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Paris Preview: In With the New

WWD highlights a few noteworthy launches to catch during the upcoming Paris Fashion Week, which opens on Feb. 28.

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PARIS — With the diaries of editors and retailers already bulging for the upcoming Paris Fashion Week, which opens on Feb. 28, WWD highlights a few noteworthy launches, from Myriam Schaefer’s signature luxury bag line to the presentation of the first capsule clothing collection of hip Paris accessories designer Olympia Le-Tan.

RELATED STORY: The Paris Scene >>


CEDRIC CHARLIER:
Alfred Hitchcock’s icy heroines and a photograph of Charlotte Rampling taken by Helmut Newton were among starting points for Cédric Charlier’s debut signature collection — a focused, urban, working-woman’s wardrobe.

“I like the idea of a woman who is independent and audacious,” said the designer, who teamed up with Cutler and Gross for the line’s modern mirrored shades.

Copper zippers and buttons add a touch of warmth and light to sharply constructed tailoring and dresses, some with corset constructions, in dark neutrals like navy and charcoal with touches of burgundy and green. Even the line’s knitwear is coated in a metallic copper.

Fabrics go from herringbone wools and crepes to iridescent polyester and fake leather with a convincing buttery hand.

There are also bags and shoes.

The collection is positioned in the affordable luxury bracket, going from $300 for a top or skirt to $1,200 for a dress.

Charlier, who was Cacharel’s creative director for four seasons before parting ways with the house in 2011, counts as his licensee Italy’s Aeffe SpA., which produces the Cacharel collection. Charlier’s résumé includes stints at Celine under Michael Kors and Jean Paul Knott and Lanvin under Alber Elbaz.

Charlier’s collection will be presented Tuesday at the Lycée Turgot in Paris.

NEXT: Glenn Martens >>

GLENN MARTENS

A graduate of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Glenn Martens is among the season’s promising new faces, with a unique debut effort that brims with potential.

In terms of experience, the designer has worked for Jean Paul Gaultier and Yohan Serfaty. Reflecting a quintessentially Belgian aesthetic, Martens’ new signature collection was inspired by the medieval Gothic architecture of Bruges, the designer’s home town. Focusing on long and lean graphic silhouettes, the pieces are designed to be easy to wear despite their complex constructions. They come in a variety of rich and plain fabrics to suit different moods and occasions.

Easy-chic elements include T-shirts and bomber jackets in watery moiré silks and soft oversize blazers, while trickier pieces include Martens’ intriguing take on pants, cut to hang as flat-as-a-pancake at the front, like a strict skirt.

NEXT: Olympia Le-Tan >>

 

OLYMPIA LE-TAN

Olympia Le-Tan’s clutch bags — sporting hand-embroidered reproductions of classic book covers — boast such famous fans as Tilda Swinton, Natalie Portman, Clémence Poésy and, most recently, Michelle Williams at the BAFTA Awards.

For fall, the designer has dreamt up a clothing line to match by channeling her inner Bettie Page.

“There’s a Fifties pin-up aesthetic, with a bit of a good-girl-versus-bad-girl thing going on,” she laughed.

Produced in France and Monaco, the luxury capsule, which will be presented alongside Le-Tan’s latest bag collection in Paris on March 3, is made up of seven total looks — one for each day of the week.

Dresses are key: from full-skirted tea dresses to hourglass styles in wintry tartans and college stripes. Other fabrics used for the line, which includes outerwear and Fifties-style sweaters and bodysuits, include Harris tweeds, waxed cottons, corduroys and velvets. The Liberty fabrics Le-Tan uses to line her bags surface as “little embellishments” on collars and trims. “It all has to blend in with the bags, because that’s the main part — so they’re looks for sexy, clever girls,” said the designer, pointing to a sketch of a T-shirt with “Clever Girl” written on it. Le-Tan will also be unveiling her first “posh lady” bag in leather.

NEXT: Maison Rabih Kayrouz >>

MAISON RABIH KAYROUZ

Having for the past five seasons presented a ready-to-wear collection during couture week, Rabih Kayrouz is in reset mode. On March 7, the Lebanese designer will stage his first show on Paris’s ready-to-wear calendar, to be followed by a separate couture capsule in July.

The aim, he said, is to create two distinct universes — exploring something more “sophisticated, spiritual and emotional for couture and keeping the urban attitude for the ready-to-wear.”

In a Parisian mood, Kayrouz described the muse for his fall rtw collection as a “Belle de Jour” type: “this very strict bourgeois lady who wants to be a bit naughty.” The idea is expressed in sculptural black knitted dresses with plunging Vs at the back; textured body-conscious dresses that unzip entirely from behind, and horsey shirtdresses that, despite their simple allure, boast elaborate constructions.

Rabih Kayrouz is distributed in more than 50 stores internationally.

NEXT: Myriam Schaefer >>

MYRIAM SCHAEFER

As a self-confessed bag fetishist and well-respected leather goods consultant to a number of major luxury houses, Myriam Schaefer knows a thing or two about accessories.

For fall, the seasoned designer is striking out with her own luxury bag line, one that pulls out all the stops in terms of design and quality.

“People need quality and they deserve it,” said Schaefer, who set out to create timeless, classic styles reflecting traditional bag-making techniques, such as horsehair hand-stitching details, but with all the functional necessities of modern life.

Yellow leather linings allow for better visibility. The designs are ultralight, and straps on the sides of certain styles can be unbuckled to make room for items like computers. Subtle decorative details include perforated leather handles inspired by driving gloves and metal clasps inspired by the straps on the penny loafers Schaefer used to wear as a girl.

The collection is produced in Italy. Highlights include a soft but structured style reminiscent of a bowling bag and a roomy Horloge tote in canvas, saffiano leather and crocodile that springs wide open like doctor’s bag to facilitate access.

Prices start at about 2,730 euros, or $3,560 at current exchange. Schaefer plans to fold in new models occasionally, rather than deliver seasonal collections.

NEXT: Hexa by Kuho >>

HEXA BY KUHO

“My interest has always been in making clothes that are more experimental and innovative, and I felt that Paris Fashion Week was the place for this.”

So said Korean designer, Kuho Jung, who chose to move from New York Fashion Week to Paris this season to present his Hexa by Kuho line. The designer, who has a successful domestic line, Kuho, in Korea, where he is based, sees his Hexa by Kuho line as more conceptual. Evoking a certain spiritual minimalism while remaining elaborate in design and shape, the fall collection was inspired by old, hand-written love letters.

Jung is also the creative director for local electronics giant Samsung’s fashion division.

 

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