The haute couture shows of spring/summer 2012 have been a thorough luxury to just watch, with designers setting absolutely magnificent statements and leaving the audience in simply, a state of ecstasy. There is an amazing blend of power, sensuality and sophistication (Versace, Givenchy & Stéphane Rolland); eccentricity (Giorgio Armani Privé & On Aura Tout Vu), beauty and elegance (Giambattista Valli & Elie Saab) and at last but not the least, literal hyper-innovation (Iris Van Herpen).

Versace‘s triumphant return to haute couture after eight long years has left me completely mesmerized, and after a groundbreaking collaboration with H&M, Donatella Versace has undoubtedly taken the house to new heights in every segment – haute couture, ready-to-wear and menswear. Iris Van Herpen, on the other hand, has indisputably tested the limits of fashion innovation by creating absolutely out-of-the-ordinary textures, unconventional volumes, severe forms and idiosyncratic proportions, that all tell a very intriguing story. Of course, the extravagant drama by John Galliano for Dior is deeply missed and will always be cherished!

Trend wise – harsh lines, asymmetry, peplums, exaggerated bows and glitter glamour seem to be big this season. Texture seems to have considerably overruled silhouette, with delicate, detailed embroidery on sheers, encrusted appliqué, fluid fabrics that almost look wet, deconstruction, floral motifs and techno prints being at the forefront. The colour palette comprises of mainly black, gold, pastels, skin and white, paired with dazzling accents of coral and lime green that add freshness and humour. Minimalism, femininity, provocation and power seem to be the reigning moods, with technological and middle-eastern influences seen at various instances (Dilek Hanif & Zuhair Murad). Here are my top 10 picks and undeniably, the biggest trend setters of Paris Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012.

1. Donatella Versace for VERSACE

2. Riccardo Tisci for GIVENCHY

3. Giorgio Armani for GIORGIO ARMANI PRIVÉ








A question I receive very frequently is – “what is haute couture and the significance of its existence today”? Historically, couturiers were referred to as taste-makers and the foremost point from where fashion trickled downwards. However, the emergence of ready-to-wear (RTW) in the 1920s followed by the changing face of postmodernity, lead to the democratisation of fashion and thus, a progressing decline in haute couture customers, of which less than 2000 exist today, globally! Haute couture is custom-made for a specific client, employs the finest and most expensive of fabrics, involves strictly meticulous detailing that is executed by hand and is highly time-consuming, thus raising the price bar considerably. Haute couture also allows designers to test their creative limits to the maximum. RTW, on the other hand, is mass-produced in standard sizes for a much larger demographic and also makes the most revenue for a fashion house/designer, along with accessories and other diffusion lines. There are very few licensed couturiers that exist today, who are members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, in Paris. However, the term haute couture has been widely misused by RTW brands and designers since the 1980s, blurring the true meaning of the same.

That’s that then; I hope this article was informative and you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed comprising it!

To watch full show videos of Paris Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012, visit my YouTube channel @

Keep posted for updates on Ready-to-Wear and Menswear Fall/Winter 2012!

Wishing you a lovely, sunny and fashionable summer 🙂 X



Braham, P. (1997) ‘Fashion: unpacking a cultural prodcution’, in, P. Du Gay (ed.), Production of Culture/Cultures of Production. London: Sage.

All images (2012) [online images]. Available from: [Accessed: 31.03.2012]

Fashion (2012) Paris Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 [Internet] Available from: (Accessed: 31.03.2012)

Stéphane Rolland (2012) [online images]. Available from <; [Accessed: 31.03.2012]



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