By  on October 14, 2003

Issey Miyake: When designer Naoki Takizawa gets an idea, he runs with it, exploring its many references and possibilities to the hilt. There is no faulting his rich imagination, and this season, he stuck largely to a sport motif that translated into utility straps decorating just about everything, from bustiers to jackets, or trousers that laced all the way up from their integrated tennis shoes to the waist. Yet, in all this athleticism, there was a dash of poetry. Jersey dresses had an easy elegance, while abstract heart-print dresses and skirts were playful. Takizawa explored the idea of a second skin with lingerie-like bodysuits, exposed when the models pulled off their sporty jumpsuits. The idea was not new, but it resonated sweet innocence.Andrew Gn: One has come to expect opulence and luxury from Singapore-born designer Andrew Gn. He has an unrelenting penchant for impeccable tailoring, richly embroidered fabrics and refinement. This season was no different. Gn, in his program notes, invoked Catherine Deneuve’s character in “Belle de Jour” as an inspiration. So out came the coatdresses, prim skirts, halter dresses and ruffled blouses — many embroidered with hydrangeas or lilies of the valley — that any bourgeois princess would love. They were pretty, but one wished they were sexier. Meanwhile, georgette dresses came with jewelry built into them. It may not be a novel detail, but Gn appropriated it on his own terms, dipping into a rich palette of bight pink, yellow or blue.Cacharel: Taking the house’s signature Liberty prints and giving them a dose of whimsy inspired by a fun-loving, 21st-century Alice in Wonderland, design duo Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro showed a spring collection that delivered cute clothes for the cool schoolgirls that are the house’s core clientele. Tweed trousers zipped open at the leg, while a chambray shirt came inset with the print. Halter tops, short trousers and pleated skirts all came in bright florals. More original were the spade-shaped prints with an Art Deco flair, or the bold, blue, striped skirt. None of it was revolutionary, but the collection had charm.Martine Sitbon: With fashion’s winds blowing soft and romantic, Martine Sitbon, long a progenitor of tough downtown chic, set sail for calmer waters. That meant a profusion of floaty chiffon dresses in a soothing palette of white, powder blue, yellow and pink. Sitbon’s motif of bows and flowers turned up ruched on skirts or knotted at the waist. One skirt boasted a big bow that climbed up over the shoulder, wrapping the model like an oversized present. Another dress in blue chiffon folded around the body like the petals on an upside-down flower. There was also some sterner stuff. Silky baseball jackets and jersey dresses that zipped up the front or were hooded gave a nod toward the street, but avoided aggressiveness, while tuxedo dresses, worn with a little bolero, say, or folded into a pouf of ruffles, were more sweet than sexy.Véronique Leroy: She didn’t stage a show, but Véronique Leroy’s concise and confident collection told a story rich enough to stand on its own. The designer said she wanted to capture a sense of urban adventure in her leggings and body-hugging knits in a constructivist collage of blue, white and orange. Suspenders came on a miniskirt, while a little jacket was paired with slouchy oversized pants. Polkadot chiffon minis were light and frothy, while Leroy played with big brush strokes of color on roomy Eighties-style jackets. Rounding out the effort were two pairs of extra-large customized Levi’s 501s with kneepads and straps around the knee. Commissioned by the denim giant, the jeans will be exhibited in Paris by Levi’s later this month.

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