As the Paris collections wound down, designers' offerings ranged from tailored trenchcoats and safari jackets to jeweled tunics and slinky evening numbers meant for the red carpet.
Guy Laroche: Thanks to Hilary Swank and the auspicious timing of the Academy Awards, designer Herve L. Leroux showed his second collection for Guy Laroche with the house’s name fresh on the lips of fashion watchers. Nevertheless, red-carpet candidates were only half the story on Leroux’s glossy white runway. In fact, the designer seemed to delight in classic tailored fare, such as belted trenchcoats with swingy hems, jackets with a touch of safari or military and slim suits. Leroux, however, should note that the classic turns boring in large doses.
He built up to his red-carpet candidates with variations on the little black dress, from girlish and pleated to corseted and va-va voom. As for those Hollywood-worthies, other than a regrettable group of dresses covered with sparkly embroidery, most were a not-so-exciting exercise in simplicity.
Kenzo: In the three seasons that he has been designing Kenzo, Antonio Marras has led the house on an around-the-world trip. For his terrific fall show, he wandered into an English garden, then threw in references to exotic places ranging from India to Peru for good measure. Marras likes a madcap mélange, and his talent lies in making a remarkably overcharged aesthetic blend into a comprehensive whole. His fall collection was replete with patterns and textures, such as Indian-inspired embroidery on a coat and flowers appliquéd on a jacket, riffing on the house’s colorful heritage in a new way. Silhouettes were easy and full, with baggy trousers, pleated and ruffled skirts and breezy chiffon dresses. There was eccentricity in the pairing of a flower-print dress with a floppy hat or a dress that mixed tartan with floral. In a nod to Stanley Kubrick’s film “Barry Lyndon,” which is set in 18th-century England, one of the movie’s stars, Marisa Berenson, came out for the finale in an embroidered coat and ornate necklace. And just when the audience thought it couldn’t get any better, the curtain parted to reveal a tableau with models lounging in a dreamy English salon. Bravo!
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