PARIS -- It was a tale of simple elegance or brassy tongue-in-cheek glamour at the Pret-a-Porter Paris show that ended here Sept. 5.
Streetwear -- especially club-born ideas -- hit en masse. Designers turned out a bubbly brand of young fashion that included quirky pieces in glittery silvers, cotton-candy pinks and baby blues.
The new mood seemed to catch the interest of buyers targeting the youth market, especially now that Europe is finally edging out of its long recession.
Pret organizers predicted attendance would be up almost 5 percent over last September's show, which drew 51,213 buyers, but could not provide final figures. Usually about half the buyers are French, and Italy, Spain and Japan send strong contingents.
Leading the flashy young pack this season was Pucci, a new line by Emilio Pucci's daughter Laudomia that is produced by Altana in Italy. It's a young-spirited collection of pink and orange A-line dresses and tons of metallic synthetic blend fabrics.
"The goal is to revisit the style of Pucci, but interpret it for a much younger client," said an Altana spokeswoman.
Tim Bargeot, a young French designer who has been on the scene for five years, showed a disco-glam collection: little hot pink and green stretch terry cloth skirts, extra-small logo T-shirts and baby-doll dresses.
And London's Red or Dead was on a psychedelic trip with butterfly-print satin or sparkling silver pantsuits and saucy preppy wear.
"It's really cheeky and fun, with little girly dresses and pants worn with high heels," said Red or Dead sales and marketing director Katarina Hudson. Other bopping booths included Christophe Lemaire, with flapper fringed minis and neon parkas; Isabelle Marant, with satin blouses and batik-printed baby-doll dresses; Claudie Pierlot, with schoolgirl gingham knickers and jackets, and Corinne Cobson, with sassy knit skirt-and-top outfits, leopard-print slipdresses and glittery silk short A-line dresses with this season's favorite: matching jackets. Funky flea-market forager Xuly Bet showed up this season with a brand new collection produced by Puma. Xuly Bet Funkin' Club's dresses and tops -- a take on Puma's sports gear -- are made from the authentic material Puma uses. The line wholesales from $52 (280 francs at current exchange rates) for a T-shirt to $75 (400 francs) for the bright-colored sneakers with cork platforms. Assan Faye, Xuly Bet's commercial director, said a striped stretch rugby top and a long patched-together dress were bestsellers. Although the Altana spokeswoman claimed that "some buyers have been a bit scared of the strong colors," most seemed to welcome the return of bright hues. The naturals -- except pure white, another big trend this season -- were virtually nonexistent.
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