MORE PARIS ACTION
Herve Leger: There was an unmistakable buzz at Herve Leger, whose backing by the Bronfman family has hurtled his runway presentations from a small gallery on the Avenue Montaigne to the largest hall in the Carrousel du Louvre in just a few seasons. Buoyed by powerful sales in the U.S. and his strong Royals connection — Serena Linley wears his clothes incessantly — a slew of suitors are reportedly lining up to produce his debut scent.
At Monday’s show, former Sanofi Beaute president Claude Saujet and Christian Courtin, whose family company Clarins owns Thierry Mugler’s perfume, were both spotted in the audience. “We like to keep our eye open for new talent,” said Courtin, who declined any further comment.
Herve tried a few new ideas like suits with tight-fitting wool boucle jackets and cavalry officers’ jackets worn with ski pants. But the best parts of the collection were his bandage dresses, which this season came with tulle bodices or asymmetric taffeta bustiers .
Bazar: Anyone who ever doubted that Lacroix could produce a commercial collection should go and see Bazar, his sporty young second line. In a lofty sunlit space overlooking the Tuileries, Christian showed curvy PVC jackets, fake-fur bomber jackets and burnished lame jeans for hip young gamines with attitude. Lacroix’s love of color mixes came out in great sweaters, postcard-print dresses and mad patchwork rockabilly shoes — shown to the tune of everything from Italian rap to Provencal tunes.
The collection, which is produced in the high-tech Loire Valley plant used by Lacroix’s LVMH stablemate Kenzo, is well-made and has been benefiting from a snappy ad campaign. It has also racked up impressive retail results, selling currently in 25 Saks Fifth Avenue stores. The show ended with one of the nattiest items of the whole Paris season — a plastic bolero in gold, violet and red that seems likely to be de rigueur for hot young things this fall.
Nina Ricci: Inspired by artists’ muses from the Belle Epoque, Myriam Schaefer’s second collection for Nina Ricci was history without the histrionics. With full floral-print skirts, velvet evening gowns and Empire-waisted mousseline dresses, it was a trip back to the time of Degas, Proust and the Comte de Montesquieu. But because the designer spent years working with Jean Paul Gaultier, her look at the past also had a bit of an edge. A sharp pinstripe jacket was paired with a mohair tulle skirt, for example, while flouncy floral skirts were worn with the most tailored of felt coats. Although the sweetness sometimes became too saccharine — notably with a pair of cumbersome crinoline hoop-skirts — Schaefer’s collection was a breath of fresh air for an established house.
Paco Rabanne: It was hard-rock chic at Paco Rabanne, complete with skinny satin pants, lots of snakeskin-embossed metallic leather and even fake giraffe-skin with sequins. Christophe Decarnin and Aurelien Trembly, who have designed the house’s ready-to-wear under Rabanne’s supervision, saved six of his trademarked chain-mail outfits for the finale. And they’re not just runway pieces: They’re also, believe it or not, sold as weld-it-yourself home fashion kits.