LOOKS BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO (LEFT) AND CORRADO DI BIASE.
Here today, gone tomorrow. The news about Dior firing John Galliano hit like a dull thud on the first afternoon of the Paris collections, reminding us just how fragile beauty is and how absurdly high the stakes have become in fashion. And this was a day of debuts from young, independently produced designers.
Anthony Vaccarello dreams up skimpy pieces for sultry young belles with legs as long as those of his pal Lou Doillon, who was on hand to cheer him at his small show in the Marais. Vaccarello's collection was launched after he won a prize at Hyerès, France's annual talent spotting festival, and now he has Alexandre de Betak producing and Michel Gaubert on sound. Vaccarello has a delicate way with 24-hour eveningwear, mostly in black, and filmy Lurex with geometric cutouts held in place with fine metal bars and faggoting (no, that's not a homophobic remark, it's a technique usually reserved for fine lingerie) running up the sides of backless jumpsuits.
Corrado Di Biase has done wonderful shoes for Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, and Marco Zanini at Rochas. His first "Miami Burning" collection is inspired by the revenge of a jealous lover. Black hourglass tailoring was covered with white zippers which looked like hungry mouths, and Di Biase zeroed in on every curve with complex insets and curve-enhancing darts. It looks like he's still making the transition from the precise work of shoe design to clothes, which require a softer approach.
LOOKS BY HAKAAN (LEFT) AND NICOLAS ANDREAS TARALIS.
Hakaan, the Turkish designer who won a big grant from France's ANDAM last year to bring his collection to Paris, settled in at the Ritz with a lineup of big girls; and for his second outing, he showed off his tailoring. Hakaan drapes and tucks little dresses like the petals of a flower—one in shiny charcoal looked like an elegantly twisted garbage bag—but this is the icing on the cake. This season, he added a welcome extra layer: swing coats, curvy abstract biker jackets, and simple men's tailoring, which showed off his expert cutting.
Nicolas Andreas Taralis is a romantic. His mix of pre-20th century men's tailoring—frock coats, elaborate cutout vests, and poet's shirts worn like tunics—looked like a dreamy goth ready for a duel. Taralis is making jeans his specialty: this season, they were laced up the side like a pair of boots. Should this girl, in her platform Doc Martens, decide it's time for a dress, all she needs is one of his billowy tunics in puckered silk. They float like flags.