I’m crazy about couture clothing.  I had no idea about my love for artisan clothing until I went to AIPH for my Fashion Design degree, but now I must admit it is quite an addiction.  I devour Tom & Lorenzo on a daily basis, not only for the ‘bitchy’ repartee about celebs and their obvious ludicrous fashion choices, but also for the sharp eye that TLo has for line and color. I subscribe to the many monthly ‘chronicles of fashion’ including Vogue – for the dreamer in me, and Lucky – for the realistic me, but also to Glamour, Allure and Brides. The last I’ve been hooked on for well over a decade, but finally broke down and subscribed last year while planning my own Big Day. I have fashion apps on my iPhone: WWD Blast, Dior, Chanel, Dolce & Gabanna, and Diane Von Furstenburg to name a few. There’s also ShopStyle and Style.com to keep up with latest fashion news. I get daily emails about sales and new arrivals from all the big department stores and several smaller boutique style stores too.  Catalogs arrive in the mail daily and have created a pile that I really do need to recycle. It’s all a bit much and I realize I tend to over do it with the fashion information overload, BUT, I have access from anywhere, anytime in any media. It’s enough to give a girl fashion insanity!

So what do I do with my fashion insanity? I use it to fuel my inspiration for my own original ideas and also for costumes or uses of fabric I hadn’t thought of before. My personal favorites are Dior, Alexander McQueen, Oscar De La Renta, and John Paul Gaultier. All of them do clothing as wearable art. Not all of it would you wear out on the street, some of it is just to be admired. For example, this dress from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2011 Couture collection is more costume than evening gown:


I like it. The line is one of my favorites, fitted bodice with a full skirt. The colors are pretty, uses fabrics and feathers in an interesting way, and is topped with an expressive hat. I guarantee some celebrity will show up on the red carpet in this look tamed down.

Then there’s couture that’s readily wearable as it’s shown on the runway. Take this phenomenal coat by Valentino from his Fall 2011 Couture collection:


The workmanship on this piece is extraordinary. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it worn by a royal, though probably not Kate since she seems to prefer British and Canadian designers.

Then there’s just purely absurd fun like this Dior from the Fall 2010 Couture collection:


The skill needed to construct the skirt alone is enough to make my head spin. Oh, to study fine sewing technique with one of the great couture houses. Guess which one would be my first choice?

I would SO wear this next Dior concoction with my two favorite colors in harmony:


Now for some pure inspiration and joy in the art of fabric:


Ok, so she’s wearing a flying saucer on her head. But that’s not the interesting part. There’s a ton of engineering in this dress. The bodice makes it appear that the model has no bust and look at the reverse peplum!

Just pretty! Love the use of sequined silk fabric engineered up to here for that ‘flat chest’ look and then the peek of Japanese print silk  at the dart lines and at the hem. Elegant, sophisticated AND chic and I LOVE the use of color. Orange is the new pink!


Armani likes engineering and structure. The hat is a testament to that. But again, engineered bodice to make it shape that way and the little flip on the front. Love the solid black lined with the vivacious print.

Technically Oscar de la Renta doesn’t do couture. His collection is Ready To Wear (RTW), but he sure does do some fantastic dresses.

Lace overlay with pale pink is to die for.

This is the ONLY time I’ve seen lame used in a non-tacky way. Bravo!

This is the dress Emma Watson is wearing right now at the UK Harry Potter Premier.

Fashion Insanity medicated. For today.

Photo credits: Vogue.com, Elle.com