Wednesday's Couture Roundup

Kylie Minogue at Gaultier, a "radical" Valentino show, and still no Anna

Amidst the buzz surrounding the fashion, what really kept people talking today seemed to be the absence of certain figures throughout the shows. Fashion Week Daily even went so far as to put together a list of couture regulars who were conspicuously absent (Dita Von Teese, "the fashion offices of Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's and Barneys). The most evident, of course, remained Anna Wintour, which begged the question: Could the September issue be causing trouble? As FWD put it: "The absence is unprecedented, but surely, she has an excellent reason."

Jean Paul Gaultier
It was a flashbulb frenzy as Mickey Rourke and Kylie Minogue showed last-minute to take part in the shows. Apparently Rourke was so freaked that he watched the whole show from a corner. The fashion reflected the paparazzi madness, to a certain extent, as Gaultier channeled a golden age of Hollywood -- here a Marilyn Monroe, there a Rita Hayworth and maybe even Barbarella. Each look that came down the runway was as varied as its inspirations: there were structured bodysuits, sequin jumpsuits with fur coats, and even one ridiculously luxurious pair of crocodile overalls.

Maison Martin Margiela
We'll say it. The Margiela show looked straight-up creepy. The models' faces were all covered with what looked like nude stockings, giving them a goosebump-inducing bank robber vibe that wasn't quite countered by the incredibly imaginative clothing. Margiela really strikes an interesting note for couture by using unusual materials -- blue pen caps make up a jacket, fake eyelashes make up a vest, etc. It really is the kind of fashion-is-art collection you always hope to see, but at the same time ... kinda creepy.

Elie Saab
In contrast to the chaos of J.P.G., Saab's collection felt like a careful study in white. It was so unified and consistent that the WWD review started with: "If there is a designer adept at working at theme in multiple variations ... certainly it is Beirut-based Elie Saab." The looks felt positively angelic, from a semi-sheer off-the-shoulder gown with flower petal appliques to slouchy cream sequin jumpsuit. We'll keep our eyes peeled for these on Hollywood's red carpets in the coming months.

If Elie Saab's show was angelic, it seemed everyone was stunned by the lack of color (or straight-up optimism) in Valentino's show. It was, in fact, completely black. Editors at the Times UK had been treated to a preview the night before and had remarked that it was "Valentino meets gothic" and "radical," and those predictions did not disappoint. On seeing the all-black procession, Joe Zee wailed,"Not one piece of red in sight. It's a new day at Valentino. Hell, there was barely any long." But we must admit, everything that came down the runway was drop-dead gorgeous, from the black minidress with a giant bow covering the back or the series of nude dresses with sheer tulle, lace or flowers adding texture and weight to each piece.

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