The most memorable moments from fall fashion shows

By Zoe Walker

Prada-influenced embellished skirts, dresses and oversized coat dresses worn over trousers, appeared on Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton runways. Prada's own shows also focused largely on the pant. Photo / AP
Prada-influenced embellished skirts, dresses and oversized coat dresses worn over trousers, appeared on Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton runways. Prada's own shows also focused largely on the pant. Photo / AP

Some stunning collections were presented, but the Fall 2012 show season in New York, London, Milan and Paris was dominated largely by the news off the runway, with two influential designers leaving their labels. From farewells to pants, celebration and celebrity, Viva's fashion features editor Zoe Walker looks back on the moments that shaped the season.

1. Farewell Raf Simons

Widely regarded as one of fashion's most talented, and interesting, designers, Raf Simons presented his final collection for Jil Sander at an emotional show in Paris. It was a beautiful collection, examining the simple idea of celebrating a day in the life of a couple. The big question now: where will Simons end up next?

2. And adieu Stefano!

Just days after the announcement that Raf Simons would be leaving Jil Sander came another big shock: Yves Saint Laurent's Stefano Pilati too would be presenting a swan-song collection.

3. The quiet elegance of Celine

Amid the circus that the shows have become - over the top sets, swarms of street style photographers, bloggers everywhere and mammoth seemingly unedited guest lists - Celine's small presentations to just 70 invited guests was a quiet revolution in the way collections are showcased now. US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, one of the most influential people in the industry, reportedly asked designer Phoebe Philo, "Can you please ensure all fashion shows are like this?" Celine's influence has already proven to be unbelievably strong: will other designers now follow suit?

4. Fashion as theatre

Huge theatrical productions from Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs were the opposite of the simple Celine presentation, with memorable sets that threatened to outdo the collections that were presented on them. In New York, Marc Jacobs' had artist Rachel Feinstein create a twisted paper castle set, while in Paris, Chanel had oversized purple and black crystals growing out of the ground. Louis Vuitton went one better - or at least bigger - than last season's merry-go-round set by building a train from scratch, with models disembarking with their own bag carrying porter.

5. The meaning of fashion

There are designers who present wearable collections that translate easily to the masses, and there are others who use their shows to make a comment or challenge their audience. Comme des Garcons designer Rei Kawakubo is one of the few who use their shows as a platform for such things. Her Fall 2012 collection of flat 2D shapes, that many will dismiss as being simply bonkers, was interpreted by some as a comment on the state of fashion (i.e. online coverage turns garments into 2D objects rather than fully thought out pieces of design). No, it isn't wearable, but it's definitely interesting.

6. Focus on the pant

The influence of Miuccia Prada was all over the Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton runways, with embellished skirts, dresses and oversized coat dresses worn over cropped trousers appearing at all. For Prada's own shows, Prada in Milan and Miu Miu in Paris, she moved away from the pastels and girlishness of last season and instead presented collections made up almost entirely of pants. Cue the rest of fashion's focus on the pant for the next few seasons.

7. Party with Alber

Numerous fashion writers have confessed to having a small crush on the designer Alber Elbaz. The charming Lanvin designer celebrated ten years at the label with a party-like atmosphere at his show in Paris, with giant cakes, champagne for guests, models vamping it up on the runway and Elbaz himself getting up to sing post-show.

8. Kiwis at Givenchy

Two New Zealand based models walked the runway at Givenchy: Anmari Botha and young model Ashleigh Good.

9. Celebrity

What clothes? What was on the runway barely mattered at some shows, where coverage focused heavily on who rather than what. Kim Kardashian was at Kanye (while the clothes didn't win many fans), while at Mulberry the front row heaved with celebrities like the Downton Abbey girls, Michelle Williams and singer-of-the-moment Lana del Rey - who garnered plenty of headlines the morning before the show with the announcement that she had had a handbag named after her.

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