Portmanteau List: Couture fashion week Paris 2011

Elie Saab
The entire collection was my favourite couture collection. Beautiful intricate beading, classic yet flowing cuts and flattering like you wouldn't believe, the neutral colours enhanced the beauty of the models wearing them in detail and radiance. These two pieces were my favourite, not only of this collection, but the entire season (together with one by Valentino), and I don't think there's a single "miss" in the collection. Unlike with a lot of couture, which I can admire and appreciate on other people I would actually wear these. The length, just above the knee, is perfect, with the belted waist and flowing full skirt and hint of skin yet not plunging top. My kind of dress, through and through with a beaded craft cherry on top.

I should probably say in advance, Valentino is one of my favourite designers on this planet and I own quite a few pieces, so I guess I'm a little biased. However, I love Chanel usually, and Karl's couture concoctions did not struck a cord with me this time. Valentino, however, is a master of a lot of features I'm a real sucker for and makes me shriek in delight like a dog whose tail has been trodden on, except in a happy scenario, obviously. There's the pleated skirt, which is a recurring feature in my own design. There's the three-fingers-above-knee length, flowing full skirt, that perfect peter pan collar (which I am missing in Chanel's collections at the moment) and the perfect color balance in nude that is not too dark or light yet strong, a red unmatched in the strength of its purity of color and a cream white as delicious as white chocolate - it's all so good my bones actually feel a little gooey. As you can see, I had to reign myself in. However strong and light the entire collection was and despite the fact that there were so many pieces I would grab and run home with, Elia Saab, as a whole impression and romantic message, was my favourite collection still - Valentino comes closely in second place.
Pleats and ribbed diamond shaped textured white - it doesn't get more perfect. Even the sleeves are perfect with the puffed shoulders and cuffed finish.
The hair is in perfect harmony with this dress, I love it.
I am very picky when it comes to red (and brown). There are just too many shades and variations which make me exclaim "this isn't red!" but Valentino, oh you get it right every time. And in this dress, with the sheer paneled with embroidery top and round collar, cuffed sleeves, pleated three-finger-over-knee skirt and that beautifully delicate bow at the waist, I don't know what else to say but whisper the word "perfection" with a little tear in my eyes.

Now, after this praise of delight, I didn't think it could get better. And it did. I present to you my favourite dress of the season (together with the two from Elie Saab). There are no words. Just stare at it. The model should be smacked for putting on such a moody expression whilst wearing this dream.

This dress/ coat I thought was really cool although it stood out differently from the rest. I love feathered textures and of course the peter pan collar, but I wasn't too keen on the ruffled layered middle rayon.

I'll just be repeating myself - pleats, bow waist, sheer top and check patterns oh my! I particularly love the textured diamond shaped pattern on sheer background.

This coat dress is gorgeous, especially its color, the sturdy peter pan collar and bow belt but I do have to say it reminded me of Miu Miu. Nonetheless, a beautiful piece with a twist in the tied detailing connecting the collar and the bust.

Giorgio Armani
The skirt over trousers look seems to be back, although unfathomable to me. I really hoped that look would be banished to the lands of yonder, yet they made a strong comeback in Chanel and Giorgio Armani. Chanel, for the first time I think, hasn't produced a single piece worthy of being in this list. Unflattering cuts, strange ballooned layers and a structure break - up of the body that I felt were completely wrong and enhanced all the wrong features, even on the models, were walking down the runway and apart from the chain link material and doll-like dresses that made the models look like oversized little girls, which were passable, there wasn't anything I loved. Back to the point at hand, though - Armani's couture collection was quite out of character but I loved some of the features nonetheless. Unlike in Elia Saab's collection, where everything was perfect including styling and the whole look, I'll have to pick out certain features rather than love the entire look, here.
For instance, leggings under the dress? Boo! But my favourite feature, which I hope will be around for a while in more wearable forms, were the beautifully structured circles embodied as shoulder-cupping conjunction and architectural structures. Love it!
This dress is perfection. I love the fabric, the flash of color and coordination of the whole look. Again, the standoff architectural circulation of the sleek torso put a big smile on my face. This is definitely a piece I think could be worn on the red carpet, and a lot less provocative than people make out if actually looked at on its own.

Another detail I absolutely adored was the creation of pockets through structuring the skirt accordingly. I also loved the gray, and when you look at it backstage it's actually a lot less shiny as it seems and perfectly stunning and quirky.
Wow, what a silhouette! So flattering, even the wet look doesn't scare me off - in fact, I think it was all down to lighting and that the pieces are actually a lot more matted than they appear in the official catwalk images for some reason.

Jean Paul Gaultier
I wasn't a big fan of this collection, especially the black neck band reminiscent of Victorian prudence that was bound to the model's hair appearing to almost choke the indifferent models in the Chanel collection. Punky and somewhat enjoyable, most looks I liked were ruined by a feature that may be appealing to others but weren't to me, so although Gaultier provided a solid, coherent style, there were only two dresses which truly knocked me off my seat.
Both beautifully employing softly layered and texturised tulle, they made me drool a little. Just a little. First off, a striped silhouette of perfection with off shoulder straightness to follow the line of the stripes and fluttering out the fitted skirt under the knee to form a hint of train.

Ignore the styling and this is my one of my favourite dresses of the season. However, please ignore the gloves. Yes, I'm all for teaming up leather with delicate pieces, but not this way! The black chokers also unjustly detract form the gorgeously soft transition of color and just have a look at the richness of detail emulating cubist art in perfection.

Christian Dior
Christian Dior's show, as a whole, was breathtaking but somehow there was always something in every look that made me not like it. My favourite feature was the layered interlaced waves in the skirt, enhancing the volume and richness of fabric without losing structure nor movement, really beautifully placed yet natural. I'm not a fan of crystal beading, so that excluded most dresses to appear in this list. In fact, this dress actually have a little bit of beading just below the waist, but I chose to pretend it had none because other than that the dress is stunning!

Bouchra Jarra
This collection didn't seem very couture to me, but it says so on the package. I liked the fur used for the first piece, but the cut doesn't sit very well (you can even see the tip of the other side peaking out from underneath and I don't think that's intentional).

Gorgeous layered jacket but the trousers are awful. Silk or no silk, they remind me of trainers with that white line down the side.

This is the only piece that seemed to show some form of intricate craftsmanship. The tweed seems reminiscent of Chanel (one can never complain about the fabrics they use, just the cut this time) as well as tribal knotting in a gorgeous, shiny shade of silk cream offset with black. I would buy and wear this if I could afford it.

Alexis Mabille
A very "wedding" heavy collection, my favourite feature was the deep V neck front with bow, which makes the whole look innocent and sexy but I guess only works with front ... uh... figures which could also be a back *cough* in order to give it the necessary innocence. Apart from that gorgeous feature, the dress flows smoothly in a long, flattering silhouette with hip attached skirt enhancing side panels flowing in motion with the main skirt right into my heart.

I adore this piece as it reminds me of an vintage Armani gown I gifted my sister a few years ago. With delicate chiffon and round crystal buttons I particularly liked the shading of the top and wing-like sleeves that were used through the collection. Furthermore, the dress is multifunctional - it can be used as a beautiful gown with the voluminous taffeta skirt tied and nipped in at the waist, or as a knee length feminine piece on its own. But does anyone else think the taffeta over-skirt could have done with some last minute steaming?

All images taken from Vogue.co.uk.