MOVING DAY IN PARIS
IT WAS AN EMOTIONAL FAREWELL TO GIVENCHY, WHILE LAGERFELD AND UNGARO SHIFTED INTO A SLOWER -- AND LONGER -- GEAR.

PARIS--It was a high-fashion moment. Paris loves a sentimental occasion just as much as Hollywood, and Hubert de Givenchy, for his final haute couture collection, pulled out all the emotional stops. At the end of the runway sat one of the most impressive lineups in years. Front-row designers included Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Christian Lacroix, Kenzo, Paco Rabanne, Oscar de la Renta and Philippe Venet, while the second row was packed with high-profile, big-haired Ladies, including Pamela Harriman, Mercedes Bass, Susan Gutfreund, Mary Wells Lawrence, Lynn Wyatt, Deeda Blair and Princess Firyal--and that was just the first show. Smack in the middle was Bernard Arnault, the aloof tycoon behind this dramatic changing of the haute couture guard.
Givenchy, whose career began when Cristobal Balenciaga, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior were at their peaks, seemed a bit ill at ease with all the attention. He shyly accepted the standing ovation, and then went backstage and sent out all the white-coated workers from his couture atelier. Then Givenchy, also in a white smock, emerged once again, his arms wrapped around his long-time assistant, Jeannette. That's when many people, including Madame Arnault, Lynn Wyatt and even Mercedes Bass started to cry.
"It was so moving," declared Yves Saint Laurent. "It's the end of an era," said Christian Lacroix. "This marks a turning point in Paris fashion."
Yet more designers showed up at Givenchy's second show, including Sonia Rykiel, Claude Montana and Emanuel Ungaro, who rushed across town from his own presentation to be there, then dashed right up onto the runway to pay his respects to Givenchy. "I feel very nostalgic--we are from the same school," Ungaro said. Also at the second show were the designer's brother, Jean-Claude de Givenchy, founder of Parfums Givenchy, and his nephews--including one named after Hubert. Givenchy's successor, John Galliano, was not present. According to sources, the two designers are scheduled to meet--for the first time --in September.
Givenchy's clients are certainly going to miss him and his oh-so-wearable clothes. The collection was full of his signature snappy suits, tailored chemises and the kind of black cocktail dresses women always complain they can't find. There were also some flights of fantasy for evening--not all of which took off, but, by and large, it was the kind of elegant collection Paris couture used to be about.

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