STRONG DESIGNS, much of it structured, brilliant color, a special emphasis on white, and an almost intellectual recognition of the role of nature in fashion were among the major themes rocking the new Paris couture shows for spring 2009.
Dresses took primary place at most of the major design houses, although pants and pant suits were still present. The mini skirt came on with zest, often cut way above what any reasonable woman might wear.
Military looks were center stage often enough; graphic and floral designs were integral to the glamorous statements and spectacular colors displayed at the shows. Hot pink hues were summer-oriented; Tibetan oranges were wildly vibrant, especially when mixed with greens and blues; neutrals were very sophisticated, powdery (think lilac). Styles cut off-one-shoulder reminded of Michele Obama, as did the love affair with both ruffles and the color white, expressed everywhere.
— A fun note: Lagerfeld for Chanel was fantastic with white paper designed into full, ruffled skirts, big bird headdresses, even tailored skirts and jackets. Maison Martin Margiela Artisanale was equally enthralled with white paper, using it make a gorgeous tuxedo jacket which he showed over nothing more than panty hose. Is there a message here?
Shoulders were a hot feature. Big shoulders, shoulders with padding, shoulders with major design emphasis. Lacroix even placed a big dark blue flower cluster on one shoulder of a harem-styled outfit for spectacular effect.
Glitz was played down. Shine was played up. Metallic embroideries were important. Metallic materials and architectural shapes often expressed a space-age quality.
–A point of interest: Birds and feathers were a subtle but often reoccurring theme at many designer houses. Keep it in mind. You can even copy the idea in a fun way:
- A birds and birdhouses charm bracelet is an entertaining take on the bird theme growing in high fashion circles.
And what about other jewelry? It came through with verve in super-big and super-long earrings, bracelets galore (worn on both wrists and often running up the arm to the elbow), hot and creatively different looking necklaces (long and short), little clutch handbags, and big, imposing belts.
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Some couture impressions:
LAGERFELD FOR CHANEL: White, white, white. Very innocent, demure. That was the major message coming from this hot couture house, with other-worldly outfits in snow white, many utilizing paper (yes, real paper!) to emphasize the idea. Accessory action was in headdresses and hats with a totally fantastic character: big, birdlike paper creations mimicking feathers and flight. Very creative, but will the idea fly?
The look here was mostly voluminous: Big skirts with pieced paper and chiffon-like tiers, ruffled skirts, huge floral impressions, collars and cuffs, again in shredded white paper, done brilliantly but a bit on the fantastic side. Also seen here: silk pants (a la India-India tights worn by men); big shoulders (some looking like military improvisations). Tailoring was crisp, non-glitzy, often with a 70s retrospective.
ADD A TOUCH OF LAGERFELD-WILDNESS TO YOUR WARDROBE WITH BIG ACCESSORIES:
- Lucite bangles in bright colors – pile them on!
- A deep golden stretch bracelet of large tile dome beads.
- A long double layer necklace of shell beading with mother of pearl earrings.
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CHRISTIAN LACROIX: Ohhh, the color! Blindingly bright oranges, greens, pinks and reds, many with an intense Tibetan flavor. Big material bows, especially on the shoulders. More shoulder action in little dresses with large shoulder pads. Tightly fitted chiffon evening wear, wispy. Shortie coats with big collars, belts, and full skirts.
Wild accessories here: Huge silvery hoop earrings, big, big bangles worn in multiples and in hot colors, big beaded chokers that looked like charm bracelets for the neck, hats sitting on the head like colorful top buns. Points to note: military looks, slouchy pants, polka dots, and balloon dresses.
HOOP EARRINGS NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE! This year, they have Paris written all over them. Mimic the look but leave the price tag:
- Gypsy hoops with dangling coins. Done in antiqued silver plate with
jet faceted stones.
- Long Victorian- styled earrings with occasional flash from jet stones… Dynamite!
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GENERAL TRENDS TO NOTE:
Avalon Vega: Pencil thin dresses with emphasis on big shoulders. Ruffles galore. Very nature-oriented jewelry with butterfly images, blown-glass flowers and little animal charms.
–Animals are especially in fashion this year, as the market turns to nature for creative inspiration. Try:
- A charming crystal swan brooch in appealing soft colors for summer.
Stephane Rolland: Sleek, sexy looks; demure, above the knee lengths; tailored, architectural lines. Accessories: Big pleated bows, bejeweled cuffs, multistrand pearls.
–The multistrand look just won’t let up! Enjoy it best by combining several different necklaces together at once. Like this:
- A 3-strand hematite necklace with center fiber optic beads for a touch of color; and
- A smooth long chain in silver plate.
(Out of Paris – continued)