Fabiola on Fashion: Dispatches From the European Couture Shows

With the European couture collections almost finished — Valentino will wind things up tomorrow with a show in Rome — fashion correspondent Fabiola Beracasa checked in with Daily Intel via BlackBerry last night. What follows are highlights from Beracasa's lengthy account of fabulousness — we're holding the rest back because we don't want to blind readers with too much of the lavish excess. So what did Fab learn this year? That even when you pack 28 dresses, you still forget the right one; that military outfits are hot; and that the power of Karl Lagerfeld's genius extends even to the weather. After the jump, her lessons from this season's runways.

On the difficulties of packing enough clothes: "It’s cold in Paris. Which is something — as I sit here and unpack my twenty-eight dresses, six pairs of pants, twelve pairs of shoes, and two safes of jewelry — I realize I did not bring an outfit to compensate for. Sure, I have something for a Renaissance-inspired gypsy-themed bonfire on Normandy Beach and even an S&M Easter Egg hunt, but there's nothing for the cold."

On Monday's Dior show and after-party at Versailles: "In a word, it
was outrageous. The show was more theatrical than half the productions on Broadway. Afterwards I felt exhausted, like I’d woken up from the most inspiring dream ever. With tents, a stage, giant pots of paella, and more Champagne than you could drink in a decade, the party should have been fantastic. The only problem was this damn July winter. Even LVMH, it seems, can’t buy a heat wave. As I shivered toward the exit with Lauren Davis — who was stunning in Nina Ricci — and Camilla al Fayed, I bumped into Charlize Theron, who wore a ten-year-old Dior couture dress in honor of John's ten years at the house. She had flown in for less than 24 hours, so she breezed past me and, from what I hear, partied the night away with Mr. Galliano." (Watch a slideshow of the Dior collection.)

On the magic of Lagerfeld: "On Tuesday, I had to run uphill in a pair of plastic platform wedges (that might sound cheesy, but they’re Chanel, so trust that they weren’t too stripper), dodging Town Cars and mopeds, screaming in French, cussing in Spanish, and mouthing offensive slurs in English. Maybe it was better I ran, and that it was raining, and that I had to stand on the side of the runway just as the girls came out. The show was almost surreal: a park in Paris, my hair wet, my breath heavy, and my senses heightened, watching dresses twinkle by in a rainy haze. It was so romantic and luminous. Only Karl can make the rain dance with his dresses." (Watch a slideshow of the Chanel collection.)

On throwing flowers: "Lacroix was outrageously decorative and colorful and inspiring. I also really liked that we all had white carnations to throw at CL and Lily Cole when they walked out at the end. I'm afraid I took it quite literally, because I planted Lily Cole right in the head." (Watch a slideshow of the Lacroix collection.)

On the sexiness of uniforms: "Jean Paul Gaultier on Wednesday was a visual feast of military-themed glamorous dominatrix chic — think embellished hot pants, capes, silk trench coats, and a whip or two for good measure. Maybe it’s because there’s a little military slut in me or something, but it stands out now as one of my favorite shows of the week." (Watch a slideshow of the Gaultier collection.)

On the magic of Lagerfeld, cont'd.: "After the Armani Privé show — which I was late for, because I ran into Giles Bensimmon in the gym and we got to talking — we sprinted first to the Armani dinner then to Karl Lagerfeld’s house for a Dom Pérignon party. Karl complemented my new hair color, which made the whole trip to Paris completely worth it, because I worship him. Then to a secret Courtney Love performance at the Givenchy store. I would have hardly called myself a Love fan, but I must admit she looked and sounded amazing. The last stop was the Castel Club with Blasberg, Davis, Al Fayed, the Armani press boys (so cute, all of them!), W’s Treena Lombardo, and Camille Belle, who is adorable and amazing." (Watch a slideshow of the Armani Privé collection.)