The 2010 Best Dressed List

Honorable Mention: Carey Mulligan, Florence Welch, & Ashley Olsen

Who: Carey Mulligan

What: Vionnet Pre-Fall 2010

Where & When: BAFTA Awards in London, February

Why: England’s favorite pixie proved her status as a style maven this year. Elegant and original, this gown was a serious step forward for this A-lister in the making.

Who: Florence Welch

What: Givenchy Fall 2010 couture

Where & When: MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, September

Why: The front-woman of Florence + the Machine showed she’s more than just a rock goddess – she’s a couture queen. You can’t help but admire the drama of this gold gown and accessories paired with Flo’s shockingly red hair and lips.

Who: Ashley Olsen

What: Erdem Fall 2009

Where & When: In Style/Warner Brothers Golden Globe Awards after-party in Los Angeles, January

Why: The bubble hem, the elbow-length sleeves, the cascading flowers, and that stunning blue color made Ashley a knock-out at the biggest of the Golden Globes after-parties.

Who: Ashley Olsen

What: Alexander McQueen Fall 2006

Where: Art of Elysium charity ball in Los Angeles, January

Why: Just weeks before McQueen’s untimely death, Ashley Olsen reminded us of why we love the luxurious and dramatic looks of the famed designer.

The Label Loyalists: Alexa Chung, Diane Kruger, and Marion Cotillard

Who: Alexa Chung

What: Chanel Spring 2010

Where & When: Elle Style Awards in London, February

Why: Alexa showed off her hipster-chic style with her devotion to all things Chanel.

Who: Alexa Chung

What: Chanel Resort 2011

Where & When: Chanel boutique re-opening in Soho, September

Why: Alexa wisely minimized the accessories with this funky multi-print dress by her favorite designer.

Who: Diane Kruger

What: Jason Wu

Where & When: Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or Closing Ceremony, May

Why: For the Cannes closing ceremony, classic beauty is a must-have. Diane showed that a little bling and a lot of color can go a long way on the red carpet.

Who: Diane Kruger

What: Jason Wu

Where & When: Screen Actors Guild Awards in Hollywood, January

Why: This beautifully draped, one-shouldered mustard yellow gown shows off Diane’s effortless old Hollywood glamour.

Who: Marion Cotillard

What: Christian Dior Resort 2011

Where & When: Paris premiere of Inception, July

Why: You can’t beat a French woman at French fashion, especially in Paris! The black lace, stunning neckline, and voluminous silhouette are proof that sometimes, the French just do it best.

Who: Marion Cotillard

What: Christian Dior Spring 2010

Where & When: Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood, January

Why: Showing a little leg and a lot of style, Marion again represents her home country in an asymmetrical metallic and lace gown by Dior.

The Trend Setters: Kristen Stewart and Keira Knightley

Who: Kristen Stewart

What: Herve Leger by Max Azria Fall 2010

Where & When: Late Show with David Letterman in New York, June

Why: In a victory for grumpy pale girls everywhere, Kristen shows off her porcelain skin and never-ending legs in this one-sleeved modern LBD.

Who: Keira Knightley

What: Chanel Fall 2010 couture

Where & When: Opening night of the BFI London Film Festival, October

Why: Keira’s Chanel dress is revealing – note the sheerness of the neckline, waist, back and sleeves – but still incredibly classy. Proof that a dress strategically cut in all the right places can do wonders, especially on an already beautiful woman.

Best Variety: Cate Blanchett and Emma Watson

Who: Cate Blanchett

What: Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2010

Where & When: Opening night of Cannes Film Festival, May

Why: It’s rumored that Cate hand-selected this dramatic gown from the late designer, and she couldn’t have chosen a more unique look. It’s a rare woman who can pull off a black wedding gown with a giant eagle on it, but of course Cate makes it look chic.

Who: Cate Blanchett

What: Armani Prive Spring 2010 Couture

Where & When: Tony Awards in New York, June

Why: Some mocked this so-called Tin Man look, but Cate again proved that she dares to strut outside the box in her sexy silver suit.

Who: Cate Blanchett

What: vintage Christian Lacroix

Where & When: Gala in Beijing, September

Why: The dress speaks for itself. This work of art is one of the most extraordinary gowns I’ve ever seen.

