Paris Diary: Day Six

Published March 5, 2012

Christophe Lemaire steered Hermès into gaucho and homespun territory on Sunday with crunchy-fringed capes in intricate knit over wide, pleated leather pants tucked into boots. Lemaire’s luxurious sportswear is quite a contrast to the skinny black column which is the uniform of most French fashion editors these days, and that’s not a bad thing. These are clothes for people with the time and money to travel well. Relaxed, chic is the objective. Everything here had a boyish, ready-to-ride look, from the fedoras and tone-on-tone combinations to the crisp, white men’s shirts worn with wide knit ties, fur vests, wraparound blanket coats cinched with a wide leather hip belt, drop waist skirts in leather roomy man-tailored coats, and silk satin pieces in Persian rug prints.
 
Kenzo is back in colorful form, thanks to the talent of Opening Ceremony’s Carol Lim and Humberto Leon. There were cupcakes from New York’s Magnolia bakery on every seat and Kenzo’s colorful patterned style on the escalators of the amazing Université Pierre & Marie Curie brightly lit with neon tubes for the occasion. Lim and Leon remember Kenzo back in the day, but their collection is contemporary. Space-dyed sweaters covered with Jungle Jap animal embroidery with matching full, pleated skirts, bunches of grapes in two color ways to mix and match, and wool tailoring with bold sweater stripe sleeves were standouts.
 
While Phoebe Philo waits her new baby, Céline must go on—and so it was a small presentation, but that doesn’t matter when almost every piece shown looks this good. Philo’s new men’s coat looks like an oversize blazer with a loose, “martingale” back belt in contrast colors—one white wool and another in pink fur both with black belts—crunchy tailored V-neck sweaters with bright fur insets, the paper bag clutch in tan leather, and chunky zip-front boots. Céline girls will no doubt adopt the bold stripe neck scarf tied cowboy style, which Philo morphs into a sleeveless scarf blouse.
 
Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci is a dark horse, and all the archly curved, black-on-dark tailoring intricately combining wool with leather and fur with shots of red and purple, looked like a fashionable horseman of the apocalypse. Dresses inset with bias piecing, crystal pleat leather skirts, and batwing jackets shown with soft pleated leather trousers tucked into thigh-high boots made the most of Tisci’s mind-blowingly complex construction talents and Givenchy’s ability to produce them to perfection. For evening he put black lingerie lace and beading all over satin slip tops and pleat skirts. In shocking orange, cinched with a purple belt and worn with second-skin black leather gloves reaching up to the shoulder, it had a chic, demented dancehall allure.