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Weeks and weeks of runway shows have industry insiders starting to talk about “fashion fatigue,” as one top publication put it.  With this incredible rush of design coming from all sides, it is hard not to find a lot that is new, exciting, and sure to sell, but at the same time, when does it stop?  When do we get to come up for air?  That may still be a long way away…


                                           ENTER PARIS


…where fashion is as insane as it is brilliant.  News is rampant.  Styles you may never have imagined much less seen are here in super-size. Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton has outfitted his models with huge Afro-style wigs, so big they extend beyond the shoulder width.  The clothing is equally off-the-wall:  Little girl outfits.  Stripes going every which way.  Hair bows.  Rabbit tails the size of fox tails hanging down from waist bands.  Shiny little handbags worn on straps around the neck.  Big bracelets.  Across the chest big bags with more of those fuzzy fox-like tails hanging down to the floor. 


Pinks and greens and baby blues were important colors, along with neutrals of all sorts. White-washed yellows and blues and tans.  Layered looks: blouses over slacks with jackets tied around the waist.  Wide leg shorty-shorts.  Flouncy hemmed mini-minis.               

        –But nothing quite compared with the shoes. Big green fabric boots with white hairy base.   Shoes that looked like funny-looking children’s bedroom slippers.  If you ever saw anyone in any of this actually walking on the street, well…!


                                           LITTLE GIRLS


At Mui Mui, more children’s dresses for adults…and a certain Cinderella look in smocking, sheer nude panels, spangles and glitz.  There was a lot of emphasis on the bust line, plenty of mini skirts, plenty of long skirts.  Several models wore long pinned-on braids, German-style. 


But fear not.  A more grown-up look came from designers like Elie Saab and Kenzo, who put out long dresses in silky fabrics and colors that ran from neutral tans to soft hues and deep purples.  Draping was very important.  Embellishment, in the form of heavy, clustered sequins and crystals were set into small spaces (like a corner of the shoulder) for a very big impact.  Jewelry was wild.  Bracelets that looked like fuzzy circles of hair, some heavy, some thin.  Big bib necklaces in amber, very asymmetrical. 

   –Kenzo worked with deep-crotch trousers, very Arabic, wrapped headdresses, Moorish-style prints, white lace suits, and no small amount of Sahara-inspired images.








                                       LAGERFELD’S PROVINCE


My oh My!  Karl Lagerfeld’s collection for Chanel was strictly based on country living albeit a wild and wooly kind of country.  Skirt lengths were eeeeks! Short! And, to make matters worse, full! Or, they were terribly, properly long.with an Asian sensibility.  Pattern was everywhere, especially florals, in the form of country-girl orange-red poppies, very 1950s retro.  That orange-red color kept poking its head up throughout the show, on shoes, on belts, on hair accessories. 


Some of the Chanel outfits were very airy, gossamer.  Others were heavier, sturdier, country-practical.  Hair accessories were smaller than usual, more wearable. Gone was the wildness of this accessory category. What we did see were silk hair flowers.  Little tiaras.  A feather or two.  Little head wraps.  Woven fabrics (especially for handbags) were hot.  So were crystals and lace. Handbags were of the clutch variety.  Or, handle envelope bags.  Or, summery bags with floral appendages that looked like someone carrying a basket full of posies in from the garden. 


For Chanel right now: Think rustic.   Think pretty.  Think down home farm life. 





Running from Chanel to Alexander McQueen this season is like going from cute little girl to alien invasions.  The presentation made you wonder just what the McQueen Paris shows were trying to accomplish, anyway.  One outfit featured a model with hair tightly braided into satanic horns, and worn with a black and green surreal printed short skirted dress with one short sleeve and one long.  Another dress, again with horned model, featured a skirt in crass Halloween orange and black that swooped out just below the waist to create a wide, very short bottomless bubble.  Move a tiny bit in that dress and it would become decadent.


And then there was the shimmery fabric outfit, shoes, leggings, little dress, all of a single sculpture, flashing and shining, looking like miniature bubble wrap.  The shoes, which just flowed out of the skin-tight leggings, were “scary armadillo shoes,” as one publication said.

   –This from the one-time boy wonder of the Parisian fashion world?  Please…


                                                 FABRIC FRENZY


Paris wasn’t without fabric interest.  Some was fluffy and flowing. A lot featured see through pieces of transparent fabric.  A big, pale yellow-green dress from Valentino looked like strips of big lightweight fabric wrapped around the model’s body several times, ending in a short hemline.  Another Valentino special was done in very pale brown-tan encrusted with lacy embellishment down the front and over the short sleeves.  See-through was scary. 


Perhaps paying up for the see-through whimsy, Valentino also paraded a model in diaphanous grey tan long dress with a perimeter (that’s what we said!) of ruffles all around, pushing up to the chin, around the sides, and down across the bottom. Covered up, top-to-bottom!


You could probably come up with several trend stories at Valentino, if you tried hard enough.  Ruffles.  No-waist.  Neutrals. Lace. Whatever.  You really can’t go wrong with Valentino, no matter what the season.










                                     THINGS TO NOTE OVERALL: 


Strips of leather and cording hanging down from shorts and skirts, like the fabric and/or paper strips worn by Orthdox Jewish Hasidim.  Handbags with shoulder straps like luggage straps.  Totally insane shoes, both high and low, all very big, very peculiar-looking.  Hair bows. Little handbags on wrist-strap chains.  Dark bracelets. Shiny silver jewelry.  Wide head bands, great for tennis.  Straps everywhere.  On shoes.  On bags.  Running up the leg and over boots. Leather strap bracelets.  Sort of Gothic!  Sort of tiresome, too!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, October 30th, 2009

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