Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week just wrapped up and it left me utterly inspired. I was excited from the first moments with Schiaparelli to the breathtaking finale with Valentino. There seemed to be more shows at couture week than ever. It gave way to many younger couture houses like Ashi Studio, Rami Kadi, August Getty, and Yolancris all showing their first runway show during the week. Atelier Versace still remains a private appointment only presentation in Paris. It was choc full of many potential red carpet moments that it was hard to narrow the list down to the 20 looks I loved the most and really want to see brought to life on the red carpet. 834 looks were saved to my archive and are laying in wait to be used for events like the Grammy Awards and the Oscars, the Met Gala and the Cannes Film Festival, and more. Alexandre Vauthier: We have seen Alexandre Vauthier giving a lot of 80’s takes on shapes over the last couple of seasons. That didn’t change much this season, but it was mixed with a 60’s vibe. I learned to love Vauthier because of his exuberant sex appeal and there was definitely a lot in this latest collection. He only sent two tea length gowns down the runway. Everything else was shorter. It was a butter yellow portrait neckline mini dress which features a bubble hem, a ruched draped bodice and waist, and dramatic puffy sleeves was the stand out look from this collection to me, though there were several, and I want to entrust Ciara with bringing it to life on the red carpet. She hast the statuesque glamour and edgy presence to really make a look like this, with those sleeves, work.
Alexis Mabille: I always am excited for what Alexis Mabille is going to send down the runway. It usually isn’t very surprising as to the aesthetic, as every season has very similar notions about it, but I always love what he does. He knows how to deliver drama and glamour. Personally I think he is a very underrated designer. When it comes to seeing his designs on the red carpet it tends to only happen during the Cannes Film Festival. I would love to see stars step out of the normal small basket of ‘A-list Hollywood designers’ and give some of the really beautiful moments in this collection a shot. Evan Rachel Wood was honestly the first person I thought of with this collection because the moment I saw this long trench dress in black lacquered jersey inlaid with black cross-stitched tulle and jeweled buttons I immediately knew it would be a major moment. I even talked to her stylist about this gown.
Antonio Grimaldi: Antonio Grimaldi is a Rome based couturier, who shoes during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. I first learned who he was last season. His bold use of structure and expert draping really caught my eye. So needless to say I was very intrigued to see what he would bring to the runway this season. He didn’t disappoint. He showed looks that are worthy of walking the red carpets at all of the major events from this coming weekends SAG Awards, to the Grammy’s, to the Oscars, and to the Cannes Film Festival. Something tells me that it will be emerging stars that make this brand a red carpet favorite. Angela Sarafayn is the only star who I have put a look from Antonio Grimaldi on a wish list for, I picked a gown from his Fall 2018 Couture show for her to wear for the Emmy Awards, and I honestly think that the two would be a match made in heaven. I think that she has the presence to really make this white one shouldered ruffled column gown really work. I think that the person who wears this gown needs height, grace, glamour, and presence and Angela has all of that in the perfect package.
Armani Prive: While this list is dominated mostly with newer names to the couture world there was no way I couldn’t give some time to some of the old masters. Mister Giorgio Armani knows how to deliver a collection and a theme. Sometimes I honestly think he gets too into a color palette. This season it was electric blue and fire engine red. Almost every single look in the 86 look collection had some sort of use of one color or the other. It was just a lot of red and blue. If I was shooting a haute couture editorial based on the American two party political system the looks from this collection would be on the top of my call list. I do however want to see many of the looks from this collection on the red carpet. It was heavily about suits and cocktail dresses (a lot of designers showed less gowns this season) and this red and blue color blocked strapless pencil dress which features a sequin patterned bodice was definitely my favorite piece from the collection. The two colors meshed ever so chic-ly together and I feel like it would be the perfect choice for Anne Hathaway to get her style back on track. Ashi Studio: The very last show of Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week was the runway debut of Ashi Studio. I still remember the first time I fell in love with an Ashi Studio design. It was on Sonam Kapoor and ended up on my Best Dressed of 2015 list. Since then the brand has always presented lookbooks instead of runway shows. This season we saw that change with a very intimate runway show. That didn’t mean that Mr. Ashi decided to tone down the drama, at all. The gowns, cocktail dresses, and jumpsuits in this collection were just as big as ever. I LOVED this bold green off the shoulder silk jumpsuit which features a bubble draped cape and flared leg pants and I want to entrust it to another Bollywood beauty, Deepika Padukone. She took home a spot in my Best Dressed of 2018 list in a look from Ashi and I definitely think that she would really be able to sell this to me as well.