Who: Emma Watson

What: Christopher Kane Fall 2010

Where & When: LONDON showROOMS closing party in New York, March

Why: Pre-pixie cut, Emma shows off her trendy style with this lace and floral dress by the Scottish designer.

Who: Emma Watson

What: Karl Lagerfeld Spring 2010

Where & When: National Movie Awards in London, May

Why: A dress is only as chic as the shoes you pair it with, and those Louboutins are chic as all hell. This sexy dress is just as stylish – notice the peek-a-boo keyhole and the super-short skirt!

Who: Emma Watson

What: custom Burberry

Where & When: Met Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York, May

Why: At the biggest red carpet fashion event of the year, all eyes were on Emma, in the gown Burberry designer Christopher Bailey made just for her. The chunky black accessories helped keep this look less bridal and more youthful.

Who: Emma Watson

What: custom Calvin Klein

Where & When: New York premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, November

Why: Shedding Hermione’s longer locks, Emma shows off her fabulous pixie cut and her minimalist style in yet another dress custom-made for her.

The Risk-Taker: Lady Gaga

Who: Lady Gaga

What: custom Armani Prive couture

Where & When: Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, January

Why: There was no bigger fashion risk-taker this year than the artist formerly known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, better known to us all as Lady Gaga.

Who: Lady Gaga

What: Alexander McQueen

Where & When: MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, September

Why: One word: SHOES.

Who: Lady Gaga

What: Franc Fernandez

Where & When: MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, September

Why: Was there a more talked-about fashion statement this year – or possibly even this decade – than Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress? More importantly, this outfit led to my favorite Gaga quote of all time: “I never thought I’d be asking Cher to hold my meat purse.”

Super Starlets: Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, and Rachel Bilson

Who: Blake Lively

What: Marchesa Resort 2011

Where & When: Fashion’s Night Out in New York, September

Why: If you’ve got perfect tits and legs for days, all you need is a funky cocktail dress and a ponytail and you’re ready for the biggest event of New York Fashion Week.

Who: Blake Lively

What: Elie Saab Fall 2010

Where & When: Tiffany & Co. event in New York, September

Why: Blake has her finger on the pulse of 2010’s hottest trends: lace, elbow-length sleeves, and flapper-style fringe.

Who: Blake Lively

What: Chanel Fall 2010 Couture

Where & When: Toronto Film Festival, September

Why: This is my idea of a perfect cocktail dress. I love the flower embellishments around her hips, and the ruby-red color of the dress really pops with that red cocktail ring and matching red lipstick.

Who: Leighton Meester

What: Marc Jacobs Resort 2011

Where & When: V Magazine’s New York Issue Party, September

Why: The pink blush on her cheeks matches the pink in the dress – what a genius move by Leighton’s stylist! Blake’s Gossip Girl co-star looks more beautiful than ever in this fabulous springtime number. (Although, is it a trick of the light, or can you see her nipples?)

Who: Rachel Bilson

What: Christian Dior Spring 2010

Where & When: Spike TV Video Game Awards in Los Angeles, December

Why: Nobody does effortless, youthful style quite like Rachel Bilson. Her stylist’s decision to do an ivory underlay was genius – even better than the runway version. And the little bows on those heels? Perfection.

Who: Rachel Bilson

What: Roberto Cavalli Pre-Fall 2010

Where & When: Roberto Cavalli’s 40th Anniversary Party during Paris Fashion Week, September

Why: A sexy, flowing leopard-print gown is a lot of look, but the red purse as the sole accessory is phenomenal. I love Rachel’s street style and casual wear, but with this look she proved that she’s a formal red carpet force to be reckoned with.

The A-Listers: Michelle Obama, Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, and Lea Michele

Who: First Lady Michelle Obama

What: Peter Sorensen

Where & When: State Dinner at the White House, May

Why: Who says the FLOTUS can’t be sexy? Hot Mama Obama shows off the famous First Guns in this glamorous gown.

Who: First Lady Michelle Obama

What: Michael Kors

Where & When: Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Phoenix Awards in DC, September

Why: All politics aside, no one can deny that the Obamas are one stylish couple. The First Lady is absolutely glowing in her red halter gown.

Who: First Lady Michelle Obama

What: Naeem Khan

Where & When: Kennedy Center Honors in DC, December

Why: She’s the Jackie O of the 21st century.

