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The Word From the Runways: Paco Rabanne, Per Spook, Gerald Watelet, Lapidus, Nina Ricci, Lecoanet Hemant, Maurizio Galante,

<STRONG>Paco Rabanne:</STRONG> In the program notes for his collections, Rabanne claims he wants "to save Planet Earth," and he did his bit by steering clear of tin and latex and using lots of "natural" fabrics. Rabanne sent out short-skirted gazar...

Paco Rabanne: In the program notes for his collections, Rabanne claims he wants “to save Planet Earth,” and he did his bit by steering clear of tin and latex and using lots of “natural” fabrics. Rabanne sent out short-skirted gazar suits, satin trapeze dresses and giant ethnic-print caftans. But the designer’s true love – high tech – emerged at the end, with a slew of wacky and revealing minidresses made of Plexiglas, perfect for the woman who really wants to get into trouble.

Per Spook: Continuing the ecological trend, Per Spook looked to the sea for inspiration. The upbeat show had smiling models sent out in groups of clothes with names like Ocean and Pink Sand. A cream shantung sheath was painted with pale pink starfish, while floor-length black crepe dresses featured fishnet backs, straps and shawls. Although the casual designs often felt like ready-to-wear, it was a collection that rarely ran aground.

Gerald Watelet: Thirty-year-old Belgian designer Gerald Watelet has brought his show to Paris. The well-behaved collection, while not proof of genius, suggested potential. For day, he sent out long wool crepe jackets with high-waisted gabardine pants and, for evening, he covered all the bases with short dresses, pants and long, side-slit gowns. This fresh-faced boy from Bruxelles has been pleasing the local ladies for five years, but will need to go further to win over the Parisian front row.

Lapidus: Oliver Lapidus cut a fresh couture collection this season, mixing lots of white and ecru for day and using linen and crinkled organza for evening. His signature black and white looked smart in long, sleek – sometimes midriff-baring – evening dresses and in his sleeveless tuxedo. Pierre Berge, who was in the audience, gave the show a thumbs-up: “I like Oliver. He’s young, and that’s important for the business.”

Nina Ricci: What with the slide show, clips of old Fred Astaire movies and tuxedoed men dashing on and off the stage, Gerard Pipart’s collection for Nina Ricci seemed more like a re-creation of “Roberta” than a couture show. Nonetheless, Pipart does have a way of creating nice evening numbers that are pretty enough to please his conservative ladies. This season they danced out in low-cut, softly pleated white or navy gowns or simple crepe columns with floaty chiffon insets. For day, Pipart was best with subtle silk prints in the form of soft wrapped kimono jackets over pajama pants.

Lecoanet Hemant: Greenpeace should give the house a medal. The design duo of Michele Cramont and Philippe Dayan offered up an inventive, primarily green collection in natural fibers, accompanied by a soundtrack that included seagulls’ cries. Jute skirts were interlaced with seashells and pebbles, dresses looked as it they were made of grass and one beige leather jacket came in the shape of a clam. This was couture at its most ecologically correct.

Maurizio Galante: Galante took several fashion trends – a return to nature, deconstructionism and Miyake-like pleating – and threw them into a couture blender. A pale pink floor-length dress was paired with a bolero jacket embroidered with coral; a floral-embroidered shantung jacket was sent out with a pleated, mid-calf skirt with unfinished seams, and an oversize kimono was made of triple organza silk bent into row upon row of tubes. It made for an elegant presentation, albeit of some already well-trodden avant-garde ideas.