By  on January 22, 2008

Anne Valérie Hash spread the love in her couture collection, while Martin Margiela and Guy Laroche's Marcel Marongiu used the opportunity to show their ready-to-wear, replete with deconstructed and no-nonsense looks, respectively.

Anne Valérie Hash: Over the years, Anne Valérie Hash has been a partisan of the masculine-feminine mix, but these days she's giving greater emphasis to the feminine side of that equation. Her spring couture, for example, was dedicated to "love" and offered a fair number of ultralight tulle confections — think translucent gowns — with a variety of shoulder manipulations and multiple origami effects. Glittering Art Deco-inspired embroidery added an element of dash, but it wasn't enough to make Hash's small collection of 14 looks into a sparkling performance.

Maison Martin Margiela: Taking the old and making it new has been a guiding principle for Martin Margiela ever since the secretive Belgian founded his business 20 years ago. The designer's latest witty creations for his so-called "artisanal" ready-to-wear line of recycled clothes, which he unveiled in a small presentation during the couture, included actual fishnet draped into an evening gown, a top of folded antique ribbons and umbrellas remade into a raincoat. For those who feel like feting Margiela on his two decades in fashion, he also created a top fashioned out of a deconstructed disco ball. Now if he's really clever, next season he'll figure out a way to make a dress out of Champagne.

Guy Laroche: With a new designer — Marcel Marongiu — showing his first rtw collection here, Guy Laroche took a step toward moving beyond a recent cycle of turbulence created by a revolving door of designers. Marongiu cleaned the slate, concentrating on no-nonsense skirt suits with strong shoulders. For evening, once the house's bread and butter, he offered some beguiling silky dresses livened up with sequins. For the most part, Marongiu stuck to safe territory, but a bit of high-octane fashion might help to rev up this ailing house's motor.

Fancy Ideas

Roger Vivier: "I liked the idea of having found these buried in an ancient Egyptian queen's tomb," said Bruno Frisoni, creative director of Roger Vivier, when asked what inspired a pair of sandy crocodile heels dusted with golden scales. Those shoes are only a small part of a dizzying panoply of fancy footwear from the house's second couture accessories line, "Exquises Esquisses," or "Exquisite Sketches," which ranges from a kitten heel bedecked with a flamboyant ruffle to a richly hued feathered pump with a floral motif, in a palette that runs from celestial blue to neon pink. But for Frisoni, the heel can be just as wildly decorative as what's up front, mimicking a sprig of coral, say, or studded with a bead of rock crystal, or even three-dimensional and faceted in vibrant lacquer. Highlights from the Vivier handbag collection include a geometric gilded minaudière adorned with clusters of enamel stones, and a soft clutch sporting a flyaway trail of shocking pink chiffon. As Frisoni put it: "It's like something Gloria Swanson would wear — straight out of 'Sunset Boulevard.'"

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