Who: Anne Hathaway

What: Antonio Berardi

Where & When: Hollywood premiere of Love & Other Drugs, November

Why: You can always depend on Anne for a classic, beautiful red carpet look. Flawless hair and makeup and the world’s best smile take this chic little dress to a whole new level.

Who: Anne Hathaway

What: Valentino Pre-Fall 2010

Where & When: Met Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York, May

Why: This photo is the definition of Hollywood glitz and glamour.

Who: Anne Hathaway

What: Oscar de la Renta Spring 2011

Where & When: Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Norway, December

Why: The unique print and silhouette of this one-shouldered gown are stunning. From head to toe, this look is clean, classic, and incredibly beautiful.

Who: Natalie Portman

What: Rodarte

Where & When: Venice Film Festival screening of Black Swan, September

Why: Rodarte designers Laura and Kate Mulleavy created the ballet costumes in Black Swan, so this red carpet shout-out to the label was particularly lovely. As if the film wasn’t garnering enough buzz on its own, Natalie got the world talking about her once again in this jaw-dropping red gown.

Who: Natalie Portman

What: Lanvin

Where & When: Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Governor’s Awards in Hollywood, November

Why: Natalie’s stylist has been working overtime lately as Natalie promotes Black Swan on every red carpet in the universe. But clearly she’s not losing her touch, because this purple asymmetrical draped gown is simply fabulous. And we all know that best-dressed list without Lanvin is no best-dressed list at all.

Who: Lea Michele

What: Oscar de la Renta Fall 2005

Where & When: Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood, January

Why: The Glee star started the year off with a bang. This gown announced Lea’s status as New Diva on the Block and proved that this pint-sized star is chock full of fabulous.

Who: Lea Michele

What: Catherine Malandrino Spring 2010

Where & When: Screen Actors Guild Awards in Hollywood, January

Why: This gown single-handedly created Lea Michele’s image as a sex symbol. The long, wavy locks, the dramatic makeup, the plunging neckline, the cinched waist, that intriguing green color – every element of this look is perfection.

Who: Lea Michele

What: custom Zac Posen

Where & When: Tony Awards in New York, June

Why: Donning another daring, brilliant color, this Broadway vet absolutely stunned on the Tonys red carpet. Lea’s dress flatters her teensy little figure so beautifully.

Who: Lea Michele

What: Oscar de la Renta Resort 2011

Where & When: Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, August

Why: If ever there was a look that said, “Worship me, bitches! I have ARRIVED!” – it’s this one.

© Democracy Diva, 2010.

Red Carpet Predictions: Spring 2011

Get ready, dear readers, because it’s time to play stylist to the stars! I’m taking the most glitzy-glamorous, red carpet-worthy gowns from ALL the Spring 2011 runway collections – NEW YORK to LONDON to MILAN to PARIS – and I’ll be deciding which of your favorite celebs will be wearing them out on the town. Let’s have some fun!


