I mentioned at the end of my wishes for Resort 2020 that my wishes that I was in this dark space of lost inspiration and had seriously considered shuttering If I Was A Stylist. I find my inspiration in the clothes that come down the runways and red carpets and the stuff we saw the first half of the year was less than enthusiastic. The things that came down the runways in Paris during Fall 2019 Haute Couture Fashion Week really got me excited to start heading into fall film festival season, the Emmy Awards, and then into awards season. I wanted to narrow down my favorites list down to 10 or 15 as I typically do, but I just couldn’t. So here we have 20 of my favorite looks to come down the Paris Fashion Week runways, and a couple bonus collections, and who I want to see bring them to life on the red carpet. Are you ready? Antonio Grimaldi: Antonio Grimaldi is a Rome based couturier whom we have really only seen very little from when it comes to the red carpet. He apparently has money behind him because he was able to buy a sponsored posting of his Fall 2019 Couture collection on Vogue Runway, which is a $20,000 fee. The brands Fall 2019 Couture collection was another intricate explanation of the designers love of architectural details. It delivered a lot of glamour. I definitely would love to see him bring in a big PR team like La Chambre, Film Fashion, or the one man powerhouse Mohieb Dahabieh to really bring the brand to the red carpet. To this point the biggest stars to wear the brand have been Eva Longoria and Felicity Huffman and to really successfully wear the more avant garde styles have been Hungarian actress Juli Jakab and Italian actress Maria Pia Calzone. Any of the PR powerhouses I’ve mentioned could make sure that this strapless white origami corseted column gown which features bead and feature embellishments and a dramatic train ends up on the ultimate blonde bombshell Blake Lively.
Ashi Studio: After hosting an intimate runway show for spring Ashi Studio was back to showcasing their collection in a lookbook again this season. I feel like the lookbook is a better idea for Ashi Studio since the brands signature style is so over the top and dramatic. I think that the lookbook allows for details not to get lost while walking. On the other hand lookbooks only allow for viewing from limited angles. The 26 look collection was titled “The Silence in the Mirror” and is a reflection of the true experience of human grief and the kaleidoscope of emotions that it may embody. This coral pink silk faille sleeveless ballgown which was paired with matching giant bow detailed gloves was definitely one of the high points of the collection. It took my breath away immediately. It screams glamour and drama. I am definitely hoping to see this gown on a red carpet and who would be better to bring it to life than Deepika Padukone?
Atelier Versace: Donatella Versace has been off of the couture show circuit for about 3 years now. I really miss Versace runway shows. The presentation of Atelier Versace in a suite and the release of a lookbook is just not enough for me. That being said most Atelier Versace lookbooks are very straight forward and showcase the collection in a very simplistic manner that also flows with the inspiration. This season the tropical meet wheat field that was constructed for the lookbook was distracting. The collection itself was very disjointed in my opinion. We had very distinct Versace does the West, Pop Art, and then reinterpretations of 80’s and 90’s looks that also seemed to be the starting place for many of the custom looks that Donatella sent up the steps at the Met Gala. On an individual level there are some really amazing looks in this collection and I believe that we will see many of these looks on the red carpet. Taylor Swift has gone back to her frothy princess-y style after a brief turn for the more mature and sexy. I definitely think thought of her as soon as I saw this baby pink and mint corseted ballgown with thin straps and a fully ruffled skirt. I might want to see it turned strapless and with a longer train.
