Signs of Spring At Paris Fashion Week

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

PARIS — This city doesn’t need to rely on bright sunshine and fragrant fall breezes to make it beautiful. But yesterday, Paris had both. The Tuileries gardens were teeming with people lounging outside, making the most of the good weather. With so many languages, the city’s international flavor was easy to capture: The world comes here to witness and share in something grand. And the same holds true for Paris fashion week.

While the biggest draw of the day, Christian Dior, is a symbol of France, the lineup of shows ranged from veteran Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto to the Turkish designer Ece Ege, the talent behind the brand Dice Kayek.

Even when John Galliano creates for Dior, a brand favored by France’s first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, he finds inspiration from the world abroad. For his spring/summer 2009 collection, Mr. Galliano sent out pieces with tiny seashell beads and tiered ruffles that had a subtle tribal look. Colors were bright with shades of yellow, orange, and blue, but this was a long, long way from African printed cotton. Jackets were seductive and structured in leather and python. Swishing beneath them were short skirts of the lightest, pleated silk.

The combination of a structured top — be it a belted, studded jacket or a metallic embroidered bodice — with an airy skirt was the dominant theme here. And it carried over into the gowns. Fitted, strapless tops flowed into long, sheer skirts that exposed a bodysuit (with boy-cut legs) underneath. As Elle magazine’s creative director, Joe Zee, put it: “He reinvents diaphanous every time — this time it was both long and short.”

Indeed, when these skirts were short, they were very, very short. And when they were long, they were dazzling. A sheer, celadon gown, with a halter top embroidered so smooth it looked like mesh, closed the show on an elegant note.

Yohji Yamamoto delivered his collection along with a mellow, peaceful feeling. Slow piano chords struck while models strode at a somber pace down the runway. No stilettos here, just flat sneakers in black or white. The collection emphasized jackets that go all awry in that carefully studied, yet haphazard, way that defines Yohji Yamamoto. Jackets with extra strips of fabric, extended tails, or unfinished edges were shown over skirts and dresses that swept the floor or hit the knees.

The most clear sign of spring was a deconstructed sundress worn with a wide brim hat twisted and frayed. It had much in common with the ethereal yet rough wedding dress (with crenoline) that closed the show.

A black print of square shapes and florals on purple fabric was a rare use of imagry.

More common were the oversize, artistic white shirts — so oversize that they resembled dresses — worn over wide leg pants. For creative types or for those unafraid of the unusual, this collection (and brand) has a whole world to offer.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Ege presented a compact spring/summer 2009 collection for Dice Kayek. The look here blends femininity with minimalism, structure, and luxury. Some cocktail dresses had a girlish, yet mature flair: With short sleeves and puffed-out skirts, the classic party dress came in for a modern update. But that’s not to imply that minimalism ruled: Other pieces emphasized appliqués, such as rosettes on a cream sheath dress. Most interesting, however, was Ms. Ege’s use of controlled volume. The skirts on several cocktail dresses were covered with a layer curving out away from the body. The effect was that of two bowls, one inside the other — and the top one off kilter just a bit. This asymmetrical trajectory made for some fascinating shapes. Though the brand has a retail shop in Paris, it also makes made-to-measure wedding gowns. And if what’s on the runway offers any indication, this is the designer for brides who embrace Contemporary design and architecture.

But a blast from the past is always welcome, too. The name Thierry Mugler conjures thoughts of the sexy 1980s, and the new Thierry Mugler Édition, which ships to stores in December, does not deny history. While Mr. Mugler directs the production of cosmetics and fragrances and makeup, the designer at the helm is Rosemary Rodriguez, who worked with the brand’s namesake between 1994 and 1999. For this relaunch, she went to the archives for sizzling, signature design references. Tuxedo jackets are sharp and structured, yet yielding. Pleated white dresses show off the décolletage and accentuate the waist. Couture denim, a fabric Mr. Mugler was known for, has been cut into pants with loose wide legs.

The New York Sun

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