THEMES AND VARIATIONS

PARIS — Sometimes a designer doesn’t need to bother with a formal show. Just ask Lucien Pellat-Finet, who has built a thriving business based on his bold cashmere knits, or Gilles Dufour, who is creating a strong image from his showroom. For fall, Dufour offered cute majorette coats, multicolored striped knits, cool chiffon skirts and sexy lace cocktail dresses. With his vibrant assistant, Olympia Le-Tan, Dufour espouses an irreverent take on Paris chic. He sticks to the classics, but gives them a fresh twist.
In a similar vein, Pellat-Finet offered a strong signature collection. For fall, his classic items were there — cashmere knits with such motifs as camouflage or cannabis leaves — but he also expanded his repertoire with a beautiful cashmere-lined leather Mackintosh coat and silk jersey dresses. One of his most distinctive prints this season was inspired by Aboriginal art.
Dutch designer Tom Van Lingen, who works in Sonia Rykiel’s studio, is also a knitwear specialist. For fall, he stuck almost exclusively to dramatic polkadot patterns, shown in everything from sweaters with oversized collars to wrap-around dresses. It was a fine collection with just the right amount of artsy flair.
Andrew Gn has a different forte: embroidery. Inspired by William Morris and the Ottoman Empire, his richly detailed coats and skirts, some trimmed with fur, oozed opulence and luxury. Gn is an accomplished colorist, and he offered one of the week’s most beautiful palettes, mixing amethyst and sapphire, or chocolate and pink to wonderful effect. Gaspard Yurkievich also turned in a strong collection for fall. Inspired by cabaret dancers, he played with volume in such pieces as oversized bloomers or cargo pants. As in recent seasons, he stuck to an Eighties-inspired aesthetic, offering sexy items like a chiffon scarf dress and strappy lame overalls.
Issey Miyake design director Naoki Takizawa started with pieces in materials that were black or stone colored, then moved on to items in crinkled patchwork. Using these futuristic fabrics, he showed a variety of silhouettes from fitted jackets to baggy trousers. The result was a creative collection from a prolific mind.
Eric Bergere touched on a number of the season’s trends with crushed velvet, oversized blousons and touches of Goth. His colors ranging from plum to red and purple and black, and he also did djellaba coats, fringed capes and lacy shirts.
Paco Rabanne, along with his artistic director Rosemary Rodriquez, was inspired by Nordic climes. Sticking largely to off-white and beige, the collection began with easy sportswear with a romantic touch: chunky sweaters, tracksuit trousers, capes, redingotes and velvet skirts. Naturally, however, Rabanne also did his trademark chain-link dresses.
Romeo Gigli, however, favored a romantic silhouette. There were fluid jersey pants, velvet tunics and redingotes. For evening, he did sequined chiffon dresses with asymmetrical hems.
Designer Atsuro Tayama offered an artsy but practical collection. Coats came with frayed edges and exposed seams, while he also featured pieces in crushed velvet, peasant blouses and chunky sweaters with a bohemian flavor.
The house of Claude Montana is moving to revamp its image. Claude himself is still around but he is now working as an external consultant. The studio, under the direction of Laurent Layani, whose father, Jean Jacques Layani, purchased the house a year ago, delivered an all-black presentation that gave a nod to the Montana heritage of angular, aggressive silhouettes. But they still have work to do.
And finally, Serbian designer Istvan Francer was inspired for fall by a combination of Boldini portraits and Hungarian folkloric touches. His slim silhouettes featured long, low-waisted skirts and embroidered shawls, and were noteworthy for couture-like details.

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