Azzi & Osta: I honestly thought I had put together this list when I saw a couple of photos on Instagram of the Azzi & Osta Fall 2019 Couture collection. The collection is inspired by 1950’s Irving Penn photos. Each look definitely evoked that glamorous era, but done in very modern way. The collection is definitely still very Azzi & Osta incorporating the brands signature architectural draping. I honestly had a really hard time narrowing down my favorite look from this collection. I absolutely will be trying to incorporate the amazingly dramatic glamour of the looks from this season in to my wishes for fall film festivals, award shows, movie premieres, and heading into awards season 2020. This pastel sage strapless fit to flare gown with draped rose details on the neckline and hip peplum, a daring side split, and a dramatic tulle train is just one of the many looks which define glamour in this collection and I feel like it would be amazing on the style chameleon known as Zendaya.Christian Dior: Regular readers will know I am definitely not a cheerleader for Maria Grazia Chiuri as the creative director of Christian Dior, but I do applaud her when I finally really love something. This season I was able to watch several of the collection on livestream and the Dior show was one of them. The show took place at Dior’s Avenue Montaigne headquarters, which will soon undergo renovations, and was designed by London-born American artist of the 1960s Penny Slinger’s photographs of the natural elements decorating the walls, which featured a tree of life spiraling up the central staircase, which was also decorated with one of her caryatids. The show started with a simple gown which read “Are Clothes Modern?” The slogan aesthetic has become a fixture of Chiuri’s Dior, and it made me fearful for the looks that could come next. The more casual, as casual as couture gets, suits that came down the stairs immediately following were pretty standard, basically what I was expecting. But the next came the gowns. Mostly in black and charcoals and they definitely have dramatic presence and actually got me really excited to see each next look come down the runway. My favorite look from the collection came courtesy of this burgundy to charcoal textured silk taffeta ball gown which features an asymmetrically draped corseted bodice and a full ball skirt with a train that I definitely think that Kate Young should option for Natalie Portman for some of the fall film festivals if any her upcoming film get selected. Overall this is probably my favorite offering from Maria Grazia Chiuri so far. I’m not going to up my expectations though.
Elie Saab: When it comes to Parisian Haute Couture every season, at least once if not multiple times, I feel like we have to have a conversation about what is considered cultural appropriation, what is appropriate inspiration, and what walks the line. This is far from the first time that Elie Saab has made me start the conversation on his collections this way. This season it seemed that he was inspired by ancient China. There were distinct inspiration from cut which evoke images of Chinese empresses and women of high rank displaying their beauty and influence. Overall I felt like the former King of the Red Carpet took a big of a fall this season as a lot of the looks from this collection are unwearable by anyone not of Chinese descent for fear of being accused of cultural appropriation. I believe that there are definitely a small handful of gowns from this 57 look collection that have a potential to be worn. This dusty pastel blue and gold log sleeve ballgown which features dramatic shoulders, a sexy neckline, a velvet and metal belted waisted, full skirt, a wrap style skirt, and a dramatic slit is one of them and I believe that Aishwarya Rai would definitely be the perfect person to bring it to life. Should she put this look on reserve for next years Cannes?
Fendi: There were only a couple of collections in my history of watching shows that truly captivated me and physically took my breath away. The Fendi Fall 2019 Couture collection was one. It was a tribute to Karl Lagerfeld staged in the shadow of the Colosseum in Rome. The collection took its inspiration from the history of Rome itself. It wasn’t the same costume-y take on Rome that Gucci showcased last month for their cruise show. Instead the clothes took their cue from the floors of Rome. The ancient mosaics, timeworn terra-cotta or stone, and the marble that once clad the Colosseum itself as well as the plants that have grown through those monuments and the sturdy roots linking them to the city’s history. The overall vibe of the collection read very 70’s elegance. From the chic bowl cut wigs worn by every model to the duster coats everything about this collection defined luxury. The piece that really made my jaw drop and go WOW out loud was a pastel colored marble mosaic ballgown which features big sleeves, and sequin panels on the hem. It was like floors meets Scarlet O’Hara meets Elle Fanning and I definitely think that she would be the absolute perfect person to bring this chic glamour moment to life on the red carpet.
Georges Chakra: When it comes to couture week I can always count on Georges Chakra to deliver nothing but ready carpet ready glamour. The Beirut-based Lebanese haute couture fashion designer doesn’t try to get overly conceptual with big sets or big stories. Instead he lets the clothes in the collection do all the talking. It works for him. This season he was inspired by Hollywood’s Golden Age, embracing the sophistication of Rita Hayworth, the glamour of Lauren Bacall, Olivia de Haviland’s blondness and Audrey Hepburn’s assured femininity. I definitely loved this crossed neckline draped goddess gown in silver to gold gradient sunset lamé the moment it came down the runway. The chic shimmering glamour is something that I definitely think that Patricia Clarkson would be drawn to. She wore the designers gowns for both the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards earlier this year and won. She is expected to get nominated for an Emmy for that same role shes already won for twice before already. Is the designer her good luck charm?Georges Hobeika: Is looking like a major player in the upcoming fall festival season and for the Emmy Awards given the fact that he is now being represented by one of the hardest working PR men in the industry. He got 7 placements for his newest client at the Cannes Film Festival and I am sure that will only grow. The designer loves to take inspiration from flora and fauna and this seasons collection pays tribute to wild majesty sent soaring on the bright and flamboyantly colored feathers of the bird of paradise. Celebrated for its extraordinary dance that crowns a captivating, seductive, and passionate courtship ritual, the bird and its signature aerial grace is vibrantly echoed in the imagination of Georges Hobeika. This was definitely the first time I can say that Hobeika has embraced such bold colors as the saffron yellow that creates the silk satin strapless bow detail crop top of my favorite look which is paired with a silver tea length sarong style skirt. I don’t know what about this youthful moment really spoke to me, but it did and I definitely immediately thought of Yara Shahidi as soon as I saw it.
