Paris’s Oddball Plaids, Judo Suits, and Hothouse Flower Girls

Published September 27, 2012

Dries Van Noten got freaky with plaid and fancy flowers. The long, loose, and layered collection of mixed-up pajamas, dressing gowns, chunky skirts, and bed jackets were topped with transparent petticoats that slipped day patterns into evening fabrics and vice versa. The cozy plaid shirt went all fluttery in transparent chiffon, turned up in skinny dressing gown coats, showed oversized and shot with Lurex for chubby tops, and peeked out from under billowy chiffon petticoat skirts and tent dresses. The silk flowers, clustered on a chubby skirt, bunched up on bed jackets, scattered across a transparent overskirt or peaking out from under the hem of a blazer, provided the faded romance. Spiky pumps sharpened the proceedings.

Everyday is Halloween for Gareth Pugh, who can make even pale gray, not to mention blood red, look pretty menacing. Opening the show with a black veiled lady, he unleashed kinky stole tailoring, corsets, shroud-like scarf draping, pointelle swirl patterns, and a marvelous slinky slit fabric that resembled Venetian curtains and undulated worm-like with every move. This was all satisfyingly frightening, but by far the scariest look was the floor-scrapping bell-bottoms that Pugh built up to a crescendo in fluttery silk ruffles not seen since Cher in Las Vegas.

Imagine a chic French librarian—perhaps she presides over a private collection of illuminated scrolls. That’s Damir Doma’s girl. Doma’s nomadically draped menswear has a large following, and his women’s collection is in hot pursuit.

The judo suit, which appeared in numerous forms in this collection—in leather, quilted cotton, or combinations of cotton, raw silk, and leather—is Doma’s boyish ethnic base, which he filled out with a sleeveless Perfecto jacket and a motorcycle skirt, paperbag waist pants held up with slapstick clown suspenders, and a few slinky tomboy knits that are surprisingly sexy.

The Rochas babe might have attended the same school as Doma’s antiquarian, but they haven’t seen each other in years. Pampered and picture-perfect, Marco Zanini presented a Busby Berkeley lineup of coordinated florals and satin. Rochas’ blushing pink silk faille polo shirt and matching shorts are ready for a game of tennis or cocktails. There was a midriff showing off in almost every look here—the nude waist is spring’s erogenous zone—in bra tops to match pencil and crystal-pleat skirts, with a voluminous smock coat thrown over the shoulders for a bit of oomph.