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Runway Review: Armani Privé, John Paul Gaultier & Valentino Take the Stage!

Trousers were the name of the game at the Armani Privé show on Tuesday evening. The menswear-inspired staple made a grand return for daywear, being presented in the form of satin, slim-cut styles that were often kicked at the hem.  Although the opening looks saw the models — Zuzanna Bijoch, Irina Kravchenko and Caroline Brasch Nielsen to name but a few— in the high-gloss trousers worn under full-skirted dresses,  the bulk of the collection focused on paring them with sharp, cropped jackets that played for geometric hems and graphic prints. When it came to evening wear, Armani played with proportions, displaying a mix of sleek satin column dresses with a red and black jewel encrusted peplum top and fitted mermaid skirt and several voluminous gowns done in an array of graphic prints. With  jackets paired with wooden accessories, skirts done in tribal prints mixed and modern Fez hats combined, the range felt exotic and all together extravagant!

For Spring, Jean Paul Gaultier turned his attention East with a collection that paid homage to ‘Indian Gypsies,’ using the colors of Rajasthan to inform his work.  While the colorful array of off-the-shoulder blouses, breezy maxi skirts, and patchwork and fringe accoutrements took center stage,  it was the designer’s incredibly diverse model cast that caught our attention first and foremost.  Lindsey Wixson, Sessilee Lopez, Lais Ribeiro, Querelle Jensen and Andrej Pejic were among this year’s standout beauties, donning everything from a fortune-teller inspired jersey gown in a vibrant scarf print, to a voluminous white tunic top worn over pants and an enchanting silver lamé mermaid gown.  And of course, what is a Gaultier show without the runway theatrics?  To close his show this year, the designer sent a very bohemian bride in an oversized ivory and jewel-encrusted gown down the runway, at the end of which she lifted her skirt to reveal four children crouching underneath her.  As always, the Gaultier runway was a sight to be seen!

If there is one thing we can always count on at the Valentino couture show, it’s beauty.  Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo have mastered the art of simplistic, understated beauty, and this season was the real evidence of their talent.  While the  silhouettes are minimal, ranging from retro fit and flare frocks to elongated gowns, it’s the intricate garden embroideries, delicate lace overlays and feminine tulle skirts that demonstrate the depth of the designers’ work.  Models Maud Welzen, Jacquelyn Jablonski Cara Delevingne, Ondria Hardin and Jac floated down the runway in light, airy organza gowns hand-sewn with crystals and topez beads, calling to mind the angelic Venetian garden that inspired the dynamic duo’s work. The Spring lineup rarely ventured outside of the traditional white , black and red color palette, but nevertheless, the collection felt fresh and full of life, once again a testament to the house’s couture expertise.

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