PARIS WRAPS IT UP
EMANUEL UNGARO WENT EXOTIC, ECCENTRIC AND A BIT WILD, THIERRY MUGLER LAUNCHED A THIRD LCOLLECTION, CELINE DELIVERED COOL CLASSICS AND ANOTHER FALL SEASON CAME TO A CLOSE. NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON.
EMANUEL UNGARO: Ungaro is the vagabond of fashion. He loves to infuse his collections with rich, exotic references, and for fall, he traveled to the wilder shores of fashion eccentricity. In his program notes, Ungaro called his collection “a reinterpretation of a strong, even provocative style.” Within that framework, he jetted from the conventional to the fantastic, and from the savvy to the surreal. For day, there were long, fluid black skirts and dresses under colorful jackets, as well as a lineup of the shortest looks in Paris. These turned up in racy little dresses with cowled hoods and sleek skirts worn with beautifully cut jackets and turtlenecks.
Ungaro’s color mixes were often inviting, as when he mixed shades of green or put a lavender fake fur coat over a green herringbone coat. But his wanderings got him into trouble. Instead of projecting tough-chic urban attitude, the patent leather skirts and jodhpurs were merely slick to excess, and as for the Oriental homage of all those languid layers and patterns, it lacked the richness one expects from him. Nevertheless, he did manage to recover nicely with lovely evening laces, some in daring colors and others in mysterious black.
CELINE: This quiet powerhouse turned out an interesting fall collection. The house’s typical flash and brashness were set aside in favor of a calmer, more controlled sensibility that suggested a Milanese inspiration. But no matter. Except for some cumbersome pleated dresses and skirts, these clothes looked smart, chic and wearable: Classic pieces in black and vicuna, pastel knitted jackets over black pants or skirts, and timely brown suedes with a Seventies attitude.
JACQUES FATH: In past seasons, designer Tom Van Lingen has relied on Fath’s glory days of the Fifties for inspiration. This time, he came into his own with clean, graphic and colorful looks. There were multistriped satin tunic blouses worn with slightly flared pants, suits in exaggerated herringbone tweed and tight, striped turtleneck sweaters. Toward the end, however, Van Lingen got lost in a sea of satin.
STEVEN SLOWIK: In his second collection, American designer Steven Slowik showed the kind of simple, modern sportswear Paris could use more of. With three-quarter-length jackets, narrow pants and ankle-length skirts, Slowik’s silhouette was long and lean. He also had plenty of experimental fabrics and rich colors other European designers are mad about. Such a solid collection may not make for a fashion coup d’etat, but it sure is a nice way to build a Paris business.
LANVIN: There may not be many people who remember Jeanne Lanvin, but that didn’t stop Ocimar Versolato, in his first collection for the house, from plastering her name on everything — from T-shirts to cashmere jogging suits. Versolato also came up with some other curious innovations, including a series of day ensembles in mauve tweed and Lurex metallic that could have been cut from the banquettes at Regine’s — the Seventies disco whose owner was seated in the front row. There was, however, one screen-siren dress in black lace that harked back to the Art Deco heyday of the house. And that’s the lesson: Lanvin’s history is built on simple, luxurious classics.