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Paris Fashion Week

Despite the credit crunch crisis, Parisian designers stayed true to their luxury roots

For the designers showing at Paris Fashion Week last week, it was a question of “recession, what recession?” The parade of optimistic, ultra-luxe clothes took in vibrant shades of canary yellow, tangerine, tomato and raspberry as well as kaleidoscopic geometric prints, often animal inspired. Sheer fabrics and subtly exposed skin were also a key focus for designers including Celine, Jean Paul Gaultier and Valentino.

Conversely, structured silhouettes were also important, particularly with nipped in waists and exaggerated shoulders. The wide, smooth-lined shoulder had a space-age rather than 1980s feel and was an essential part of the collection at Balenciaga, and was also seem in a cut off cap-sleeve version at Miu Miu, Lanvin and Celine.

The waist became the new erogenous zone as almost every jacket sent down every runway was cinched at the waist -most notably at Yves Saint Laurent- as were hop sack waist shorts and harem pants at Chloe, leather corsets at McQueen and sculptural suits at Celine.

To further reinforce the extravagant mood, an Eastern theme required reams of fabric to be artfully draped and folded into soft origami-inspired pleats at Lanvin and Sophia Kokosalaki and kimonos and Dhoti pants at YSL.

Shorts came through at Valentino, Chloe and YSL, with many of the dresses on show mirroring their mini hemline.

Surface texture and embellishment brought a tougher edge to proceedings with studs and leather strappings, densely encrusted sequins and coin paillettes, all of which will prove difficult for the high street to replicate.

Balenciaga’s hi-tech offering of ergonomic bandage dresses, textured tabards and metallic corrugated pleat jackets was all about shape and silhouette. At Givenchy, the straps and keyhole cut-outs were rock and roll-influenced whilst at Dior, they served more to weigh down the floaty chiffon dresses.

In terms of tailoring, Chanel did not disappoint with a new longer-line take on the ubiquitous boucle suit. Stella McCartney’s oversized mannish tailoring came in high shine satins.

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