Sunday, March 7, 2010

Couture Week: Armani Privé

Let's start with what I haven't reviewed: Anne Valerie Hash and Adeline Andre. I can never bring myself to care about Anne Valerie Hash in a meaningful couture week way, so I'm just not trying this year. The main interest of the collection was the mysterious use of like...disco magic fabrics. It was less tailored than Hash's stuff usually is, and it just wasn't that interesting. I'm sure the construction is gorgeous and of an extremely high quality, but the end result is just kind of boring and doesn't interest me as an artistic creation. The most interesting detail was the ONE model that had half a pointe shoe tied to her hand. I've linked the collection above, so if you'd like to check out either of these skipped collections, you can view them there. Adeline Andre's collection seems to have been some kind of performance-arty extravaganza, as you can see white-clad women outfitting the models in their respective colorful drapey caftan-adjacent things in the background of each picture. For someone who responds strongly to color (moi), it's a nice thing to look at, but to be honest, I don't see the value of it as a couture collection.

That being said, let's move on to Armani Privé. Lots of trends that we'll see throughout the week: pastels, structured shoulders, sculpted garments, and lots of shiny-shimmery action.
I loved the light minty-green color of this dress and the swirled details at waist and shoulder are perfectly deployed. I think the fabric at the neckline helps balance out what I don't usually like in one-shouldered looks. This successfully blends a pretty retro silhouette with a Jetsonsesque detail.
This is some kickass fabric. I like the one rounded shoulder a lot...some of the rounded-but-slopey shoulders like you see from last season's RTW Balenciaga or this year's Chanel couture make the model look slumpy, but this cut makes her look powerful and is much more positive. I actually WANT this suit.
A truly graceful dress. I love that one super-sculpted sleeve for its unusual shape and the way it sets the tone for the whole garment. I like how the swirl in the shoe fits with the whole look.
This is the same shape I loved in the dress Armani made for Lady Gaga at the Grammy's and I think that this is a compelling argument against complaints that Gaga is just a weirdo with no real fashion sense. This is gorgeous and the pebbley finish of the fabric really makes it special. A certain kind of person could wear this as a wedding dress, I think.
The one thing that really irked me about the Armani collection was the inclusion of these stupid crescent moons in the center of about half the outfits. I just think they're a little too...obvious? I don't know. I guess I don't like single graphic elements on suits. Aside from the crescent moon, though, I love this suit, particularly with the big portrait neckline. This makes me want to wear this suit outside in late April for that feeling of graceful structure with the luxury of bare skin on your upper chest.
I'm kind of ambivalent about the bolero-cape hybrid up top here, but I love these pants. The design was used throughout but I think you can see it best here in the black. They're almost like the shape of inverted chaps and give a really sleek, interesting look.
This is the look in which the moon bothered me least, because it works with the lines of the skirt and the ruffly fall of the jacket. I don't usually like padded shoulders, but I think they really work in the context of this outfit thanks to the neckline and the cohesion between ruffle detail and skirt.
This is just beautiful - bridesmaid for the lady in the Gaga dress? - love the color and love the cut. I even love the pointy shoulders!

I think this collection is what Anne Valerie Hash wants to put out each year - a well-made collection that's remarkable in its construction. The reason Armani succeeds where Hash fails is the particular flair for the dramatic that Armani is able to tap in to. It's less about glamour and more about drama, where Hash tends to go for a kind of cocktail party glamour that just doesn't quite jive with couture week.

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