By  on September 27, 2007

Some new faces on the scene.

Designers Ophelie Klere, 25, and François Alary, 26, have a thing for black comedy. To wit: As they take their collection to the Paris runway for the first time, they have found inspiration in the late playwright Sarah Kane, who committed suicide after writing some very intense theater. But with a collection based on feminine silk and satin dresses, Devastée will probably have brighter days ahead. "The collection is cool, calm, dark and funny," said Klere.
The duo founded their line in 2003, and it is carried by such stores as Hong Kong's Lane Crawford and Paris' Surface to Air.

Delfina Delettrez Fendi
A creative destiny is more or less a given for any progeny of the Fendi family. But it wasn't until she became pregnant with her first child in December that 19-year-old Delfina Delettrez Fendi embarked on her contribution to the family story.

"It's kind of been like two births," mused Fendi, who had her daughter, Emma, in August, and who will unveil her first jewelry collection at Colette on Oct. 1. The 200-piece line, priced from $400 for a ring to $3,000 for a necklace, forks into two stories: skulls and, on a lighter note, animals, both explored in offbeat combinations of noble and common materials. Gold, silver and diamonds coexist with leather, bone and wood.

Iridescent "pop" colors fend off macabre associations, she says of the skull line, inspired by the spooky wartime stories recounted by her grandmother, Anna. Her granny's antique crucifixes also influenced Fendi's designs, while having been raised between Rome and Rio de Janeiro explains her penchant for "the tropical shades of Brazil."
Any teething problems, Fendi conceded, arose in the technical bits, such as sketching the pieces. Her father, the French jeweler Bernard Delettrez, served as her interpreter. "He's totally intuitive about my designs," she said. Her friend, actress Asia Argento, meanwhile, has stepped in to direct the brand's promotional film, to be screened at the launch. The work features Fendi and her younger sister, Leonetta.

Estrella Archs
Cacharel's new artistic director, 33-year-old Estrella Archs, will mark her catwalk debut with the launch of a signature line, financed by Cacharel, where she worked from 2000 to 2002 as design director.Archs' conceptual collection is inspired by the four elements. Cloud-like fabric trims a knitted suede tunic, which has irregular braids to resemble watery streams. Representing air, a "wind coat" in lightweight tweed raffia polyurethane puffs away from the body.

"I even used a burner to scorch silk for the fire theme. It's the kind of thing you can only get away with doing in Italy," quipped the Spanish designer, formerly known as Esther Angula. Lyria's Riccardo Bruni designed the collection's fabrics.

A shoe line also will bow in the collection, as well as an oversize bag "big enough to fit your boyfriend in," Archs said.

The designer's Spanish roots can be found in the form of fluid, poncho-inspired dresses and a dramatic flamenco skirt — "because that's my earth," she said.

Out of India
The addition of two Indian designers to Paris Fashion Week promises to be a vibrant affair.

Manish Arora, who launched his brand in 2001, is rerouting from London, where he's been showing for three seasons. "In India, we're so used to colors," trilled Arora, who called in from Delhi as he was putting the final tweaks on his collection, an "Indian take on Pop Art."

"I've used a lot of Seventies silhouettes printed with images from the era, but using intricate Indian embroidery," he explained. Certain embroidered prints are inspired by Roy Lichtenstein, for example. Elsewhere, psychedelic hues run riot.

"I've used a lot of [innovative] woven fabrics," said Arora, adding that some of the more spectacular looks were crafted in collaboration with Swarovski.

Anamika Khanna, who is bringing her three-year-old eponymous label to Paris for the first time, conjured up the feel of "Indian royalty traveling the world" for her collection.
"Indian textiles techniques remain the base, with a contemporary twist," said Khanna, adding that she sees Paris as the perfect venue for more craft-oriented labels.
Encompassing lighter spring elements such as skirts, dresses and summer coats, the collection also includes a "larger-than-life" take on the ancient Indian silhouette, the angrakha.Commuun
With eco-friendly fashion riding a wave of popularity, Commuun, the Paris-based brand with an environmentally friendly touch, is taking its collection to the runway for the first time, on Oct. 1 at the Atelier Richelieu.

"We find it a more feminine collection," said Kaito Hori, surveying the racks of featherweight creations with his co-designer, Iku Furudate, at their sunny studio in Paris.

The collection promises to be clean and minimal with a focus on the brand's signature pantsuits. But there is also a feminine touch, thanks to voluminous monochrome minidresses layered with chiffon and ultralight organic cotton, and draped robes in Japanese paper fabrics. "We were partly inspired by Thirties fashion," said Furudate of the mostly white collection, which is jazzed up with a flash of purple or light blue. Meanwhile, the designers said they are working on a shoe and bag line for next season, as well as a new knitwear offering. At present, the brand is distributed in 15 doors, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Dover Street Market in London and Shine in Tokyo.

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