Giambattista Valli: This season Giambattista Valli decided to take a halt on showing his couture collection in a runway presentation. Instead he said he was inspired by seeing several of his frothy tulle confections at this year Camp: Notes On Fashion Met exhibit to showcase his Fall 2019 Couture collection in an exhibit inspired presentation. The brands signature drama was on full display on a smaller scale number wise this season. There were only 31 looks in this collection versus the 56 from the Spring 2019 Couture collection. The show was overall a reexamination of his career creating modern versions of all his hit looks over the years. This hot pink 3D petal pouf mini dress which features a ruched sash defined waist that turns into a dramatic train is definite a statement look and I believe it has Hailee Steinfeld’s name written all over it.
Givenchy: The Givenchy Fall 2019 Couture show was literally breathtaking. I was watching the show from my desk at work and I had to keep reminding myself to breathe. I was waiting with bated breath waiting for the next look. I don’t think that any couture creative director as of late has captivated me quite as much as Clare Waight Keller has. Every single look that she sends down the runway is magic and those looks translate to moments just as major on the red carpet. She has mastered taking the codes that Hubert de Givenchy laid out when he found the house and has modernized them in the chicest and most elegant manner. Clare got the royal seal of approval when she became the go-to designer for Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex when she married Prince Harry last year. Since then she has worn several Givenchy moments on the red carpet. Meghan has been working on bringing a modernity to the dress code of the royal family. So I would love to see her show up for a formal royal occasion wearing this dramatic black and white floral embroidered suit jacket with a dramatic train and a pair of fitted black tuxedo pants.
Iris Van Herpen: I always get excited to see what Iris Van Herpen will send down the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. This season she presented ‘Hypnosis’ a collection finds inspiration in the hypnotic manifolds within our ecologies through the work of American artist Anthony Howe. The three-dimensional cyclical harmony of Howe’s kinetic sculptures is the wind beneath the wings of this collection. Howe’s spherical ‘Omniverse’ sculpture explores our relationship with nature and intertwines with infinite expansion and contraction, expressing a universal life cycle. The meditative movement of the ‘Omniverse’ serves as a portal for the collection and the models, encircling a state of hypnosis. When I read all that my mind felt like it scrambled to keep up. The Dutch designer is a very technical designer and has a following that embraces that. Her avant garde styles are definitely not for the faint of fashion hearted. This white organza pleated strapless gown is absolutely gorgeous. It was captivating and is just waiting for Lady Gaga to bring it to life on a red carpet. Julie De Libran: One of the things I love to do every season is check out new talent. During Couture it is a little easier because there are not the same amount of shows to sift through as any of the ready to wear seasons and I am able to really digest every collection. This season the first collection I looked at was Julie De Libran. She comes from a major fashion pedigree having worked for houses like Gianfranco Ferré, Gianni Versace, Prada and Louis Vuitton over her career. She has acted as the creative director at Sonia Rykiel since 2013 until leaving back in March of this this year to launch her own made to measure evening line in an intimate presentation at her own Parisian home. The collection was not boundary pushing, but it did deliver a sense of relaxed glamour. That is something we don’t often see celebrated in couture collections. That being said my favorite look from the collection was actually the most intricate and extra. The gold foil fringe tiered gown which features silver sequin under layer and some crystal embellishments was definitely a major moment and given the fact that Julie’s history was primarily in working in the ateliers of those storied fashion houses creating red carpet moments for VIP clients I think it is safe to say we will be seeing her designs on the red carpet. As soon as I saw this gold fringe gown I immediately thought of Saoirse Ronan. She does have a potential festival and awards season run ahead of her will Elizabeth Saltzman option this look for her? She definitely should.
