PARIS — This season of
In the first of two main events, Belgian designer
The photographers outside the show were 10 deep, snapping pix of guests who included
Simons rewrote the codes of French design for a new generation with a collection that was all about color, movement, lightness and legs. It was sexy all right, beginning with Dior's famous Bar jackets reinterpeted as super-short coat dresses with surprising bursts of color or crystal embroidery peeking out from a godet, a pleat or a hem.
Minidresses with trailing hems sizzled with iridescent streaks of color in motion. Ball gowns were deflated, chopped off at mid-thigh and worn over black shorts. And floral ball skirts were treated as casually as jeans, paired with black crew-neck sweaters — a trick Simons honed during his time at
The second big moment will come Monday, when Hedi Slimane, whose slim-line aesthetic dominated men's fashion when he was the designer for Dior Homme from 2000 to 2007, debuts his first women's collection as the new creative director for the venerable house of Saint Laurent, which he is designing between studios in Paris and Los Angeles.
The week is also about newcomers like Damir Doma, who have built their businesses independently, outside of the luxury industry's brand-as-star system, rather than working in the shadow of long-dead designer names at old fashion houses like Dior and Saint Laurent. Doma's edgy, sophisticated collection showed he is one to watch.
As witnessed at the Dior show, even in Paris — the industry's directional compass and ground zero for serious fashion — celebrity swirl is part of the scene.
The most eagerly anticipated front-row guest was scorned starlet Kristen Stewart, who turned up to see the
It was a sure bet that Stewart would come because she is the face of the house's new fall fragrance, Florabotanica, a mix of a hybrid rose, wood and moss inspired by a fractured fairy tale. And it seems as though Ghesquière must have had that fairy-tale theme in mind while designing the blockbuster collection, which was both naughty and nice.
(Of course, Stewart's own life became a fractured fairy tale this summer when she was caught cheating on her boyfriend, "Twilight" costar
Although most of the New York collections for spring, shown in early September, were dominated by color and print, many of the Paris collections have been moving in a different direction, emphasizing clean lines and surfaces. Here is a rundown of trends and themes that had emerged as the week hit its halfway mark.
Midriff-baring bustiers and cropped tops, grunge plaids and Morrissey on the soundtrack. The 1990s are back in fashion for better or worse. At
The key piece — a sheer, plaid button-down shirt (Noten's softer take on the grunge flannel) — was paired with everything from a silvery plaid sleeveless jacket, nipped at the waist, to a slouchy camel-colored grandpa sweater and sheer floral pajama pants.
The sheer trend we've seen on the runways the last few seasons isn't going anywhere. Van Noten used layers of sheer washed florals and checks on breezy, free-flowing silhouettes to bring weightlessness to his collection. And
LOOK TO THE EAST
Karate-style jackets, pajama pants, sharp cuts and lacquered leather. Designers borrowed all that and more from the Far East.
Lanvin' s Alber Elbaz brought Asian-inspired kimono sleeves, sash belts, origami-like folds and silk knot details to disco chic evening clothes, including tuxedos and jewel-toned cocktail dresses.
At Mugler, the look was sexy and sculptural. Scuba knit dresses came with full, parasol-shaped short skirts and plastified horizontal pleats. Crisp blouses with lantern sleeves were worn over slick leather pants or miniskirts.
Damir Doma took a more utilitarian approach, pairing sash-belted apron skirts and cropped windbreakers or silk tunics with palazzo pants in vibrant hues.
CLEAN IT UP
Several designers had the impulse to lighten up on digitized prints and surface doodads and make a clean sweep. Precise cuts and clean lines at Balenciaga were Nicolas Ghesquière's answer to fashion's current embellishment overload.
Sculptural black-and-white dresses with molded bustiers and stiff ruffles nodded to the house's Spanish heritage. (Wool crepe bonded onto technical, synthetic fabric gave the forms their stiff shape.) And crisp, covetable wool canvas pants were worn with midriff-baring tops under long-line jackets or cropped capelet blouses.
With a soundtrack of Beach Boys tunes conjuring images of simpler times — the halcyon days of summer in the early 1960s, perhaps —
GOOD GIRLS GONE BAD
Sex kittens and Hollywood vixens are having their moment this season. At
At Balenciaga, tweedy miniskirts with front pleats or gold button fastenings worn with matching cropped jackets had a touch of the naughty-schoolgirl vibe, while laser-cut leather dresses with thorny vine-like embroidery and jagged hems were wickedly sweet.