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The Other Side of the Story

During the fall couture shows, the haute metier wasn't the only game in town.

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PARIS — During the fall couture shows, the haute métier wasn’t the only game in town. Two designers also showed ready-to-wear collections — Alber Elbaz of Lanvin and Azzedine Alaïa. Many have paid lip service to the idea of transforming sportswear into eveningwear. But Elbaz presented a pitch-perfect cruise collection — he prefers to refer to the season as “spa” — rich in glamorously draped T-shirts, airy jackets with puffed sleeves that he calls his “summer furs” and dresses that are casually twisted and wrapped like pareos. “It’s about less,” he said as he showed the collection at the Crillon. But he couldn’t have done more.

Meanwhile, Alaïa is no stranger to denim, and the first installment of his pre-spring collection illustrated the fact. “Denim is a fun fabric to work with for volume, and it’s a good look for spring,” the designer said. His military trench flared out for an Alice-in-Wonderland effect, while his undulating jean skirts were ringed with brown leather seams. The simple counterpoint: white T-shirts decorated with flowers or his new “A” logo. Alaïa also whipped up some new accessories, including a pointy Fifties pump, while also riffing on some familiar shoe shapes. His best-selling wedge still holds court, this time revisited in red patent leather with a cork heel or studded, gladiator-style.

This story first appeared in the July 11, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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