By and  on March 6, 2002

Feminists could argue that the fashion world still has a glass ceiling, since the collections of most major houses here are designed by men. But Paris does seem to be making strides with a fall fashion week that features three young women making their debuts at established French firms: Lizzy Disney at Jacques Fath, Ritu Beri at Scherrer and Laetitia Hecht at Guy Laroche.

Two of them, Disney and Beri, were recruited by Mounir Moufarrige, who hired Stella McCartney at Chloe and who is now at the helm of France Luxury Group, which owns Fath, Scherrer and Emmanuelle Khanh. "There aren't enough female designers around," Moufarrige said. "I don't know why, because I think they have a great sensitivity to clothes. They're designing for a shape of body they're living with day and night. They are wearing the brands themselves, which is a plus."

Here, profiles of these designing women:

Lizzy Disney for Jacques Fath:

Nibbling on a croissant, sipping coffee and smoking innumerable cigarettes at a dim Paris hotel bar at 10 a.m., Lizzy Disney warned, "I'm not a morning person."

In this sense, you might say she resembles Fath himself, whose glamorous social life and legendary parties helped inspire his curvy clothes. "I feel like there's a connection to him because he was such a social person," Disney said. "I'm very much a nighttime person, and when I go out, I'm very inspired. I love looking at people, and I have a habit of redressing them in my mind."

During her brief career, British-born Disney, 30, has already earned a reputation for melding retro sophistication with modern hip. It's a formula she'll continue with at Fath. "I'm doing Lizzy Disney-meets-Jacques Fath," she said of her debut collection. "There's an old-new thing going on. There's also a masculine-feminine thing. I do a modern cut with antique details -- perhaps that's the best way to describe it."

Disney said the collection plays with Fath proportions and details -- his intricate pleating, his emphasis on the waist and his signature dark sky blue color. But since the house hasn't produced ready-to-wear in five years, and most people know little about the brand, Disney said she doesn't expect many to notice the references.

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