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Sonia Rykiel: Left Bank designer Sonia Rykiel scored with a frisky collection, featuring models cavorting in ultrasmall striped bikinis or floaty chiffon dresses. Elaborating on her favorite knitwear motif, Rykiel worked sweaters into oversized dresses that dangled off the shoulders or slouchy knit trousers with utility pockets. Her miniskirts and satin lingerie dresses picked up on this season’s sexy vibe. Rykiel’s still got plenty of vivacity and kick.
Guy Laroche: Laetitia Hecht, in her second collection for Guy Laroche, has begun to direct this aging house down the comeback trail. Hecht, who was inspired by Africa, interpreted safari looks with low-slung utility pants paired with sexy lacy tops and also worked a glamorous African-queen angle with slinky chiffon dresses.
Issey Miyake: Naoki Takizawa delivered his best collection yet as design director for the house of Issey Miyake. Takizawa’s serene draped dresses, which were inspired by antique books, came in parchment colors or printed calligraphic script. But not all of the references were literal, so to speak. Colors ranging from aqua to yellow added a romantic twist, while his jackets with multiple folds on the lapels and pieces with crisscross lace lattices provided a window into the designer’s prolific mind.
AF Vandevorst: Belgian design duo An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx cranked out a solid collection, their best in seasons. A silver brocade coat set the tone and presaged fetching pleated skirts, slim cropped pants and chiffon dresses. Cool beiges and whites were interrupted by bursts of bright red. The designers avoided the too-tricky, and moved forward with a softer, more sophisticated vision. Even their pleated skirts, worn with a bib suspended from the neck, were graceful.
Paco Rabanne: Artistic director Rosemary Rodriguez is plugged into the spirit of Paco Rabanne, who continues to serve as a consultant for the house. Her winning spring collection balanced Rabanne’s signature chain-link minidresses and metal Amazon bikinis with more approachable sportswear. Rodriguez revisited Rabanne’s aesthetic in jewelry-like halter tops and developed a Japanese theme with kimono jackets and tops.
Kenzo: Gilles Rosier, the designer at LVMH-owned Kenzo, tuned into the house’s fantasy heritage with a collection that went south of the border — to Mexico. Models wore sombreros or sported tooled-leather dresses with Latin-flavored embroidery. His parrot print added a festive twist to this upbeat collection.