Critics Frustrated by Armani Privé, Wowed by Gaultier’s Winehouse-Inspired Homage

From left: Chanel, Giambattista Valli, Armani Prive



• “[A] marvelous show … much of fashion deals with the sleek and the purring, rather than the raw and the fragile … the style was not artificial. We’ve lately seen a lot of polished dresses and outfits, so maybe it’s time to shift gears.” [On the Runway/NYT]

• “[E]xhilarating … the collection was a joyful homage … The couturier completely wowed.” [Fashion Wire Daily]

• “[A] grab bag of attention-nabbing numbers with a healthy dose of cheekiness and a morose undercurrent … the latest bold gamut of Gaultier creations.” [Fashion Wire Daily]

• “Unlikely as the union may seem, Gaultier managed to turn his couture presentation into both a celebratory send-off for Winehouse and a colorful addition to his gallery of beautiful oddities.” []

• “[A] wonderful and loving tribute … As ever with this famously – and lovably – eccentric Frenchman, it bordered on the level of good taste but he made it look brilliant.” [Vogue UK]

• “This felt at best ill-advised: a young woman who died tragically less than a year ago the fodder for an oh-so-feisty fashion show … Whatever one’s take on the motif, the clothes — though amply tricked-out and tarted-up — were most often beautiful.” [WWD]

See the Full Spring 2012 Jean Paul Gaultier Couture Collection.


• “I found myself slightly hypnotized by the [all blue] effect, as you would be if staring at a blue garden. And I thought his lean, no-nonsense shapes — free of tricks, corsets (albeit with spectacular embroidery for evening) — expressed a rare degree of self-assurance.” [NYT]

• “[F]orget the plane. What truly dazzled were the clothes … Not only was the embroidery extraordinary looking, it also did not overwhelm the generally spare lines of the clothes … It was a great look.” [On the Runway/NYT]

• “Though the collection will not rank as one of his most revolutionary for Chanel, nor its most audacious, the clothes had a certain elan that was highly engaging, and really rather unique … it was a reminder than when it comes to delivery and message telling, Chanel is the best-oiled machine in fashion — one without any real peer.” [Fashion Wire Daily]

• “The vision presented by the Chanel show was streamlined, upbeat, and forward-looking … The key point in the presentation was a new fashion attitude … there was a classic elegance about the result.” []

• “It was quite the incredible production, as only Karl can do …This was still very much a streamlined and technological outing from Mr Lagerfeld.” [Vogue UK]

• “[T]ime and again Lagerfeld proves himself the master of his craft, and his relationship with Chanel … remarkable … [the clothes] were the main event.” [WWD]

See the Full Spring 2012 Chanel Couture Collection.



• “[The floral dresses had] an open-air feel to them ... But while the prints looked feminine, the collection’s virginal innocence seemed precious and eventually it just got on your nerves. And I had the feeling I was looking at children, decorative, doll-like children, and not real women.” [On the Runway/NYT]

• “Even a complete boor could not help being impressed by the house's dedication to drama and beauty … [There was] one element that this collection lacked — the high-end sexiness that has always been key to Valentino.” [Fashion Wire Daily]

• “Examined up close in the atelier, the workmanship defied comprehension … the heart-stopping delicacy that distinguished the collection. But there was a real resilience, too … [The show’s] story was their most exquisite yet.” []

• “It was a lovely show and a very romantic and girlish take on couture … It was all very prim and very pretty and had something of Jane Eyre about it with the high Victorian necks and the covered up nature of the looks.” [Vogue UK]

“[A] Valentino collection with a surface so lovely and gentle that it masked the lineup’s core bravado … [T]he designers acted boldly when they opted to ignore standard red-carpet convention — curvy, sexy, sparkly — in favor of lovely discretion pushed to the point of modesty.” [WWD]

See the Full Spring 2012 Valentino Couture Collection.


• “[T]he clothes were a step above his ready-to-wear … Yet, despite the technique and the bold snake motifs, the clothes were not inspiring. To me, the experience was not all that different from watching a very good ready-to-wear show a decade ago.” [NYT]

• “[Armani] is the couturier who has taken the most risks … The clothes were pretty hit and miss. But that's what happens when you think outside the box, which Armani has done more than any other couturier in Paris this week.”[Fashion Wire Daily]

• “[H]is most persuasive couture outing to date … The strong contrast [of shrugged-off casualness and tousled hair] made for a strong show.” []

• “It was as though he had taken a trip to the reptile house and come out the other end with quite the different conclusion than you or I might.” [Vogue UK]

• “The collection was lavish and hyper-controlled. Sensuous and severe. Exquisite and exquisitely frustrating … What the collection lacked was a sense of adventure beyond the calculated exotica — which is where the frustration came in. Amidst all the gorgeousness, it would have delighted had Armani dared to rescind momentarily from the archness of it all.” [WWD]

See the Full Spring 2012 Giorgio Armani Privé Couture Collection.


• “Mr. Valli’s collection fell short ... It was clear his aim was to give his youngish clients elegant clothes with feminine flourishes like feathers and flowing skirts, but the styles seemed composites of movie costumes from the ’30s and ’40s — bits of Adrian cut and pasted with something else.” [NYT]

• “[P]reciously beautiful and attention grabbing… Many looks were quite simply ravishing… However, Valli's very desire to show off his atelier's skill to prove his mastery of couture's demanding skills ultimately weighed on quite a few looks, particularly for evening. Too often the net effect was overly grand… The problem with this show [was that] it did not come across as particularly experimental.” [Fashion Wire Daily]

• “Valli decided to offer his own personal ABC of couture, everything he'd ever learned in an atelier on one catwalk.” []

• “Valli’s work is so high that he is eligible for the honour [of being named a full-fledged couture designer years early]. And today he continued to prove why.” [Vogue UK]

• “[Many of the clothes] had a distinct French accent, with nods to Christian Dior in the pinched waists, molded peplums and polka dots … But the most impactful looks were often the simplest.” [WWD]

See the Full Spring 2012 Giambattista Valli Couture Collection.


• “Perhaps Mr. Gaytten, [Galliano’s] former right-hand, has gone too far in the opposite direction; some of the dresses, despite being transparent, had a certain first communion look … Dior needs a designer with real, imaginative weight. And there is little sense of when someone will be.” [On the Runway/NYT]

• “[T]he work that it never looked cheap, just full on chic … Not all his evening looks worked – some were on the wrong side of familiar…[But] the abiding memory of this show was the sheer sauciness served up by Gaytten.” [Fashion Wire Daily]

• “[A] show that dared to inject an unfinished quality into the most polished fashion arena of them all … Gaytten understands, as did Galliano, that if you reveal the machinery, you can enhance the mystery.” []

• “Overall, it was understated in the scheme of couture and, though very pretty, lacked that mesmerising fantasy element and was perhaps too big a shift a direction into wearable.” [Vogue UK]

• “One wished [Gaytten] had felt comfortable taking more liberties ... As it was, the collection gave scant indication of who Gaytten is as a designer. An expert dressmaker can render literal translations; it’s now time for someone, whether Gaytten, Raf Simons or fill-in-the-blank, to have the freedom and confidence to translate the legendary codes into a new language.” [WWD]

See the Full Spring 2012 Christian Dior Couture Collection.