Paris Couture Fall 2009 Part III

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Published July 8, 2009

Less is more has been the guiding light for Paris’s couture be it sci-fi, cinematic, regal, or like a fairy.   Jean Paul Gaultier found his dream on the silver screen and it’s as lean and clean as a Hitchcock heroine with more than a few excessive touches because this is couture after all. The show was a roundup of great style moments in film. Was that Katherine Hepburn on the African Queen wearing a maxi fox stole over a pair of crocodile overalls and turtleneck trimmed with ostrich plumes? Gaultier’s Belle du Jour is corseted into a mix of transparent panels, velvet harlequin checks and patent leather all in elegant S&M black. (LEFT: AT GAULTIER)

Mickey Rourke attended the show, but after making an entrance complete with bodyguard he headed for the back and stood throughout. Stars will be stars.   

This fashion cinema was a clever way to display Gaultier’s take on classics. He played tricks like covering a corset with rhodoid film and  he sent out a few body corsets fit for one of Buzby Berkeley’s beauties, or Barbarella, but by the time his Platinum Blonde stepped out in secondskin sequins, looking like Marilyn in her happy birthday Mr president dress, his message was clear, the way forward is iconic.   Karl Lagerfeld often uses the couture he produces for Chanel to try out new proportions. That was the case for this collection in which almost every piece was styled with a train. Is Karl undecided about which length he prefers  for fall? If so, his ankle grazing trains on short dresses and suits are one way to wear long and short simultaneously. And that’s actually where fashion is right now with the couture shows full of knee grazing skirts and the  front row just one long leggy display.     Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy is a young woman’s couturier.  He designs with the enthusiasm of someone who is still new at the game. Appropriately this collection was presented at La Halle aux Chevaux, in Paris’s Georges Brassens Park.  The horsey atmosphere suited his mix of amazon tailoring, ethnic shapes and sci-fi. A curvy black velvet suit worn with open-toed riding boots, hair parted simply down the middle and pulled back under a goddess-like veil opened the show which quickly dipped into metallic skirts and  sarouel pants thickly jeweled in black on black. As soon as he was done with riding, Tisci went for flesh-tone draping and wrapping set off with a few ethnically placed jewelled  patterns. He’s into gothic mystery. One flesh-colored dress had a  skirt dipped in crimson as though the model had walked through a mysterious pool.  From here a kind of ethnic  sci-fi mix took over with a hint of Princess Leia. This was  pure fantasy, but paired down, close to the bone for earthly beauties.   Thierry Colson divides his time between styling fashion for European magazines and the ethereal  cotton collection he produces in India where he spends several months each year. The summer playsuits and sun dresses  he showed in the garden of Paris’s Petit Palais looked  like the Cottingley fairies, a series of artfully doctored photos of “real fairies”  taken by a pair of schoolgirls in their garden in Yorkshire in 1917.   And the tantalizing thing about Christian Lacroix’s show was that it was one of his best. Presented just after the news broke that his house will shrink from 125 down to a 12-person licensing operation, this breakthrough arrives a bit too late for his current business, but hints at a potentially bright future. Lacroix’s suppliers donated the material and embroidery for this tightly edited show in  black and midnight blue with the frou frou and frantic mixing paired down to a refreshing minimum. His curvy jackets and pouf skirts never looked younger. (LEFT: AT LACROIX)

For previous couture posts, click on.