The Everyday Beauty of Valentino Couture Fall 2012

While most of us in the U.S. were enjoying July 4th pool parties, barbecues, and fireworks, there were also staggeringly gorgeous fireworks of the sartorial ilk happening in Paris at the fall 2012 couture shows yesterday.

Couture shows are nearly always one part fantasy fashion, one part theater, and so cost-prohibitive for 99.9% of the population that they don’t get much air time in the real (or fashion blog) worlds. But in the case of Valentino’s fall 2012 couture collection, designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli not only successfully subverted the usual M.O. of the house, they created couture for the modern woman. Exquisitely crafted pieces that are pretty, relevant, and actually wearable.

Of course, the collection speaks for itself, but since I’m in that 99.9% who cannot afford couture, what I loved most about this show was the natural makeup, subtle nails, and simple chignons the models sported with their breathtaking gowns. The real beauty of the Valentino fall 2012 couture show? REAL beauty, that doesn’t require thousands of dollars–or a makeup artist–to achieve.

All images via If you missed the livestream of the show, you can watch a replay for a limited time at

Let’s take a look…

The Face

Luminous and (almost) makeup-free. Well, it’s intended to look that way. I’m guessing after a tinted moisturizer, some highlighting powder was used, along with blush. A well-blended application of light taupe or pinkish eyeshadow on the lid and bottom lash line (depending on the skin tone), a swipe of mascara on the top lashes, and a plum, stained-looking lip finished the look. That looks like a legit ten-minute face, and perfect for summer!

The Hair

A simple top-knot chignon. Again, so easy. Just pull your hair into a ponytail at the top of your head. Begin twisting your hair around the base of your ponytail, using bobby pins to secure it as you wind upward (vs. outward, which creates a bun rather than a chignon). Spray and smooth, and you’re done! The Valentino models’ chignons were kept in place with a hair net (see the last photo on the right). That’s probably not a necessity if you’re not doing multiple outfit changes or walking a runway. 😉

A chignon (like above) is a classic, timeless look that can be worn anywhere, anytime, with anything. And since we’re in a major heatwave in the northern hemisphere, it’s a great choice for long-haired ladies right about now.

The Nails

I couldn’t find an extreme close-up of the models’ nails, but at first glance, I thought one thing: OPI’s You Don’t Know Jacques all over again! Think greige or taupe, a neutral with more oomph than a pale nail, but less in-your-faceness than a black or wine-colored nail.

What do you think about Valentino’s couture beauty approach? Will you give any of it a try?
PS: People often refer to expensive fashion as “haute couture,” which is not only a huge peeve of mine, it’s erroneous in most instances. Several years ago, I wrote about why it’s not the cost of an item that qualifies it as “couture”; if you’ve always wondered why only a few collections are labeled couture, read Couture Correction.


  1. Valentino has, I think, always designed real dresses for real women. Wealthy women yes, but his hallmark has always been wearable, sensual, glamour. I’m not surprised the overall look is pretty, refined and elegant. Will I wear the chignon and understated makeup? Probably not. My hair is too short and I either go for it and wear lots of makeup or wear nothing more than sunblock and mascara. The polish is elegant though…

  2. Love both the makeup and the hair…not the mention that the collection itself was beyond fantastic.
    This was a wonderful post…thank you for describing so detailed the hair/makeup.


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