian Dior Haute Couture:
Cirque de Couture: Christian Dior Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

This show, of course, was one of the most--if not THE MOST-anticipated show of the season. Obviously since, it was the first Dior Haute Couture showing following John Galliano's unceremonious departure and firing. Lots was expected of Bill Gaytten, who has taken over (for now) as the head of the Dior Design Team. He's been with John Galliano & Co. for over 20 years so if any one can sense what Galliano would have done and what direction he would have gone in, it would be him. Did he live up to this? It seems the reaction was mixed:

Here's a quote from Tim Blanks of, of what he thought of the show and the clothes:

On the evidence of today's first Dior couture show without John Galliano, what happens is a misjudged effort to impress an alien thumbprint on an aesthetic that, for better or worse, is one of the fashion industry's most clearly defined.
Then came Karlie Kloss, dressed as a Pierrot, sad clown all alone in the spotlight as the soundtrack failed and glitter showered down. But the stardust missed her by this much. And that felt like some kind of crazy cosmic metaphor.
Ouch, I think...

Bronzed Twisted Princesses: Christian Dior Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

The show had three distinct sections. It began with lots of color, prints, stripes, all very "Cirque de Dior". Fall/Winter for the Dior Couture ladies will not be a dark and somber one. It also looked very 80's Neon/Maripol/Stephen Sprouse/Memphis Movement. The Dior Bar Jacket showed up several times, but somehow it's still didn't have the same effect when Galliano did his magic with it. The pleating, twisting and intricate draping that the Dior Couture House of petite mains are known for, was all there. But there seemed to be something missing...

Valley of the Dior Dolls: Christian Dior Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

The second section was a "Caftan" late 1970's "Disco" section and to be honest, after looking at the photos and the video, this was my favorite part of the show and I almost wish Creative Director Bill Gaytten and his Dior Design Team would have done a complete collection of Caftans, almost as a cleansing of the Galliano aesthetic. I just wished the entire show was ONE STRONG Statement a la "Flower Power Dior" (Fall 2010 Collection), "Dior Goes Equestrian" (Spring 2010 Collection), or "Tutankhamen Dior", but instead this one had several and they were rather incohesive. It should have been all "Caftan Valley-of-the-Dolls Couture!".

Petticoat Clowns: Christian Dior Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture

Of course, in the end, there were Ball Gowns. Huge, entrance-making ones. This was supposed to be the "Grand Finale" but again, these out-of-control gowns fell flat--especially on a runway that was not wide enough for them (what happened there?). The gown above is the one Tim Blanks was referring to--the (somewhat sad) Pierrot Clown Gown. It is definitely difficult to carry on after Galliano and only time will tell, if he will succeed. Don't miss the designer (and his assistant Susanna Venegas) uncomfortable bow at the end of the video...

Click Below for Full Video of the Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011 Show: