Couture S/S'12 - Valentino and Elie Saab

Well it seems the Valentino and Elie Saab delivered something marginally worth talking about. Saab was by no means great; this collection looked the same as every season, but at least every season the dresses are gorgeously pretty, dream princess kind of stuff. Nicole Phelps of style.com said it best though that each dress was only separated by the "vertiginousness of a neckline, the presence or absence of sleeves, the length of a train, and an occasional cape." However this repetition worked to great effect because of the sheer number of dresses, and their sheer sameness. I will illustrate the effect via the Saab-Pastel colour wheel:

Saab occasionally veered quite close to signature Valentino territory with delicately embroided, high necked, long-sleeved dresses with pencil thin waist ties (fig 1 &2) - but I'm being gracious and giving him a free pass on this one.

fig 1.

fig 2.

Valentino was a lot more interesting, and while I haven't adored it straight away, I can tell that with a bit of knowledge and time, this collection is going to grow a lot on me. Being an Art History student, I get a lot of pleasure looking into the influences of a collection, and Valentino always offers textbooks worth! So what was listed? There was Paul Delvaux, the Belgian surrealist (I personally hate surrealism but never mind) who often painted his subjects in long white gowns. There was the many incarnations of Marie Antoinette, whose influence could be seen in the occasional toile and a feminine take on 18th century menswear. And then there was the fashion photographer Deborah Turbeville, whose images exude a kind of gothic spiritualism.
I find it a mixture of both strange and entirely appropriate that they choose Turbeville as inspiration. Turbeville's aesthetic already matches Chiuri and Piccioli's Valentino quite perfectly, so perfectly in fact that they already collaborate and are generally associated with each other. So is there much point in looking to her to shape their gowns? It seems somewhat incestuous and the effect is like this weird parallel universe version of Valentino. Am I over analyzing this? Yes, yes I am.

But as for the best looks, Chiuri and Piccioli are known for their knack with lightness, yet the best from this collection were most definitely the stiffer taffeta gowns.

A compelling argument was also provided for matching dress and shoes:

And on a final note, it's worth mentioning that both shows had a grand total of one black model WHY THANK YOU VERY MUCH

Elie Saab runway images from Fashion Gone Rogue
Valentino runway images from vogue.com


  1. These are stunning dresses. I can't wait for the next collection of Valentino.

    Christina @ Mens Watches