Costume National: Safari and African inspirations filled the Milan runways, and the expedition continues here at Costume National. Ennio Capasa fashioned his safari gear with bright seaming or piped details, while, for evening, he lavished a handful of dresses with tribal beading, especially pretty in royal blue satin. Having given a nod to the trend du jour, Capasa was soon off to more familiar territory, namely his favorite superslim silhouette. This materialized in the form of skinny pants or suits in shiny fabrics that left little wiggle room. What better way for Capasa’s gals to show off their well-toned bods? How about lots of microminis or long slinky numbers, some in liquid jersey, slit all the way up to there? After all, you don’t only need safari gear to stalk your prey.

Sophia Kokosalaki: After four-and-a-half years on the London runways, Sophia Kokosalaki decided to give Paris a try. And even before showing her charming spring collection, she was sold. “Now I don’t want to go back,” she said backstage. While, in its usual setting, her collection plays into London’s cool Britannia vibe, seeing it here brought out another side, one that is particular to Paris: the artistry of her techniques.

Kokosalaki’s got old-school skills, and in this vibrant, pretty collection she applied them to a fabulous fleet of new-school dresses. Who could concentrate on the tailored clothes with all those lovelies floating around out there? Kokosalaki opened with a gauzy froth of raw sculpted ruffles, a mini homage to the dress she designed for Björk to wear during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. From there, she went on pintucking, pleating, twisting and puckering like a master. But while she flaunted her talent for serious design, she did it in an offhand, offbeat way that kept graceful party dresses shaped on top and fluid on the bottom. These were the complex, yet commercially viable, items retailers look for from a young designer, and the dreamy stuff that had young editors in the audience rethinking their spring clothing budgets. Bonjour — and brava — Sophia!

Givenchy: It doesn’t yet have a replacement for outgoing designer Julien Macdonald, but Givenchy does have a collection — confected by an anonymous studio — which it showed at a presentation at its headquarters on Wednesday. Inspired by Louise Dahl Wolfe’s photographs and a breezy Forties and Fifties American sportswear-meets-French-chic style, the line was focused on capturing the house’s legacy for sophisticated elegance. To wit: Many of the pieces, from a raffia bolero to the inside-out gingham sundresses, looked as if they had been pulled straight from the archives. Nautical details abounded — underscored by a seaside decor with striped beach chairs — on sailor trousers, sundresses with thick rope belts and long gowns with contrasting piping and capes. The pieces had charm, but lacked the vitality one hopes Macdonald’s replacement will bring to this venerable, but hibernating, brand.

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