By  on March 4, 1994

PARIS -- Drowning in a spare sea of shapeless, drapeless clothes and heavy metallics? Help is on its way from Paris, which this fall promises to celebrate fantasy, glamour and simple sex appeal. With all the man-tailored pantsuits and high heels, military jackets, micro-shorts and itty-bitty skirts, mounds of mohair and brocade, velvets, ethnic mixes, Greek chic and tons of fake fur, it looks as if fashion is back in fashion.

This city is also buzzing with an energy that it hasn't had in years. Robert Altman's equipe is on the loose -- dispersed in various front-row seats -- as collections start in the grand Carrousel du Louvre today.

And nightlife may actually be making a comeback at last. Just the party list alone is refreshing: photographer William Klein opens his exhibit "In and Out of Fashion" this weekend; New York DJ Frankie Knuckles -- stepping in for Suzanne Bartsch this season -- will be at Le Palace Tuesday, and Chrome Hearts is throwing a big fete at L'Arc on Wednesday, which Johnny Depp and Cher are expected to attend. Vivienne Westwood promises to hold her usual batty post-show bash and Gianfranco Ferre his small dinner.

And no ready-to-wear week would be complete without a number of events hosted by Monsieur Le Director, whose "Pret-a-Porter" cameras start to roll this weekend. Last night was the first official cast dinner at L'Arc, and next week Bulgari and Altman will film and fete the launch of Bulgari's new collection at a dinner at the Pavillon Ledoyen.

The Altman invasion has left the Paris fashion flock more than a little star-struck. Sonia Rykiel has just recorded her first song, "Who the Hell is Sonia Rykiel," on Malcolm McLaren's new album "Paris." NBC is following Diane Von Furstenberg around all week, and Calvin Klein swept into town for a three-day visit, fresh from his London "Escape" launch, to check out possible locations for a boutique in Europe.

As for the runway rundown, John Galliano will show a capsule collection of 20 pieces at Sao Schlumberger's old Saint Germain house Saturday. No one is really talking about who will actually manufacture his clothes -- Faycal Amor may do so again if orders are good -- but the British designer doesn't seem too worried. He was spotted earlier this week at Harry Winston on the Avenue Montaigne looking for a few runway accessories. John may not have much money, but he certainly has a lot of friends and, at the very least, his girls will look like a million sparkling bucks.

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