PARIS: A MOVEABLE FEAST
FROM LANG TO LACROIX, THE PARIS COLLECTIONS OFFERED A TEMPTING BANQUET OF FASHION. IF YOU CAN MAKE IT THERE, YOU CAN MAKE IT ANYWHERE. SO IT ISN’T SURPRISING THAT THE SHOWS HAD IT ALL: CLOTHES THAT WERE EDGY, EXCESSIVE, LUXURIOUSLY CLASSIC, OVER-THE-TOP, LAS VEGAS GLITZY AND JUST PLAIN BEAUTIFUL.

HERMES: For spring, Hermes did what it always does best: beautiful, luxurious classics. Fine cashmere knits, butter-soft leathers and suedes and classic cotton suits looked great, often paired with the new ultimate casual shoe — “H” leather sneakers. But when the house strayed away from these quiet, quality looks, it got into trouble. An attempt to be hip just didn’t work: Who needs metallic leather dresses with covered buckles, big grommets on leather, leisure jumpsuits or leather bibs from Hermes? But no matter — ready-to-wear sales have been climbing, and come next season, Hermes will have a reason to be hip — and Martin Margiela will supply it.
HERVE LEGER: There was a lot going on in Herve Leger’s spring collection — a Las Vegas glitz blitz, some floaty Greek togas and even a handful of vinyl go-go numbers. But retailers seemed perfectly happy to sit through all that, knowing that Leger’s specialties — the sexy, bandage dresses — would eventually hit the runway. And when they did, the buyers’ pencils went into action. Stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue have built a substantial business with those evening dresses that they say they can sell till the cows come home. Leger really knows how to glorify the female form, and he’s also scored a hit with his swimwear. This season he carves them up with lots of cutouts and does them up with enough rhinestones to outshine the sun. And the bandage man is poised to break new ground when he launches his fragrance — Herve Leger — next year.
JEREMY SCOTT: This American in Paris is one of the most talked-about designers in town this season, partly because rumor has it that Scott is meeting with Donatella Versace about a top post at the Milan house. Scott’s specialty is intricately cut leathers, and for spring, the Kansas City native showed an all-white collection based on leather with touches of organza and cotton. His best pieces were in his version of Fortuny pleating — from cropped halter tops to pants with pleated insets. There was a hint of Martin Margiela in Scott’s cotton T-shirts and dresses, as in his split-toe pumps, though they still looked good. While there were some almost ridiculous elements in the collection, overall it conveyed a new level of energy and creativity.

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