Swallow-tail frock coats, corset waists, little puffed sleeves, tea-time midi dresses and graceful full skirts--the Paris spring-summer fashion shows for store buyers drifted Friday into the romanticism of yesteryear.
Designer Karl Lagerfeld accented waistlines with set-in corset lines, from daytime short jerseys to a long red dress. They were the only stiffness in his wearable but not startling collection of the new soft, wide trousers and long swirling skirts.
Right in the trend, Lagerfeld showed some above-knee hemlines but more trousers and long skirts. Figure-caressing mid-hip jackets with wide belts in checked linen or belted cotton safari blouses went with above-ankle full skirts of cotton printed with flowers.
Echoing English tea-time dresses from “Out of Africa” were long, creamy, silk pleated blouses and long, straight, pleated skirts with loose creamy cardigan jackets. Otherwise, his color choices leaned to black and navy blue.
Bernard Perris’ contribution to the return in force of trousers was the swallow-tailed frock coat-jacket in tweed or pale gray wool for pants suits. Gleaming silver trenchcoats were slung with glamour over pale gray-and-white-striped trouser suits that had short jackets with wide lapels and sometimes hoods.
Perris used lavender or yellow sharply tailored jackets over tobacco-brown wide trousers. He also showed cuffed Bermuda city shorts with tailored jackets, another trend in the eight-day show under tents in the Louvre museum courtyard.
On Thursday, Christian Lacroix mixed a cocktail of spicy colors, Provencal and Picasso prints, and long fluid silhouettes to draw loud applause. His collection closed a crowded day of showings that also included a firework display of colors from Japanese designers who once specialized in black.
Lacroix, long seen as the successor to Yves Saint Laurent as the king of French design, splashed subtle brown and khaki green, hot orange and deep maroon and golden yellow and royal blue over his second presentation of ready-to-wear.
The profile ranged from ankle-length skirts flared like trumpets below the knee, bolero jackets or empire-waist dresses hugging the breasts and one-piece jumpsuits with wide trousers.
One series, picking up a heavy embroidery theme, had highly decorated knit sweaters and tunics topping elaborate tulle skirts or filmy trousers in pale eggshell.
Another had highly colored separates teaming Picasso motif sweaters and tank-tops with Provencal print skirts and trousers.
Plain linen dresses sported colorful pockets or a bib of bright stitching.
Designer Thierry Mugler, who has built a name on well-tailored suits and shocking fashion shows, presented a cacophony of coutures.
Tame suits had plastic collars or peplums. Leather jackets with tight waists and broad shoulders were dyed in reptile patterns and worn over tight white vinyl trousers.
American models Jerry Hall (wife of rock star Mick Jagger) and Diane Brill were the stars, sporting silver or clear-plastic breastplates under skin-tight suits that had fin-like extensions at the hips.
Earlier in the day, Rei Kawakubo, who designs the Comme des Garcons collection, used harlequin checks with pompon buttons like circus clowns and transparent organdy in pastel yellow, pink and green for a brisk change of pace from black.
Amply cut for the most part, her clothes had longer skirts, wide trousers, bloomer shorts and breeches. Suits were primarily in cotton and linen, with rust, taupe and navy in addition to black and white.