August Getty: This seasons couture week was full of first time presenters. Hollywood party brand August Getty made his Paris debut too. I always associate August Getty with more of a party look, but he gave us (almost) nothing but couture worthy drama with his Spring 2019 Couture collection. I saw this strapless gold fully beaded column gown which features a folded asymmetrical peplum from the waist up on Instagram before I ever saw the lookbook from this collection and I immediately fell in love. We don’t see much August Getty on the red carpet, but this gown definitely deserves a moment. Kristen Bell isn’t usually the first person I think of when I think of couture week wish lists, but I really do think that this gown would really help put Kristen Bell on top of some best dressed lists.
Balmain: Keeping up with couture week debuts is the first couture collection from Balmain under creative director Olivier Rousting. We haven’t seen Balmain on a couture week runway since Oscar de la Renta left the brand in 2002. 17 years later the brands first black creative director took the plunge and put the brand back on the schedule. I was really excited about this collection the way it was being teased in the days leading up to its presentation, but I won’t lie I was very underwhelmed. I have often thought that Olivier takes ideas too far, and that is what happened with a good percentage of this collection. Of the 36 looks in this collection I would just say that about 10 were really worthy of making it of the runway. Most were too over thought. I actually saw this soft pink bell shaped ruffled skirt on Olivier’s Instagram and it was one of the pieces that I was most excited about. I loved the sculpted metal bustier spray painted that he paired with the skirt for the runway. Rihanna was one of the first that came to mind. She knows how to deliver big dramatic moments on the red carpet. My only concern for her wearing this gown would be the fact that I think that it would get a lot of comparisons to the Giambattista Valli Couture gown she wore to the Grammy Awards back in 2015.
Chanel: I let out an audible gasp when I heard that Karl Lagerfeld didn’t take his customary bow at the end of the Chanel Spring 2019 Couture show because he was “very tired.” I think that it made more of a realization that Karl is getting older and that he will not be at the helm of Chanel forever. He hasn’t missed a Chanel show since he took over the reigns of the brand back in 1983. I have to say he might be getting older, 85 to be exact, but he is anything but tired. I think that this collection was his best couture show ever. He somehow continues to top himself. I don’t know how. I don’t want to question it. I just want to continue to savor his creative genius. It was really hard to pick a favorite so I went to the look that made a celeb pop into my head first. I love this ruffled navy cocktail gown which features those bold sleeves, intricate floral embellishments, side cutouts, and flared hem and the moment I saw a photo of this gown on the runway Saoirse Ronan immediately popped into my mind. Elie Saab: When it comes to red carpet gowns we know that we are going to get a whole treasure trove of them on the runway at the Elie Saab Couture show. We haven’t seen as much of his designs on the red carpet, but there are a lot from this collection that I want to see brought to life on the red carpet. The gorgeous Celine Dion might not have taken to the front row at the Elie Saab show, even though she was all over the front rows this season, but I really want to see her give this golden moment a red carpet turn with this gold sequin one shoulder bow detail gown. Celine always delivers a great red carpet moment and I definitely think that this would be perfect for either the red carpet or an on stage performance.