Oscar de la Renta Spring 2011

ANNA KENDRICK will wear…

Commuun Spring 2011

ANNE HATHAWAY will wear…

Elie Saab Spring 2011

BLAKE LIVELY will wear…

Monique Lhuillier Spring 2011


Carmen Marc Valvo Spring 2011

CHLOE SEVIGNY will wear…

Viktor & Rolf Spring 2011


Christian Siriano Spring 2011


Julien MacDonald Spring 2011

DIANE KRUGER will wear…

Wes Gordon Spring 2011


Elie Saab Spring 2011

EMMA WATSON will wear…

Versace Spring 2011

FREIDA PINTO will wear…

Gucci Spring 2011

HEIDI KLUM will wear…

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2011

JANUARY JONES will wear…

Valetin Yudashkin Spring 2011


A. F. Vandevorst Spring 2011

JESSICA BIEL will wear…

Emanuel Ungaro Spring 2011

KATY PERRY will wear…

Manish Arora Spring 2011


Gianfranco Ferré Spring 2011


Matthew Williamson Spring 2011


Collette Dinnigan Spring 2011

LADY GAGA will wear…

Manish Arora Spring 2011

and GAGA will wear…

Maison Martin Margiela Spring 2011

and of course, GAGA will wear…

Viktor & Rolf Spring 2011

Vikto & Rolf Spring 2011

LEA MICHELE will wear…

Monique Lhuillier Spring 2011


Chapurin Spring 2011

MADONNA will wear…

Oscar de la Renta Spring 2011


Carlos Miele Spring 2011


Alexis Mabille Spring 2011

MILEY CYRUS will wear…

Vivienne Westwood Spring 2011

RACHEL BILSON will wear…

Cacharel Spring 2011

RIHANNA will wear…

Gareth Pugh Spring 2011


Jason Wu Spring 2011


Chloé Spring 2011

SELENA GOMEZ will wear…

Victoria Beckham Spring 2011

TAYLOR MOMSEN will wear…

Chanel Spring 2011

TAYLOR SWIFT will wear…

Tibi Spring 2011

ZOE SALDANA will wear…

Oscar de la Renta Spring 2011

And with that, your Spring 2011 posts are complete!

The Unmatched Beauty of Paris Fashion Week

I couldn’t narrow it down to a happy little number. There was too much beauty. So pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee and put your feet up, dear readers, ’cause we’ve got some fabulous to see.

Paris Goes Punk


Balmain Spring 2011


Studded accessories have been a super-hot trend for months, and Balmain (thankfully) refuses to tire of it. This jacket is beyond perfection. It gives incredible edge and style to whatever you wear it with. And if you’re Lady Gaga, just wear it with a thong and you’re all set!


Balmain Spring 2011


This is easily the best pair of destroyed jeans I’ve ever seen. How did I not know until now that cigarette burns look AWESOME on clothes? And that ultra-faded tank is the essence of cool.


Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2011


Joan Jett wigs were all over the Jean Paul Gaultier runway, giving a rocker edge to every single look. Unique twists on classic pieces also ruled this collection – like this bubble-hemmed corseted shirtdress and its somehow effortless, I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude.

Hello, Color!


Giambattista Valli Spring 2011


That is some impeccable draping. And the color-blocking is terrifically executed. Any woman could rock a dress like this. And that shade of orange is perfect.


Nina Ricci Spring 2011


Gorgeous look. Totally feminine and sweet, but incredibly fashion-forward. The design on the shirt is beautiful; complex, but not overdesigned. The skirt is heaven, and the colors scream spring. Matching the purse, but not the shoes, to the outfit was a genius styling decision. And best of all, all these pieces can be rocked separately OR together.


Lanvin Spring 2011


Who said you can’t wear red with pink? Lanvin proves that the combo of these colors can be utterly show-stopping. Dramatic and fabulous as they come – but I expect nothing less from Lanvin.

Hot Trends: Military & Lace


Valentino Spring 2011


There’s something so delicate and romantic about a dress like this. I love the skinny belt and the possibly studded, but perhaps just bejeweled shoes. The combination of such different textures is really intriguing. The dress is simple at first glance, but when you really examine it, it seems so meticulously designed and executed.


Valentino Spring 2011


Gorgeous. Another fantastic Valentino piece that gives off a false sense of simplicity when it’s really a phenomenally put together garment. The lace just seems so luxurious. And even though she’s fully covered up, there’s so much sex appeal in all that lace beauty.


Alexander McQueen Spring 2011


Proving that true fashion lives on even after we’re gone, this season’s Alexander McQueen collection was absolutely amazing. Nothing strayed too far from McQueen’s unique vision, but every piece still felt new and exciting. I love this regal/military inspired jacket with the totally adorable and wearable skirt. It’s a great combination of silhouettes, and the little peek-a-boo at the shoulders is so charming.

Jaw-Dropping Gowns


Lanvin Spring 2011


Another mega-hit gown from Lanvin. Perfect spring muted pastel colors – the tan and camel colors were particularly hot this season, but few designers paired it with “real” colors in such a beautiful way. But that sort of smoky jade colored skirt is unbelievable, from the flow to the fabric to the color. The necklace and shoes are amazing; once again, Lanvin reminds us of why the Paris shows are unmatched in fabulosity.


Alexander McQueen Spring 2011



Alexander McQueen Spring 2011


The interwoven braids are astounding, and they perfectly match this Eve on the Garden of Eden’s Red Carpet vibe. The gold leaves and branches climbing up the bodice are astounding, the silhouette is classic McQueen. There’s something so ethereal about this. It took my breath away. And you can kinda see her nipples, but it’s subtle – at least compared to every other designer this season (let me tell you, nipples are BACK). Definitely my favorite look from New York Fashion Week.