Maison Margiela: When it comes to wearability John Galliano’s Maison Margiela isn’t usually full of looks that could translate from runway to the red carpet. This season there were a couple of glam moments that I would love to see brought to life on a red carpet. It seemed like John, a lover of the aesthetic of deconstructing construction himself, decided to put his spin on the deconstruction that Martin Margiela made a code of his Maison and put his spin on it. While I LOVE watching John at Margiela as his creativity has just expanded leaps and bounds. This navy silk faille origami folded tea length gown which features a nude bustier, top stitch details, a halter neckline, and a full skirt is definitely a meshing the original Martin Margiela codes and John’s very dramatic take on glamour and it is something I think that Marion Cotillard, whom has been bringing edgier takes on glamour to the red carpet, is the absolute perfect person to bring this gown to life!
Nicolas Jebran: One of the runway debuts this season was Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran. The designer, known for this more alien take on glamour, is not a new name to me. He dresses a lot of music stars and models. This was just his first runway show. It almost seemed as though overall this collection was a little more restrained than what I am used to seeing from Jebran. It wasn’t full of intricate alien like embellished prints and textures. It was very restrained. In his show notes he called the collection “a landmark in my journey, a trip that took days and nights, the moments, the smiles, the people I carry in my heart; the will to succeed, the obstacles, all in an adventure like no other. Unique in the person, in the interpretation, in the feel, and in its reflection of the inner person I am.” I wonder if this means that he will be rethinking the direction in which is taking his label. Will he strip things back and focus more of a traditional definition o glamour? In some ways I hope so and in others I hope not. The purple woven leather fringe cape and black jumpsuit it was paired with was definitely a major look to see come down the runway. It was one of the more avant garde moments that came down the runway and if we continue to see Alicia Keys on the red carpet again I would love to see her rock this look.
Ralph & Russo: When it comes to potential red carpet moments I know that I can count on Ralph & Russo. The Ralph & Russo Fall 2019 Couture collection continues the brands celebration of the modern female and her multifaceted form amid the joie de vivre of an era almost a century past. This season Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo did so by depicting a 1930s soirée en plein air; a lively scene wrought with flora, fauna and the majestic opulence of the Art Deco era. This collection is embellished in true Art Deco form with opalescent fan-shaped embroideries and designs that are simultaneously geometric and spherical – embracing the pastiche of influences behind the Art Deco movement. In spite of the distinct 1930’s Art Deco inspiration the Ralph & Russo woman wasn’t left to look dated or costume-y. I know that we are bound to see many of these looks on a red carpet. I want to see so many of these looks on the red carpet that it was hard to narrow it down to just one. I turned to one of my favorite color pairings for this list with this pale pink silk double satin asymmetrically draped gown featuring contrasting raspberry paneling and structured pleats, hand embroidered with rosewater opal stones and ruby red crystals in a scattered ombré design. It does evoke a similar styling to the Atelier Versace gown that Angelina Jolie wore for the 2012 Golden Globes, but is done in such a new way that I think it would make for a glamorous moment on the red carpet without the need to draw comparisons. Don’t you think this gown would be a perfect moment for Kate Bosworth to bring to life on the red carpet.Rami Kadi: Back in January Rami Kadi was the new kid on the couture block. He staged his first couture runway show in a more intimate presentation. Personally that collection didn’t really do much for me, but stars really embraced it. At Cannes alone earlier this year 15 red carpet looks came from Rami Kadi. He is definitely one to keep our eyes on. His Fall 2019 Couture collection, titled “The Temple of Flora”, was definitely more elevated and expensive looking than his January line. It was also dramatically larger. The show was staged in a palatial setting and the clothes definitely lived up to the expectations the location set. The collection is a thorough exploration of the Flower in all incarnations possible. As such, it is an endeavor to emancipate it from its conventional associations with prettiness and delicacy, and to look into the possibilities of frivolity, mischief, and audacity that lie at the heart of the Flower; hence the amalgam of botanical shapes that the collection features. I have a feeling that the a-list will soon be bringing more and more looks from Rami Kadi on the red carpet. Jane Fonda was one of the first people who I thought of as I was flipping through the images of this collection. How amazing would she look wearing this gold asymmetric sequined gown which features a single cold shoulder, long sleeves, and a cherry red pleated tulle hemline?
