Valentino Haute Couture Winter 2012

A paragon of exquisite craftsmanship, Haute Couture is the fabric of dreams, decadence and desire. Literally.
The exclusive, intangible nature of Haute Couture make it all the more captivating; however contemporary couture has started to acknowledge that understated elegance is just as alluring as ostentatious extravagance, if not more so. Valentino's Fall 2012 Haute Couture collection exemplifies this. Pairing minimalism with intricacy, and luxury with simplicity, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have united their distinct creative minds to create a refined collection of regal beauty. I love the notion of self-effacing luxury. I ADORE Valentino.
Oh to be a Valentino girl! If I was attending a red carpet event (with money being no object) Valentino would be the Couture House I would turn to for a bespoke dress. The contrasts within this particular collection are subtle and stunning, fusing the sensual and the severe. Sheer, floating evening gowns made from crepe, chiffon and lace capture romantic, fragile femininity, whilst demure jumpsuits embody a more modest, austere side of woman. (Women are complex creatures after all.) 

'La Toilette' by Gustave Moreau
'Salome' by Gustave Moreau
Inspired in part by the mystically intense images of French Symbolist painter Gustav Moreau who 'had a love of dark colours but never painted in black', the dark, enticing colour of midnight blue was a notable, enchanting feature of the collection. Signature red, yellow brocade and delicate florals were also prominent, suggesting changing states of the 19th century in an anthology which respects past tradition but celebrates future innovation.

There is naturally an elitism associated with Haute Couture; the fact that only a handful of fortunate women will wear these beautiful clothes (I read somewhere that less than 300 women worldwide regularly buy Haute Couture). However, in the midst of illusion and fantasy, there is a sense of  authenticity in Valentino's collection that is not too far beyond the realms of reality. Dreaming is all part of the magic though...

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