The Paris A/W 13 haute couture shows came to an end yesterday after four days of stunning collections. Comebacks to the Paris calendar included Viktor & Rolf after a thirteen year hiatus and a one-off return by French designer Christian Lacroix who presented a tribute collection to the late Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Presented on a rotating carousel of mirrors, Lacroix’s 18-piece “Homage to Elsa” collection may not have featured any actual models, but still managed to make an impact.
Also thrilling us, Karl Lagerfeld once again transformed the Grand Palais in Paris into a magical setting for the Chanel show – this time the setting was a dilapidated cinema complete with piles of rubble, crumbling walls and old cinema curtains, combined with an opera medley playing in the background. Meanwhile, wowing us in a different way were front row Chanel devotees – Rhianna, Kirsten Stewart and Clemence Posey – who all wore classic head-to-toe monochrome looks from the design house.
The drama continued into the week, with catwalks from Elie Saab, Giambasta Valli, Viktor & Rolf and Dior. It was at Valentino though where the most praise was heaped. The design duo of Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia impressed with a serious day-wear offering including luxurious tweed and cashmere coats, restricting the heavy embellishment we’ve come to know and love from them to a few high-impact pieces – such as the regal-looking jade velvet dress covered in 1500 pearls and 2500 rose embroideries, or the coat that took 850 hours to embroider with gold pearls.
Valentino may have won the award for best show in our eyes, but the best dressed is harder to call. We’re undecided between Kirsten Stewart in a black lace jumpsuit for the Zuhair Murad show or Alexa Chung in a black Chanel lace mini dress. Also looking amazing were Olivia Palermo at the Dior presentation. Her on-trend mix of minty blues and greens with pure white was copied by Mila Jovovich who attended the Armani Prive catwalk in a look from the Giorgio Armani spring/summer 2013 collection.