Alexander McQueen Spring 2011



Alexander McQueen Spring 2011


But boy, did this dress bring the DRAMA. As Nate (this Diva’s boyfriend) said to me this week, Alexander McQueen was one of the only designers who could make non-fashionistas (read: straight men) believe that fashion can truly be art. I’m happy to see that the artistic genius of McQueen’s work lives on.

You know you love the runway! Paris is grand, but check out my recaps of London, Milan, and New York Fashion Weeks. And check back later for the EPIC Red Carpet Predictions post!

A Little More Couture

Let’s talk about Georges.

Unfinished, but Fabulous

Georges Hobeika Fall 2010 Couture

Easily the most likeable, the most wearable, and therefore the most boring piece in Georges Hobeika’s fascinating and often inspiring haute couture collection. Not that this would qualify as boring under normal circumstances; it’s still high fashion and gorgeous, but it’s certainly nothing new. The tissue-paper draped blouse has been done in countless ways (but I give Hobeika credit for making it more beautiful than most). And the skirt is gorgeous and gives off a fabulous Middle Eastern feel (Hobeika is, after all, Lebanese). But take a look at the next few photos and you’ll see how much more he is capable of.

Georges Hobeika Fall 2010 Couture

I want to punch that model in the face for walking with such an unattractive hunch – you’re a fucking runway model, for God’s sake, it’s your JOB to stand up straight, keep your shoulders back, and live on a diet of cigarettes and cocaine. But that ruffled sunflower piece is simply majestic. I just wish the dress either ended there, because it feels like Hobeika was so caught up in the impeccable creation of the top half of the garment that he simply gave up on the bottom. The skirt just sort of hangs there lifelessly, making an otherwise complex and beautiful gown look sloppy and unfinished. Unfortunately, this was a mistake he repeated.

Georges Hobeika Fall 2010 Couture

Same exact concept, same exact mistake. Another beautiful incarnation of a unique design element, but the look is nearly ruined by the wrinkled mess south of her hips. I hate the way it drapes around the front of her legs like sweatpants, and the train seems like an afterthought. But I do applaud the red lips and nails; they certainly pop against that soft silver.

Georges Hobeika Fall 2010 Couture

This is what I love to see on the runway (though I think the front of the skirt isn’t laying as well as it could). I love this sort of gown because it still feels wearable – it feels like a real cocktail dress, not some cracked-out avant-garde version of what might once have been considered clothing. But it’s so obviously new and fresh, the beading is gorgeous, the colors are fabulous, and those shoes are to die for.

Georges Hobeika Fall 2010 Couture

Couture in a nutshell, this is by far my favorite piece in the collection. The bottom feels like strawberry shortcake, or an artist’s studio in the Village; the shape of the skirt feels like Victorian England; and the ruffles are astounding in shape and volume. As close to perfect as couture gets.

Stunning but Derivative

George Chakra Fall 2010 Couture

Like everything else in George Chakra’s collection, this dress is impeccably made, red-carpet ready, stunning to look at, and a total has-been. This dress has been seen on Hollywood’s most glamorous as long as Hollywood has existed. We all know that this is a recipe that works – but without a modern twist (and the gloves are not enough), this is just old news.

George Chakra Fall 2010 Couture

I understand that fashion is, by its very nature, derivative. Designers are inspired by what came before them. The fashion of the 30s becomes the fashion of the 50s becomes the fashion of the 80s, trends repeat, old tricks are revived and reused. But I think viewers of haute couture collections should still be allowed to expect some originality, some innovation. I know I’m being unreasonably hard on Chakra; all designers have pieces whose influences are easily recognizable. In every collection I’ve posted about on this blog, there’s been looks inspired by, or nearly copied from, other designers. But I’m giving Chakra such a hard time because 1) there are just so many copycat dresses and 2) this is Paris haute couture, and dammit, we deserve better.

George Chakra Fall 2010 Couture

Didn’t we see that giant collar on basically every episode of the 4th season of Project Runway? I’m pretty sure that collar is the go-to piece for every designer trying to be couture or avant-garde. And that’s acceptable when you’re in a design competition reality show, but not so much in an haute couture collection in Paris. (But, I concede, I absolutely love those colors together.)

George Chakra Fall 2010 Couture

One of the more original looks of the collection, though between the white and champagne frilliness, the red bow, and the blue shoes, I can’t see anyone wearing this outside the holiday season. You can still sense a sort of Marchesa-meets-McQueen feel to it, but it seems more original and inspired than the others. But that may be because this model is basically wearing a crinoline taco.

