France and Italy face off in one of the biggest fashion battle royales on the second day of Paris Couture Week

It is very much handbags at dawn on the second day of couture’s great return to live shows as la vie Parisienne and la dolce vita duel it out in an epic sartorial square off. At one end of the ring is one of the brightest jewels of the Right Bank that has informed not only our most vivid of fashion dreams but also our way of life. And at the other end, a heavyweight couture contender that has become a wardrobe staple for polite society.

Tatler Singapore has tallied all the votes, and the results are in: It is a tie!

We are also proud to report that there were no casualties—well, except maybe our closet space. But you know what they say about the price of beauty and everything. And for Chanel couture and Armani Privé, we would gladly let our pockets take the hit and be reduced to collateral damage. Here are some of the reasons why these two shows stood out on what promises to be a great season for fashion.

Related: Highlights From Paris Couture Fall/Winter 2021 Day 1: Dior, Iris Van Herpen, Schiaparelli

Chanel

Always a highlight of fashion week, there really is so much to love and look forward to when it comes to a Chanel show. With all the trappings of its trademark insouciant elegance and craftsmanship, these sartorial spectacles often precipitate a sense of urgency and attention from more than just the stylish set. A name so synonymous with putting Paris on the fashion world map, one cannot think of the French capital without thinking of Chanel—what more its prized couture collections. And at the helm of one of France’s biggest exports, devotees and even critics alike frequently have only one question to ask about the head of this iconic couture house: What will Virginie Viard do next?

Here’s what.

In what could have possibly driven the artisans at the houses of Lemarié and Lesage blind—taking into consideration the number of hours it took to construct just the opening look of the show alone—the amount of forensic detail that also went into the entire collection is astonishing. Viard’s signature quiet definition of romance is translated into painterly embroidered coats that whisper the Pointillist specks of Georges Seurat and flourishes of other Impressionist artists like Vincent van Gogh and Édouard Manet. These outerwear pieces are not only begging to be ordered but also reveal frothy feather and floral appliqué skirts that are in search of a permanent home. And like the perfect ending to every Chanel show, this finale is a vision that will make us all misty-eyed; as the bevy of Chanel beauties step out en masse to descend the steps of Palais Galliera and receive blessings of cascading white camellia petals and thunderous applause.

It really is only fitting that the show took place at a fashion museum, because today, fashion history was made.

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Armani Privé

Even at the age of 87, sticks and stones may break his bones—and they have, lest we forget how he was hospitalised for two weeks just a few weeks ago from a ghastly fall—we can always count on Mr Armani to still bring a certain kind of Italian lustre to Paris Couture Week. And while that awful accident broke his arm, his spirit on the other hand continues to remain unbreakable as ever—which quickly prompted the fashion world to further mint him as an international treasure and protect him at all costs. And it is this exact sparkling attitude belonging to one of the Italian kings of fashion that informs Armani Privé’s latest couture collection. So it should also come as no surprise that he named it, Shine. 

Like flattering reflective rivers of molten coloured metal, it is very easy to see why his offerings this season will quickly pervade the highest echelons of society. Mr Armani’s signature metallic silk organza creations flow like cascading mercury that are perfectly contrasted by silhouettes so subdued, they make brilliant high fashion paradoxes out of their wealthy owners. And with a colour palette so inspired and unique to him, his obsession with dusky after dark hues of blues and blacks are flawlessly complemented by another personal favourite shade of ours that he showcased today: Pink. Through the use of what we believe is fashion’s most universal shade, the king schooled us on a royal lesson in fit and proportion. Not bad for an octogenarian. To the next 87! Long live the king!

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