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Fashion 89 : 3 Designers Offer Medley of Messages

Times Fashion Editor

The classics of Hermes touched knees Tuesday with the more decorative designs of Valentino and Emanuel Ungaro as all three fashion houses showed their fall styles within a 24-hour span.

Hermes, undergoing great expansion in Europe these days, is trying to update its fashion image without losing its traditional charm. The results are a quaint blend of prim and progressive.

The firm’s famous silk twill scarf prints have been incorporated into shirts, sweaters and vests, which will probably become collector’s items. They are teamed with slim leather pants, knickers and timeless tweed suits with an old money look. Colors for these are in the classic category, too: deep red, dark green, warm brown and camel.

Some pants and coats have Kelly fastenings (named for the late actress-turned-princess, Grace Kelly), which have been used for decades in the company’s luggage and bags. Updated looks include swingy fleece jackets that reverse from green to pale pumpkin, slate blue to gray and wine to taupe. A pants outfit is executed in three fabrics of the same pale sky blue shade: corduroy pants, slubbed wool jacket and leather coat.

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Skirts were just below the knee or longer for day and evening wear, which included gracefully slim black coat dresses and loose, black or white satin jackets to toss over skinny black satin pants.

The new design team here consists of Claude Brouet, a French former fashion magazine editor; and designers Myrene de Premonville, Tan Giudicelli and Thomas Maier.

Bright and Busy

Ungaro’s look is bright and busy by comparison. It is a melange of mixed patterns, shiny bright satins and velvets, iridescent taffeta and tri-color outfits with bright shades used for jackets, blouses and skirts. In among these mixed messages were elegantly simple, wool tweed and black leather suits. A big group of the designer’s signature dresses in bright colors, draped and shirred from shoulder to knee, received enthusiastic applause Tuesday. They looked positively simple amid all the other Ungaro clothes.

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The frill was definitely not gone from this designer’s drawing board. His final group of evening wear featured short, iridescent taffeta, igloo-shaped capes above short, slim strapless dresses bedecked with huge rows of ruffles traveling every which way.

Italian designer Valentino seemed to leave no trend untapped in his 200-outfit show Monday, the longest of the season so far. Long, quilted circle skirts with button fronts, slim skirts in above-the-knee and ankle lengths, cuffed trousers, tufted or quilted jackets, plaid suits and short, sexy, draped dresses were all on the menu here.

Contrasts in Color

Colors were very bright or subdued. Hot pink or bright blue silk-quilted jackets appeared above slinky brown sequined dresses. Black cashmere jumpsuits featured filmy lace bodice inserts and lace turtlenecks. Black velvet dresses and theater suits were ornamented with frilly white ruffled collars and cuffs.

The designer’s signature fabric this season is a mosaic of tiny geometric shapes, which look sewn together by hand, as if for a quilt. This fabric, in brights or shades of brown, showed up in skirts, jackets and coats throughout the collection.

The French culture minister invited visiting buyers and press on Monday night to the Gauguin art exhibit, which recently toured the United States and is on display here. On Sunday night, designer Yves Saint Laurent hosted a museum tour of Russian costumes lent by the Hermitage. Saint Laurent ends the week of fall fashion shows with his presentation today.


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