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Wearable pieces of art. Hours upon hours of detailed artistry, beading, stitching and eye for detail, haute couture makes its way down the runways twice a year in Paris and Italy. Tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of monetary value exchange hands from international buyers to designers, and while all of this ensures couture is out of reach for the common shopper (the super majority of people on the globe), still we watch, gaze, sigh and applaud.
Pierpaolo Piccioli, the creative director of Valentino, awed onlookers indeed this past week with his ‘sublime’ collection revealed in the Gaggiandre, or ship building yard, of Venice. Giambattista Valli juxtaposed gowns full of chiffon, and bubble-gum colors complete with square bobs against Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer’s linear and cement design.
To quote Valli, “couture is about fantasy”, and that is not an understatement. So what can we common shoppers do with the inspiration? Much.
Today, I’ll share with you eight takeaways from the Fall 2021 Couture collections, and hopefully stir excitement to polish up your upcoming fall capsule wardrobe.
1.Two solid brilliant colors – one as primary, one as accent
Valentino’s collection heeded this style wisdom continually with many outfits that walked down the runway. Below the bright teal against the cool purple speaks to confidence without arrogance, simplicity without excess. Notice: no jewelry as the two colors complete the look all on their own. Even the shoes are understated. Keep footwear nude or clear to again, let the two brilliant colors sing their harmony.
The key is to choose two colors with the same color tone – cool tones (seen here) with cool tones; warm tones with warm tones, etc..
2. Mixing a loose drape with a touch of reveal
Much like an oversized boyfriend button-up shirt that is clearly not revealing your silhouette, when just enough buttons are undone based on your body, you share without exposing, balancing proportion with shape. Jenna Lyons may arguably take this style idea a step too far in her most recent series, but at the same time, she may have figure it out to perfection.
Valentino (below) showed expertise in this combination again and again again.
3. Low, big and cinched
Neckline – deep ‘V’. Sleeves – loose, blouson, yet notice – a cinched waist. The figure wearing the dress is clear – svelte, stunning, chic. Yet none of the outfit is skin-tight. The neckline elongates, the waist acknowledges the body, but the rest provides proportion and confidence.
4. Tailored on the top, oversized on the bottom
Heading back to the office, the meetings, more in-person work-time is happening, although maybe a bit improved, but that doesn’t mean we can’t mix the two – tailored and comfortable. Armani Privé’s collection and Chanel’s shared many different options of just this combination. Seek out tailored blazers and jackets, and pair with bottoms – wide-leg pants, over the top of a jumper – to create a look for day and evening.
5. Same hue, different textures
The bandeau top is going to be around for this season and maybe another one, and while I am not hopping on that bandwagon (the young can keep it, although I do appreciate it highlights fitness rather than previous focuses), I am loving the reminder of adhering to the same color, yet layering different textures of that color. Much like layering a room when decorating (upholstery with wood and metals; different types of fabrics, etc.) when we apply the same technique to our wardrobe, we keep the woman wearing the clothes at the forefront and present an effortless, absolutely chic look.
6. Hats and bare shoulders
Take the time and gather up your patience to find the ideal width of hat brim to work with your face and body. Once you know, keep your eyes open for the style and color you love, and invest (or not, sometimes, the best ones are quite inexpensive). Wear in the summer paired with sleeveless or strapless dresses or tops, and the hat is your accessory, leaving very little else to add.
7. How to wear a scarf 101
Okay, I know, there are many ways to wear a scarf, but a simple drape of a large rectangular scarf, belted at the waist is one of the simplest and chicest inspired from the French culture. Try it for winter and outerwear as well as silk scarves for outfits in the summer.
8. One statement of jewelry paired with a statement outfit that stuns
Once you’ve determined what colors complement your skin tone and hair color, master the skill of selecting well-made items. They will not only fit and move with you well, but help your true beauty shine. The single selection of a jewelry piece exemplifies restraint and confidence to know what works and what pairs well with your attire.