Jantaminiau Couture AW1213

Photo by : Lauren Cashwell

It was a romantic comedia del arte feeling at the Jantaminiau couture show in Paris for the Autumn-Winter 2012-2013 collection. Bold and bright colors, voluminous tulle and geometric patterns that make us think of traditional Italian theater, Comedia del Arte… But isn’t that what couture is all about?!? The theatrics of the creativity of fashion, of couture…?!? This is what couture should do, I believe. It’s a show, a creation, impractical (sometimes) and beautiful, always beautiful always stunning. A piece of art. Like a staged spectacle. Continue reading

Didit Hediprasetyo – Couture AW1213

Video by Lauren Cashwell

There is a continuation this season of a certain cut, line and silouhette from Didit Hediprasetyo that segways nicely from last season’s couture collection, but presented with an injection of a bit more romance and quite a few more whimsical details.

The most immediate of those details being the color : a shimmering and delicate lavender shade, that when paired with the jet black coiffs of the models and the piercing ice colored eyes, gives of an idea of winter love and beauty. Continue reading

Eva Minge, Couture Spring 2012

Post written in collaboration with Hannah Perlmutter

Eva Minge, one of Poland’s most renowned designers, is definitely one to look out
for. Her designs sell well in Europe and New York, and her haute couture lines are red carpet quality.

Set in the luxury palace hotel the Shangri-la in the prestigious 16th arrondissement of Paris, her Spring 2012 haute couture show differed greatly from last Spring’s (where glam-rock and a Dracula inspired collection was shown). This Spring’s show was filled with black and white chic evening gowns and pants suits varying in lengths and fits with an obvious focus on the waistline, and the contours of the female body. She collaborated with Esotiq whose lingerie was shown with several of the looks.

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Quinntessential Style on Julien Fournié

Reposted from Quinntessntial Style

Fashion, Future, Fournié: Paris Couture Spring 2012

Fashion is ever changing, and Haute Couture is “the best laboratory [to experiment in] for fashion design”. Parisian designer, Julien Fournié, chose to enter the world of custom fitted garments not only because of the tradition of couture lying in Paris’ history, but also because of its role in the changes of fashion and his strong belief in its future. On January 24, 2012, Fournié presented his Spring-Summer 2012 couture collection, Première Extase, at the Showcase as a membre invité by the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne.

Me with Quinn of Quinntessential Style front row at Julien Fournié

This young designer is fashion-forward, maybe even ahead of our time. While working on his collection, he collaborated with Fashion Lab, created by Dassault Systèmes, a technology incubator which enables the collection design process to transform its 2D aspects into 3D, allowing the exploration of line within the designs. “Thanks to an original online digital library, [designers can] investigate materials to visualize, study, improve a virtual prototype before they make the real-life… piece, accelerating and enhancing thus [the] creative process before they get to work on the real-life mannequin”. With such advances in the design process, “codes of Haute Couture are being redefined for generations to come”. Considering the ‘trickle down theory’ of fashion, eventually standardized sizing may not be necessary, made-to-measure garments could be more readily available at lower costs.

His collaboration with Fashion Lab is a reflection of his belief in the future of fashion and how “this field of excellence will develop” especially if it continues to include future technological improvements. Fournié and Fashion Lab worked on reproducing fabrics’ would-be reactions, using digital tools. A few kinks need to be worked out though in regards to the custom fit of the garments, which became apparent with the tugging of several hemlines.
All in all, the end result of this technological partnership birthed a line of youthful, vibrant, tropical looks from the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ 2.0. To the soundtrack of a thunderstorm, Fournié’s ethereal beings guided us through a rainforest. Some dresses resembled hibiscus flowers with pleated, undulating yellow and pink floral structures blooming from the shoulder and wrapping around the body. Others sprouted plastic fringe that reinforced the rainstorm soundtrack with every swish of the hip.

 Julien Fournié at the Showcase (Images by Quinntessential Style)

See more images on Quinntessential Style

Claudine Ivari, In the Couture Category

Claudine Ivari, a young and very talented designer whom I discovered this past September, offered a presentation at her boutique in the Ritz hotel during the couture fashion week last month in Paris. I felt it was fitting for her to at least show a small part of her collection to the public since, as I have said before, her work is essentially couture although she presents her collections at the prête-à-porter fashion week. So many many hours of work go into each piece, and they all have such an undeniable quality of design as well as fabrication that they just deserve to be shown durring couture week! Continue reading

Didit Hediprasetyo couture 2012

Coiffed with Philip Treacy custom designed vegetable fibre turbans and hats that hint at the essence of colonial India, the models paraded the India-inspired collection, awash with ostrich leather and elephant prints that are made in collaboration with designer Calla Haynes and illustrator Christophe Lopez-Huici, set to live back ground music of sithars and barrel hand drums.

Photos : © Didit Hediprasetyo

I was somwhat disappointed with the cargo shorts, and felt they were out of place in a couture show, but as outlined in the press release, “for Hediprasetyo, it is of the utmost importance to weave total expression of freedom created by Couture in to the rituals of daily life.” So I suppose this explains the cargo shorts. They appeared in ostrich leather as well, so I felt they were more justified. Full skirts, dresses and tops also appeared in ostrich like this one below all in white.

Photos : © Didit Hediprasetyo

Photo : Prête-Moi Paris

Photo : Prête-Moi Paris

Corseted tops and accentuated hip sillouhettes, that Hediprasetyo calls the ultra feminine silhouette, marked this collection’s line and cut. The India reverie marked it’s spirit.

