Haute Style: Paris Fashion Week with Chanel, Valentino, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen

While Paris Fashion Week has officially wrapped, we are left with a spectacular display of collections for Spring/Summer 2011. Here are seven shows that will have you dreaming of the new season, from Chanel to Valentino, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen.


The Chanel show Karl Lagerfeld staged at the Grand Palais, complete with an 80-piece orchestra, a garden and fountains, was nothing short of spectacular.  The clothing lived up to its beautiful surroundings, feeling more like couture than ready-to-wear. Lagerfeld used new fabrics as his criterion for the collection, distressing tweed them with unfinished edges and perforations, and incorporating feathers and exquisite embroideries. And while there was an abundance of black, other shades for spring included pastels and silver metallics. Lagerfeld delivered an impeccable series that will inspire the fashion lover in all of us.


Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli’s spring collection found approval from Valentino himself, who commented, “I was very happy because I found lots of homage to my work.” It was a lovely balance between the designers legacy and a fresh modern sensibility, seen in both the dresses and flowing tunics, that blended chic with casual. It was a shift that will perhaps entice a younger demographic to the house of Valentino.


Riccardo Tisci unveiled a strong, edgy and sexy collection for Givenchy that continued to interpret the masculine-feminine themes we have seen play out this season. There was an abundance of leather (a popular fabric in the spring collections this year), from harnesses backing tops and jackets, and leopard prints, black sheer fabrics and metal details. Tisci unleashed the wild attitude of a woman but kept it coolly controlled in this imaginative display of Givenchy chic.

Yves Saint Laurent

Stefano Pilati delivered a striking collection this week, probably his best yet. Much like Valentino S/S 2011, there was an obvious homage to Yves Saint Laurent heritage, yet the collection still felt modern and minimalist. Classic YSL gypsy dresses and jumpsuits mixed with Pilati’s with plunging neck lines, cutout shoulders, lantern-sleeves and open backs. It was a sensual feat of modernity that has brought new life YSL.

Louis Vuitton

For Louis Vuitton’s spring collection, Marc Jacobs created an explosion of decadence and fun on the runway, citing Art Deco, Art Nouveau and orientalism as inspiration. “Basically, I didn’t want anything natural,” he said. “I wanted everything overly stylized.” And it was, from his use of wild color and animal motifs, to his beading, fringe and obvious LV monograms. It was energetic and playful, and perfect for a glamour girl who loves being the center of attention.

John Galliano

No one delivers theatrics quite like the fabulous John Galliano. His dazzlingly dramatic spring collection (and show staged at the Opera Comique) were inspired by Mari Lani, an aspiring actress living in Paris during the late 1920s, who conned esteemed artists into painting her portrait. A sea of baroque beauties glided down the runway in muted pinks, blues, and Asian prints — styled for fantasy but their clothes completely wearable. Trenches, lace cardigans, wide-leg pants and jackets trimmed in ruffles were enough for any girl, like Lani, to become a dreamer.

Alexander McQueen

Despite all of the pressure that came with designing the first runway collection after Alexander McQueen’s death, Sarah Burton did her friend proud. It honored McQueen’s vision, while injecting some lightness into the silhouettes. Her reference to nature found its way into intrinsic detailing, from hand-painted feather butterflies and intense black leather leaves, and the textures of her spectacular gowns. Burton did not disappoint existing McQueen fans, and she may have inspired more with bringing femininity to the label.