Stay tuned for tonight’s Diva’s Choice! Another piece of utter delicious fashion is on its way.

Paris Fall 2010 Couture Fashion Week

It’s couture time, bitches. Let’s go collection by collection, since only a handful of couture designers showed at Paris Fashion Week, and even less are worth discussing.

Underwhelming: Jean Paul Gaultier

Dita Von Teese in Jean Paul Gaultier Fall 2010 Couture

This was by far my favorite look in Jean Paul Gaultier’s collection, although it’s certainly not perfect. But to me, it was one of the only pieces in his collection that felt daring and original. The first six looks were boring, and the rest of the collection tries to be dark and futuristic, but doesn’t really achieve much in the way of high fashion. Dita Von Teese making a guest appearance in the show was a nice touch, and only a burlesque star (or a diehard Rocky Horror fan) would have a reason to wear this skeleton-corset, but beyond that, the show was largely a disappointment.

Jean Paul Gaultier Fall 2010 Couture

This look at least felt like couture to me. A complex and fresh design, with no accessory overlooked. Let’s not forget that wearability is not the primary concern of couture designers – that’s why these aren’t Ready-To-Wear. They’re meant for the runway, more like art than clothing. And in that respect, I think this is a stunning dress. It has a subtle nod to flappers of the 1920s, but it feels modern and original. And the fishnets are a perfect touch.

Jean Paul Gaultier Fall 2010 Couture

Couture is about vision. It’s about intricacy and impeccable design and clothes that look like they took months to make, because they did. I think that was wear Gaultier failed – he focused on the gimmicks and the showmanship instead of the actual design elements. It’s all great to have burlesque stars and violins and sky-high, gravity-defying hairstyles, but so many of the actual designs were just haphazard draping. And of course there is a fine art to draping, but nothing in the way Gaultier used draping felt new or beautiful or unique. Instead it felt messy, repetitive, and kind of boring.

Hit or Miss: Valentino


Many of the individual looks in Valentino’s collection were exquisite, like the bow-adorned cocktail dress and matching full-length gloves pictured above. A modern twist on the petticoats of yore, I fell in love with this dress and a few others in the collection.

Valentino Fall 2010 Couture

Another beautiful dress, but with a nearly identical concept: Put a lot of bows and a simple twist on a normal dress. What struck me as bothersome about the collection over all is how similar so many of the looks were. Of course cohesion is important in a collection, but Valentino showed the same outfit in two different colors; two nearly identical outfits, just with different hemlines; and the same outfit in two different fabrics (but the same colors). That was too much for me to take – the effect of a simple but fabulous black dress is not enhanced by seeing the white version of it ten seconds later. It just felt like a waste of fabric, at least in a couture show. It’s about customization and each piece being different from the next, not a gown in several colors that’s marketable or ready-to-wear.

Valentino Fall 2010 Couture

It’s similar to the first Valentino dress, but not so similar that it feels derivative, like so many of the looks did. Instead, it’s a couture bridal gown fit for a queen. The bows on the shoes and the hands of the gloves are exquisite, and bring an element of softness to the architectural tiers of the gown. I’m glad bows are in, and I love these three dresses more than words, but Valentino’s collection suffered from a lack of variety and diversity.

Chanel and the Art of Influence



My favorite look of the Chanel collection. Perfect handiwork. An almost obsessive attention to detail. And those Wonder Woman-inspired wrist cuffs are exquisite. It looks as expensive as I’m sure it is, but I love the rough hemline, bringing a bit of grittiness into an angelic dress.

Chanel Fall 2010 Couture

But the last few collections of Chanel and other designers such as Marc Jacobs have been plagued by what I like to call The Mormon Skirt Dilemma. I have no idea why the runway is full of skirts that stop at this awkward place, but I think they’re unflattering, unnatural, and throw off the proportions of the entire outfit. The Mormon Skirt Dilemma, plus the use of heavy tweet, gave most of the models the appearance of little girls wearing Twilight-inspired versions of their grandmothers’ clothes. In fact, much of the collection felt heavy and dark, with the occasional burst of lightness like the first Chanel outfit shown above. Not that heavy and dark is necessarily bad, but Chanel went for the same effect in the Fall 2010 RTW collection, so it does get a bit wearing after awhile.