Georges Hobeika: I have long loved Georges Hobeika on the runways and the red carpets and I have to say that the last couple of seasons he has just kept topping himself. He might have a bit of a niche, but he knows how to deliver a new collection each season that always draws me in. This season he was inspired by Marie Antoinette, though my favorite gown was a little more Madame Du Barry. I love this black strapless gown which features a sweetheart neckline, 3D tinsel details, and draped beaded ‘sleeves,’ a ball skirt, and a dramatic train. As soon as I saw this gown I immediately pictured it on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival and who better to give it the moment it deserves than the Queen of Cannes Aishwarya Rai?
Giambattista Valli: Every season Giambattista Valli delivers volume and drama on the runway during Paris Fashion Week. I have long loved Giambattista since the days where before he had a couture label and every season he proves why. His use of ruffles and color always makes my heart flutter. There were A LOT of really great looks but this bold red ruffled mullet gown which features a bow detail off the shoulder sweetheart neckline and a dramatic train really got me excited. I definitely don’t think that this gown will go unworn long. Something tells me Oscar night is the night for this gown and I definitely could see Lily Collins bringing it to life on the red carpet at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party.
Givenchy: Since Clare Waight Keller took over the reigns at Givenchy I have been OBSESSED. She has dressed literally everyone. I love what she has done with the house. She has modernized the codes that Hubert de Givenchy established back in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s for the modern age and does it with ease. She doesn’t send looks down the runway that make me scratch my head. I might not always love everything, but I never hate what she does. Picking one look from this collection was really hard. I did fall in love with this silver cap sleeve intricately embellished cap sleeve gown the moment it came down the runway and it has already been in another wish list (for Gaga to wear at the SAG Awards,) but I can also imagine Julianne Moore rocking this gown on the red carpet up the steps of the Palais de Festivals at the Cannes Film Festival.Iris Van Herpen: I talk about creativity a lot. I always want bold new creative styles, textures, patterns, and embellishments. No one does that quite as well as Iris Van Herpen. The Dutch designer knows how to deliver all of that. She gives me a collection every season that creates new and innovative styles. While the overall vibe doesn’t change from season to season I am always captivated by what she sends down the runway. In fact she can count the queen of androgyny and innovation, Tilda Swinton, as one of her fans as she snatched a gown right off the runway earlier this week hours after it had first been presented. This season was the most ‘wearable’ that we have ever seen Iris send down the runway, but that didn’t mean that she lost any of that innovation that I have long loved about her style. This nude, merlot, and burnt orange cape cocktail dress is probably the most ‘wearable’ piece in this collection and I can only imagine it on the back of the stunning Zendaya. Maybe for the world promotional tour for Spider-Man: Far From Home?
Jean Paul Gaultier: I had pretty much fallen out of love with Jean Paul Gaultier. His designs were coming off very tired and despite couture being the only label he is designing for anymore things were coming off very “Project Runway” instead of Paris Haute Couture. That was not the case this season though. I LOVED a lot of what the iconic French couturier sent down the runway. It had a lot of that edge that made him famous and done in a very modern way. I was taken with this electric blue pleated bodysuit gown which features bold pointed shoulders, padded hips, a plunging neckline, and that waist high center split. It isn’t something many would be able to really make work off the runway, but I would bet that iconic supermodel Naomi Campbell would be up for the challenge.
Ralph & Russo: Would a haute couture wish list be complete without something from Ralph & Russo? The brand delivers chic and glamorous moments every season. I will say that overall this seasons collection wasn’t my favorite. It lacked cohesion. That didn’t stop me from loving looks that came down the runway individually. I absolutely adore this lavender asymmetric lamé off-the- shoulder ball gown, featuring voluminous peplum skirt, high low bubble hemline, and ruffle neckline. Give me a hell of a lot of glamour and the right woman and I know that I could easily fall in love with this on a red carpet. It could easily be worn at any of the remaining awards season events or at the Cannes Film Festival, but wherever it gets it’s moment I would love to see it brought to life by Lady Gaga.