Photos : © Didit Hediprasetyo

Valerian Hughes AH11-12

During Haute Couture week at the beginning of July I stopped into the “atelier” or workshop of Valerian Hughes to check out his Fall-Winter 2011-2012 collection. It’s small but lovely.


On the top floor of a building on the Champs Elysées, guests mingled about with each other and the designer sipping champagne under the slanted rooftop walls, while waiting for the models to prepare for a mini défilé in the small space. It was cosy and intimate, and a bit sweltering under the hot tin Parisian roof.

But It’s always a pleasure for me to see the designers in their element at presentations like this. It’s much different than a grand catwalk or giant show room. Here friends, guests, journalists and bloggers all have direct access to the artist.

Eight pieces total were shown. His theme  is “Venus, star of the night” and it it looks sometimes like a step back in time, and sometimes completely modern, which is impressive that this kind of variation can be achieved in such a small collection.

Iris : Jacket in python and pencil skirt in satin silk and leather. I like the cinched waist and the skirted jacket with the tight fitting pencil skirt. A classic and classy silhouette. The python makes it feel a bit more modern and edgy :



Diane : With a generous fur collar and satin leather pleated vest in the back and a pencil skirt, this creation looks like it came right off a 1940’s magazine cover. All she’s missing is the cigarette stem and a few giant diamond rings :


Persephone : Satin silk in black with organza and silk flowers with black tulle. A very sultry piece, yet holds onto a more girly-feminine aspect with the silk and tulle flowers. But I bet that must itch on the skin all that tulle :


Luna : A kimono inspired long dress in a iridescent gray satin silk. So, the big bow is back huh? :


Aurore : Silver fox fur collar, with a silk skirt that is embellished with swaroswki crystals. I can image how soft that fur must feel against the bare skin….. This piece seems almost to lean towards racy with is non-existant back and revealing front. It brings the collection to a full circle of variety! :


Venilia : A bustier dress in dark gray silk satin and swaroswki crystals. A wide mermaid cut on the skirt and a slight scrunch just below the waist in front gives this gown a look that is très à la mode :


Venus : Midnight blue for the Venus, star of the night, with a python bustier and an organza bow, it’s sweet and slightly younger than most of the pieces of the collection.



The bride : Ivory silk satin with pleated quills of tulle, and a draped tulle and lace bustier and a veil bordered by crystals and lace… this bride is full of grace.




Didit couture FW1112


Set in the sumptuous hotel Palace, le Crillon, Didit served Champagne at the entrance and handed out black boxes with a single red rose in it at the exit. The show also took it’s sweet time before starting. Hey this is luxury people, no one wants to rush you!

Soft classical music floated throughout the two gilded rooms where buyers, journalists, bloggers, friends of the designer and other ticket holders were seated. Plush square white leather stools were lined around the two rooms. The rooms were big enough to seats guests, a group of photographers in one corner and spectators and allow the models to walk, but small enough to allow for an intimate feel and a detailed look at the garments. Continue reading

Strong Basil Soda Women

Basil Soda’s Fall-Winter 2011-2012 couture collection tries to convey the essence of strong and powerful women that moonlight at fantastic creatures as well. He uses bold colors and a pairing of gowns with vests as well as pronounces colors to get his idea across. But in order to preserve the mysterious and voluptuous side of the ladies he must dream up he tossed in some brooding grays and dusty pinks with plunging open backs and his choice of flowing fluttering fabrics that float along with the gait of his long legged models.

Basil wants his women fierce and feminine. The mermaids from the last (Spring) collection have disappeared to leave space for a more determined lady who walks with purpose even if she does look like she’s floating!

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Do-it-yourself Fashion

I fell in love with this boutique about a year ago when I first discovered it randomly (see that post here)…BDA. Initialed after it’s founder Bastien Del Ameida.

A concept vintage fashion store that also offers couture lessons. I wanted to try…. I finally got the occasion to thanks to a deal by Groupon purchased a few months ago.


You can come to your couture lesson with a project of your own, or you can go empty handed like I did, and hope that you will be able to decipher the teachings transmitted to you by the skilled couture seamstress. I was given a list of instructions with a pattern diagram on a sheet of paper, and I discovered that I was to learn how to draw my own pattern by following those instructions!

I first drew a pattern for a size 38 (French sizing) and once I had done that correctly, was instructed to create one for my own size, (which was just a few centimeters different from a size 38 so not too difficult). Um… did I just give you all my size???? Oh well, 38 is the most common size in France anyway… it’s the fist one to go on the sales racks.

Moving on…

The pattern I was drawing out was for a pencil skirt, created by the woman who gives the couture lessons.




There was like math and stuff… Drawing a pattern is not easy as pie… more like baklava or croissant level of difficulty.

Then you pin it to your fabric, cut around it with a 1 centimeter margin and head to the sewing machine!




The whole thing was quite a delightful experience, and the store had a slow yet steady stream of what seemed to be regulars coming in for a lesson to work on their projects, or coming in to talk about the progress of their custom made order (yep! they do custom made dresses!). I highly recommend heading over for a lesson or two, you will enjoy yourself immensely if you are the slightest bit interested in fashion, or like to create things. Plus you can browse their amazing collection of vintage couture for sale! There was a little white wiggle dress that caught my eye….