The spring season ended with a bang in Paris this month. Key pieces such as platform shoes, cropped jackets and romantic blouses paved the way for some highly praised collections, among them Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. In addition, WWD said Paris offered “great dresses, easy sportswear and other creative styles that should keep the luxury business rolling.” Linda Fargo, senior vice president of fashion office and store presentation at Bergdorf Goodman, commented, “Paris always crystallizes the spirit of the season.” The top 20 Paris collections accounted for 31.8 million page views on Style.com, 47 percent more than last year.
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“Karl Lagerfeld showed a perplexing collection,” said WWD, noting his color choices for spring — black, white, pink and yellow — and the odd combinations of pieces on the runway, such as a tweed jacket paired with sequined swim briefs. Still, he had some standouts, like his short tweed dresses and the tulle-veiled jeans.
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It was a romantic, gorgeous spring at Louis Vuitton. Marc Jacobs sent out a lineup of cashmeres, floral prints and plenty of accessories. And since handbags are the engine that drives the fashion house, they “just kept coming,” said WWD, “embroidered, printed and appliquéd with lace.”
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Working with Edwardian tailoring and extra curvy gowns, Alexander McQueen showed a collection that WWD called “perfection.” He sent out solid silk gowns with flower petals, corset dresses, a tiered black gown and a dress with a poufed-out hem and plenty of crystal beading.
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Nicolas Ghesquière’s dark approach to fashion futurism was evident in his visions for spring. He showed sleeveless jackets, bronze warrior dresses and brassy leg armor on the one hand, but made sure to include some salable pieces, such as his printed scarf dresses, stiff miniskirts and tunics.
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Using a colorful palette for spring, Valentino’s evening lineup of romantic gowns oozed sophistication, even with the endless ruffles and bows attached. His shorts set showed his versatility, while a naughty white dress with a peekaboo latticework design raised some eyebrows in the crowd.
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Continuing the youthful, fresh theme established by Phoebe Philo, designer Yvan Mispelaere — in his last effort before leaving for Gucci and being replaced by Paulo Melim Andersson — delivered a charming spring collection that almost ventured into “too cute” territory. He sent out plenty of Seventies-inspired loose dresses and wearable sportswear pieces. He countered these with quilted, darker boho looks that were appealing.
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Alber Elbaz’s spring was a “très sexy rendition of the season’s futuristic look,” said WWD. He showed short tulle dresses with gladiator skirts, and dresses adorned with zippered pockets. Other pieces literally glistened, like his black trench that looked slicked with oil.
JEAN PAUL GAULTIER
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If you believe in time travel, Jean Paul Gaultier has the perfect spring collection for you. He spanned the decades with his motorcycle jacket, cone-breasted corset dress and skirts for men. He also picked up a sporty motif with his sequined track jackets, satin gym shorts and silky hoodies.
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The collection John Galliano showed “was all about real clothes for real stores,” said WWD. By day, he dressed his gals in smart suits, some with interesting cuts, others with rounded shoulders. By night, he draped them in embroidered dresses and white jersey frocks, embellished with small metal hoops.
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Hussein Chalayan offered a “cunning visual feast” with his futuristic pieces and mechanically transforming dresses. A lacy Victorian dress morphed into a flapper number, while another model’s transparent sheath was sucked up into the brim of her hat, leaving her stark naked.
YVES SAINT LAURENT
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On a runway tightly packed with flowers, Yves Saint Laurent targeted the Eighties working woman with floral dresses, ginghams, layered gowns and the occasional daring retro piece. The collection “displayed a savvy evolution with clothes that should resonate beautifully at retail,” said WWD.
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Stella McCartney’s “pretty sportif” niche was in full force for spring, and “it made for a fresh, utterly delightful collection,” said WWD. She showed subtly sporty dresses and layered tanks, simple anoraks and even a long jacket over a leggy romper.
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The crowd wondered where was the merch at John Galliano. “He offered garish-toned short dresses and gowns decorated with graphic embroideries that looked like metallic stickers from the corner Hallmark store,” said WWD.
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The Hermès collection Jean Paul Gaultier showed made up for the lack of an interesting backdrop on the runway. While his models walked a gangplank filled with deck chairs, the pantsuits, gold swimwear, chiffon dresses and suede baseball jackets made for a breezy spring collection.
VIKTOR & ROLF
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“Welcome to Paris!” screamed Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren’s spring collection. Inspired by the disciplines of ballroom dancing and figure skating, the duo showed a beautiful lineup of sleek coats, goddess gowns and detailed blouses. “The collection epitomized the wondrous possibilities of Paris fashion,” said WWD.
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Sticking to a no-nonsense approach for spring, Miuccia Prada’s long silk dresses with wild tribal prints were a welcome balance of alternative and chic. She also kept looks — such as her richly colored shirts over trousers and miniskirts — fresh and feminine, yet still structured.
DRIES VAN NOTEN
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With a runway backdrop of 130,000 pink flowers, Dries Van Noten showed a collection that “exuded the quiet confidence of knowing cool, and it offered oh so much to wear,” said WWD. He sent out silk anoraks and track jackets for day and romantic embroidered floral sack dresses for evening.
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Ricardo Tischi’s collection was “a full-throttle fashion show full of hyperconscious clothes,” said WWD. The jeweled vest, paired with a knit suit, and the thick, heavy dresses of shaggy fringe were crafty; “whether the house can maintain itself on his grandiose imagination alone is another matter.”
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Though Vivienne Westwood delivered with her signature dresses, tailored skirts and slouchy trousers, her collection was a little on the wobbly and awkward side. Perhaps it had something to do with the poor model who fell flat on her derrière a couple of times toward the end of the show.
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“Aside from the occasional outlandish flourish, Lagerfeld focused on real, wearable clothes,” said WWD. He sent out edgy, Eighties-like dresses that included plenty of layers; the minis and cotton baby dolls carried the same edge, even with their sharp, flat ruffles.