Schiaparelli: While Schiaparelli isn’t a new name on the couture circuit by any means it was still a major debut. The brands new creative director Daniel Roseberry made his debut this season. He actually took center stage as the star of the set sitting at a drafting table set in the middle of the runway with his noise cancelling headphones sketching as if it was a normal day happening around him. His take on Schiaparelli was definitely new. He said of the inspiration “As I began thinking about what my vision of Schiaparelli might be, I was also thinking about who I myself might be, because I didn’t know anymore. For the past decade, I had been one person, one kind of artist. Now I had the chance to become someone else, something else. Every morning, I walked from my apartment in downtown Manhattan to the eastern edge of Chinatown. My walk took me from one world into another, and as I walked, I could watch the moneyed, polished New York of the twenty-first century slip away, to be replaced by one much older, as boutiques gave way to fruit stalls and cafes to little storefronts selling hardware and tea and dumplings. It was as if I was heading into my future by venturing into the past….That a life of perpetual transformation isn’t the safest or easiest one, but it is the most exhilarating.” To this point all of the creative directors of the reinvigorated Schiaparelli have taken more of a stance of reinterpreting things that Elsa Schiaparelli created over her career. Roseberry decided to take the spirit of the house and build on that in a new and modern way and presented his vision for the brand to a celebrity packed front row. It wasn’t necessarily my favorite collection ever, but I do believe that there are potential red carpet moments that are built in the ranks of this collection. This bias-sleeve dress in lemon yellow double organza with feather trim (each sleeve demands 20 yards of fabric) and features a silk satin skirt with crystal grid embroidery is one of them. It has a modern and dramatic take on the Schiaparelli woman and I am just praying to the fashion gods that Amal Clooney will grab this look up for some event this fall. Please?
Stephane Rolland: As I talked about earlier with Elie Saab designers walk a line of interpreting inspiration in a way that draws on cultural appropriation or a way that that delivers inspiration in a respectful manner. Stephane Rolland drew the inspiration for his Fall 2019 Couture collection from a recent trip he took to China. Instead of taking that costume-y take on China instead Rolland delivered what he called a wardrobe with “the spirit of a new Chinese Empress.” The most obvious Chinese inspiration was a structured red blouse that he opened the show with. I am sure that Rolland’s devotees have already called to make claim on ensembles from this collection. While I could have picked looks from this collection for Nieves Alvarez, Paz Vega, or Fan Bingbing (all friends to the house); I instead decided that I wanted to see the absolutely beautiful Tilda Swinton wearing this geometric cape dress in cumin yellow and black wool crepe with a collar embroidered with black agates.
Valentino: At Valentino for Fall 2019 extravagance is the individuality in its purest, rawest form. It literally means to meander out of the borders. As a gesture of self-definition, it is a way of being true to oneself. Not to seek attention, but to affirm one’s own reason of being into this world, with one’s own roots and culture. All different, all equal. As one silhouette follows the other, the idea of extravagance materializes and dematerializes in the colors, the shapes, the flowers, the fringes, the headpieces. Each passage is a singular entity, all together making sense as a gathering of individualities. I won’t lie this was not my favorite collection from Pierpaolo Piccioli, but as in any collection the man presents I was able to find breaths of glamour and luxury on the red carpet, even if I do think that he appropriated the traditional dress of the Akha tribe for most of the collection. I think that is why this simple robins egg blue strapless gown which features an intricately pleated and draped bodice, flowing skirt, and a matching hooded cape was my favorite look in the collection. It is just modern elegance at it’s best. I honestly feel like had this gown come down the runway earlier this year that Zadrian Smith would have definitely had it on option for Naomi Scott to wear for the Aladdin press tour, I still definitely want to see her wear the gown on a red carpet, maybe without the hooded cape to keep it from being compared to a Princess Jasmine costume.
If you made it through reading this entire post I definitely applaud you! Please leave a comment on your favorite look from couture and who you would love to see bringing it to life on a red carpet!