Chanel Fall 2010 Couture

I love the way the beadwork over the lace feels like armor. It was certainly a collection for a haute couture Joan of Arc woman. But that lace skirt is just breathtaking, and the boots with it are completely badass. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have legs for days to pull off a look like that. But I would have loved to see more looks that stepped outside the tweed-suits-and-wool-coats box of Chanel.

Armani Privé: It’s All About the Fit


I think the Armani Privé collection felt more like a nearly complete RTW collection than anything haute couture, but this suit immediately leaped out at me as a favorite. The shimmery white tights and the silk ivory blouse are soft, sweet, and sexy. And we know that anything studded, or anything that looks studded, is super-trendy right now, as evidenced by Dakota Fanning’s fierce shoes. And the fit of this suit is just incredible.

Armani Privé Fall 2010 Couture

But what, I ask you, is couture about this? Where is the detail, the handiwork, the originality? This is a badly pressed sheet, poorly wrapped around a starving girl. This has no element of design, let alone couture. And is it just me, or has this model spent a little too much time in the pool? Those ends look green with chlorine.

Armani Privé Fall 2010 Couture

And zoom! Back to fabulous. The perfect coat. Simple and elegant, but with fantastic design aspects. That huge button clasp, the asymmetry, the curves of the hem, and of course the draping over her left shoulder take this coat to new heights.

Armani Privé Fall 2010 Couture

Fit, fit, fit, Armani! What is going on in the bust of this dress? We’re mere moments away from seeing her right nipple. The dress looks like it’s inches away from her chest and the sides don’t look even. I’m just not sure how something like this actually made it onto the runway. I want to run up to her with a cushion full of pins, yank that dress up three inches, and pin it into place.

Honorable Mention: Elie Saab


Elie Saab’s collection was a wonderful combination of the intrigue of couture and the wearability of red-carpet fashion. I have no least favorite looks, but just one negative comment towards the collection as a whole: it did seem a bit disjointed. The individual looks seemed detached from each other; they were similar to the looks before or after, but just a few models later, you couldn’t believe you were at the same show. Cohesion is a difficult thing to achieve, and I think that was Elie Saab’s main weakness in this otherwise strong collection.

Elie Saab Fall 2010 Couture

Now that is a print. It looks tie-dyed, paint-splattered, it moves like liquid, and it feels like fire. The skirt is designed in a way that makes it flow fabulously, I love the rouching on the bodice, and the single-sleeve style, which I usually dislike, is beautiful.

Elie Saab Fall 2010 Couture

And this is couture. It looks like it took millions of painstaking hours of sewing, beading, and draping to accomplish such a complex and divine gown. This is what I hope Kate Middleton will wear to marry Prince William. A gown fit for a princess.

The Winner: Christian Dior

Christian Dior Fall 2010 Couture

I beg of you – don’t take my word on this one. See for yourself how over-the-top, inspiring, and beautiful Christian Dior’s collection is. It may be a fall collection, but it’s obvious that spring has sprung for Christian Dior. Like this neon dress that struts the line between yellow and green, brightness is in nearly every look. This dress feels fresh and unique, but it’s also something that you could see easily adapted for the red carpet. (Though only Lady Gaga would wear the head piece.)

Christian Dior Fall 2010 Couture

The only thing I dislike about these entire collection is those damn rubber gloves. I’ve seen them on runways before, and whenever they’re in orange or yellow, it just feels like the woman is strutting down the runway to wash some dishes or operate on someone. But I love, love, love the beaded bodice and voluminous skirt – not unique in any structural way, but glamorous and exquisite regardless.

Christian Dior Fall 2010 Couture

You have to love Dior for the way the avant-garde pops into these looks. The way those flowers cascade down the skirt, which would be gorgeous even without them, just strikes me as incredibly romantic. And the colors of those flowers! This is the one time I like the use of the gloves, because that purple color is just another glorious surprise. That iced robin’s-egg-blue color of the sweater is phenomenal, as is the collar. I’m not sure what’s happening with that paper bag belt/sash/bow, but it keeps me guessing, and ultimately leaves me wanting more.

Christian Dior Fall 2010 Couture


Check the Democracy Diva later tonight for today’s Diva’s Choice – one piece of overpriced fabulousness every day!

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