Stephane Rolland: If you are looking for edgy glam then each season you need look no further than Stephane Rolland. He knows how to bring volume, draping, constructing, and drama to a runway. I always get excited about his collections and this season was no different. I won’t lie to you when I say that his shows are not what they used to be, but there are still many chic moments that come down his runway. This asymmetrical cape gown which features a nude pleated under gown was easily one of the best looks to come down the runway in Paris last week. It gives that perfect modern glam moment with just a hint of edge. Cate Blanchett has never worn Stephane Rolland on the red carpet before, but I definitely think that she could handle the task of really bringing this down to life. Tony Ward: I almost always put Tony Ward in the b-list celebrity and pageant girl category, and while most of his Spring 2019 Couture collection was just that there were a few looks that really wowed me. This dark aubergine mermaid gown which features an intricate ‘winged’ bodice was one of those moments. This look was one of the early looks during couture week and being that it was from Tony Ward could have easily meant that it would never have made the cut for this list, but even with all of the historic houses that showed great collections this gown continued to stick in the back of my mind. It was the edgy, dramatic, glamorous, and avant garde moment that I always crave during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week and I know I wouldn’t be disappointed in seeing it on a red carpet. Pink was a star that I remember wearing a Tony Ward creation for the Grammy Awards several years ago. It was one of her best red carpet looks ever and I definitely think that if she turned to the designer again that this gown would be amazing on her.
Valentino: Pierpaolo Piccioli ALWAYS makes my heart flutter when I watch his shows. Since Maria Grazia Chiuri left his side to helm Dior I think that PPP has flourished. I know that he was the one with the creative talent and she held him down. Now that he can take the brand wherever he wants I know that he really is a genius. People literally cry at his couture shows. Last season it was Tracee Ellis Ross and this season it was Celine Dion. He earns those tears and standing ovations because he brings the definition of couture to life. I said to another fashion loving friend as I was watching this show on the livestream that this year at the Met Gala that Valentino should have a huge squad on the red carpet because the bold designs that Pierpaolo sent down this runway all fit the “Camp” theme PERFECTLY. One look I loved in particular was this bold yellow strapless trapeze gown with a dramatic bow attached at the back (big bows were a huge trend this season) and I definitely think that Kiki Layne would be a perfect choice to give this gown a moment, especially if it was for her first Met Gala.
Yolancris: Before seeing this collection the only time I have ever heard of Yolancris, a Barcelona based brand, was through bridal collections and a gown that Lady Gaga wore for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. I was really excited though to see what would come from a couture runway show in Paris, and I wasn’t disappointed. This is definitely one of the brands to watch. As the looks came down the runway I pictured all kinds of stars wearing these gowns and cocktail dresses. I really fell in love with this pink intricately beaded one shoulder bow detail column gown and the thought of it on Gwyneth Paltrow really make me excited.
Zuhair Murad: Last but not least is the beautiful Zuhair Murad Spring 2019 Couture collection. I have felt for a while now that Zuhair just gets better and better from season to season without leaving their narrow scope of sexy, dramatic, and extreme embellished gowns. The designer sent down the runway a collection inspired by the sea. I could have literally had the soundtrack to The Little Mermaid playing and I would have probably loved it even more. The gowns evoked that glamorous and sexy spirit that the mythical sea creature of legend is supposed to have and I know that we will be seeing a lot of the gowns, jumpsuits, and cocktail dresses from this collection on the red carpet. Kate Beckinsale would shut down whatever red carpet she stepped onto if she would wear this dark teal strapless gown which features a dramatic ruffle down the front, a line skirt, thin belted waist, thigh high split and dramatic train.
I really have loved this season and I cannot wait to see who snatched these gowns, and more, off the runways for the red carpet. I have been posting (and continue to post) wish lists for the collections in my Instagram stories. You can catch all of them on my Instagram profile in highlights called “SS19 Wishes.” Head on over there to check them all out!