Paris Fall 2012 Fashion Week, Part 2

The second of a two-part series. Lauren David Peden recaps the top trends for Fall 2012, as seen at Fashion Week in Paris. Read her first post here.

Riccardo Tisci unveiled his fall Givenchy collection in a freezing cold schoolyard in the dead of night. Thankfully, the sexy, equestrian- and Guy Bourdin-inspired clothes – tailored patchwork riding jackets, silk jodhpurs, over-the-knee leather boots, pleated skirts, colorful furs, sensual silk dresses – set to the sound of galloping horses, warmed the audience (including Alicia Keys and Kanye West) right up.

Jean Paul Gaultier is French to his core, but his fall collection paid homage to an urban street scene that’s as prevalent in downtown New York as it is in the City of Lights. On the runway – with The Velvet Underground blasting from the speakers – were deconstructed motorcycle jackets and pencil skirts, graffiti-print dresses, leather sweatshirts, skeleton print leggings, neon fur chubbies, and skunk-striped punk rock hairdos, all offset by beautifully tailored, borrowed-from-the-boys suiting and outerwear.

Stella McCartney re-imagined country wardrobe staples for life in the big city by way of cozy cable knit sweater dresses, oversized coats in electric blue, roomy low-slung trousers, sporty miniskirts, and tweed suits with padded hips (exaggerated hips being a major trend next season).

Karl Lagerfeld’s collection for Chanel was inspired by the center of the earth. This translated to a soaring, stalagmite-strewn backdrop, distressed leather pants that recalled crumbling rocks, tweed jackets that sparkled like mica, coats with geodesic dome-like sleeves, crystal-strewn tunics, and incredibly cool crystal-heeled booties. Even the models’ eyebrows glistened, thanks to embellished appliqués from the house of Lesage.

At Valentino, design duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli elevated traditional folk costume to haute new heights, edging black leather pieces in macramé, tying the neck of a sheer-sleeved white blouse in an anything-but-prim chiffon bow, and using classic frog closures on a boxy beige jacket. Then there were the modernized folkloric prints on sleek maxi dresses, the passementerie-trimmed coats, laser-cut leather cocktail frocks, and dresses that took their multicolor motifs from antique carpets. All were rendered in sophisticated shades of black, ivory, taupe, and – of course! – Valentino red.

Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.

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March 29, 2012