A crop of fashion neophytes will vie for recognition here this season, while a handful of more established designers will show after spells abroad or even, in Kenzo Takada's case, after retirement. Here, a look at some names in the news.

ALENA AKHMADULLINA: Saint Petersburg designer Alena Akhmadullina is considered one of the rising talents on the nascent Russian fashion scene. Now, the intense 27-year-old is doing what few of her cohorts have done: trying her luck in Paris. She will show Sunday at the Carrousel du Louvre. Akhmadullina said she was influenced by Russian folklore for her collection of peasant blouses and dresses in interesting prints and distressed washes. Though she avows a conceptual bent, she also stresses her designs "appeal to a wide audience of women."

MATTHEW AMES: Making his Paris runway debut, Matthew Ames, 26, describes his style as inspired by "film, music and art," and neither "too conceptual nor too conservative — I like things that have a sensitivity to them, and a bit of a whimsical feeling," he said. A graduate of the Chicago Art Institute, Ames trained at Miguel Adrover and participated in last year's Hyeres fashion festival before testing his luck on his own. Having started with men's wear, now he is developing a women's line. Robert Altman's film, "3 Women," inspired Ames this season, meaning, he said, "the collection has a certain Americana thing going on" with a "bit of the Seventies." Ames will show Monday at the Trianon Theater.

KENZO TAKADA: He's not exactly wet behind the ears, but Kenzo Takada, at 66, said he's as anxious as a neophyte, after coming out of "retirement" to present his first women's collection under his nascent label Gokan Kobo. Already over the last year Takada has launched beachwear, a silk line and home decoration under the name, which in Japanese means "atelier of the five senses." Ultimately, Takada plans to introduce a fragrance and even open a restaurant in Paris. And though he remains as energetic as ever, Takada said retirement has modified his approach. "I'm designing more timeless items now," he explained. "It's not about the vagaries of fashion, [but] more about a lifestyle, and the meeting of Eastern and Western cultures." That translates into colorful kimono tops and trousers in flowing silk and vibrant obi belts, as well as more tailored pieces paired with kimono shirts. "It's for a modern woman who likes luxury," said Takada. "I'm not playing with anything extreme or weird. I'm just doing the things that I know how to do." Takada will present his collection to buyers and press at his showroom, near the Bastille.CATHY PILL: A year after graduating from Brussels' La Cambre school of fashion and

design, Belgian Cathy Pill is testing the waters with a collection she will introduce with a still life presentation Monday at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Pill, 24, has piled up industry kudos already, winning support from the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Foundation, France's Andam grant and the Inghirami award in Italy. "It certainly helps," said Pill, who describes her style as "somewhat forward thinking, but still elegant, romantic and very feminine."

REQUIEM: United by their past at Gucci Group — one punched his card at Gucci and the other at Yves Saint Laurent — Raffaele Borriello and Julien Desselle this season are striking out on their own with a collection that references couture silhouettes from the Forties and Fifties tempered with an edge of modern glamour. They labeled their brand Requiem, not for its associations with death, but because for them, it connotes rebirth. "And we like requiem music," said Borriello, 31. Added Desselle, 25: "We share the same tastes." The duo's premier effort runs from frothy dresses to "New Look" skirts with embroidery. "We're working for a balance of structured pieces and pieces with more volume," said Borriello. They will host a presentation Oct. 6 in a showroom at 29 Rue François 1ere, followed by a fete that evening.

GILLES ROSIER: "Paris is so much more my point of view," said Gilles Rosier of his decision to bring back his signature collection to the City of Light after a two-year recess in Milan. Partnered with Italy's Miroglio-Vestabene since 2004, Rosier said Paris is "more receptive to creative fashion. Plus, I feel more at ease here — it's home." Rosier, who described his effort for spring as based on "cut and silhouette — I don't like ornamentation," said he also is aiming to up his media profile, and to grow his business in such markets as the U.S. Currently, he is sold in 50 doors, with Italy, Russia and the Middle East making up the majority of business. Accessories are among the projects he's working on, and he also is mulling a Paris boutique.ANTONIO BERARDI: "Milan has become impossible for me," said Antonio Berardi. "There's more room in Paris for my type of fashion." That's how Berardi, 36, characterized his decision to show here after five years on the Milan runway. "People expect a certain product in Milan," he said. "Paris has another attitude." For spring, he said the collection will "play on the masculine/feminine thing" with fluid dresses mixed with tailoring. "It's slightly loosely based on the Seventies, with details from the Renaissance," he said. Meanwhile, Berardi is expanding his business. After introducing pre-collections two seasons ago, this season he is launching his first handbag line. He also recently signed a deal with the Shinhwa group to open three stores in South Korea.

ELIE SAAB: Having established an international profile with haute couture, Elie Saab wants to develop his ready-to-wear. On Sunday, the Beirut-based designer will stage his first rtw show, at the Carrousel du Louvre. "I've done ready-to-wear for years, but now I feel is the right time to build it up," explained Saab, 41. Hollywood glamour of the Fifties and Rita Hayworth inspired him for spring. "It's a little couture," he continued. "But there are day clothes, with tailored pieces mixing masculine and feminine details." Embroidery — a Saab signature — will finish his look. "We're in a growth period now," said Saab, adding he hopes to open a shop in Paris by yearend. Meanwhile, Saab is introducing an accessories collection with shoes and bags. "I create for a woman who loves to go out, be seen and be admired," he said.

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