Yohji Beats to his Drums, Lanvin Plays the Accordion, and More




Paris Fashion Week hit its first high note on Friday when Alber Elbaz got to the point with a few simple shapes and saturated colors. Elbaz’s swirling accordion-pleat skirt was slit sky high and paired with a one strap tank in fire and smoke orange set the urban jungle mood which continued with horizontal pleats designed to magnify every curve cinched at the waist with raw leather belts. At one point Elbaz took the sleeves and sides of coats and twirled them around his hourglass knit dresses like an artful scarf. What more do you need?

Is Yohji Yamamoto a hippie at heart? Out from under a series of somber, but sexy black Edwardian dresses popped psychedelic light show skirts in satin and chiffon. Even the combat boots and tights looked like they were on acid. By the end of the show, he was in full trip mode with a T-shirt black proclaiming “this is me” over a neon yellow skirt that looked ready to float in the pool.  





Imagine the Andrews sisters on a south pacific tour with the U.S. Navy. At Christian Dior, John Galliano found the perfect mix of flounce and military snap: tropical palm playsuits with sailor’s midi jackets. The genius of Galliano is all in the details and he didn’t disappoint this time: Dior’s Caribbean silk prints are slit and macramé for a new kind of rough lace to cinch the waist ending in chic rag fringe. Top that with Betty Paige wig hats and bright cat’s eye sunglasses and it’s aloha full steam ahead.
Isabel Marant is on a roll and for spring she raided J.Crew’s closet. Leave it to a French girl to put Parisian sexy into boyish American summer style. The first look said it all: A chic remake of the Okinawa jacket (the embroidered satin, raglan sleeve zip front vintage classic) over a sport mesh top with girlie football pants (cropped mid-calf with lace-up fly and knee patches) so pretty in pale pink.

Brazil’s Pedro Lourenço returned for his second show in Paris to prove he’s not just a flash in the pan.  Lourenço is still 19, which probably makes him the youngest designer here. His optical-illusion leathers are mind-boggling. Combining flesh tone stretch and transparent panels he makes shoulders, legs and waist vanish into, thin air.  The overall effect looks like dolls’ clothes spraypainted for a disappearing act, which is mesmerizing.
What happens when a man’s wardrobe meets a woman’s body? Maison Martin Margiela explored this question in a meeting of the absolute linear with the eternally voluptuous. After a series of washboard flat shirts, pants, trench coats and evening dresses, the MMM team ended up vacuum packing the jacket and the girl and despite this industrial flattening, curves prevail.