SAILING LESSONS, SULTRY NIGHTS AND COOL CORSETS
ONE ELEMENT IN MICHAEL KORS’S STYLISH COLLECTION FOR CELINE WAS A SEAFARING SPIRIT, WHILE EMANUEL UNGARO CELEBRATED SERGE GAINSBOURG WITH A SEXY COLLECTION AND STELLA MCCARTNEY DID HER MOST SERIOUS COLLECTION TO DATE FOR CHLOE, SPIKED WITH CORSETS.

Celine: Come ye reality seekers, all who desire normalcy with your fashion. Michael Kors is on your page. In New York, Kors has become something of a guru to young socials who take their hip with a dose of discretion; lately, both his signature and Celine collections have been blowing out of stores. The Celine collection he showed on Tuesday night should follow suit, filled with good-looking, approachable clothes, with a decidedly American sportswear attitude.
Kors said this collection was his most eclectic ever, and ran off a list of extreme influences, citing, among others, Courtney, Chloe, Charlotte (Rampling) and even Clooney, as in George, from “The Perfect Storm.” Actually, the dominant mood was of a seafaring persuasion, but then, one girl’s captain’s hat is another’s Rampling fantasy. Either way, who can argue with a melton admiral’s coat, or sturdy-chic peajackets? Of course, Kors likes to upend and sometimes combine his classics, hence the printed, outdoorsy blue plaid for flimsy dresses, as well as not-quite-rugged, gotta-have-it shearling. And if the plaid cashmere pajama pants under a navy officer’s coat looked like a stab at grunge for the social set, it was, along with too many of those hats, a rare styling indulgence.
While Kors’ cropped sailor jeans were snappy, most women will opt for the long version, especially with a racy little camisole under the cozy cover of a distressed coyote jacket. On the other hand, that lingerie-fur combo turned a tad 1(900) IM-YOURS in a nude charmeuse gown and voluptuous long coat.
Except for that lapse, Kors kept the collection calm and tasteful, so much so that some in the audience found it on the dull side of quiet. But then, just imagine women lining up for a perfect melton jacket — ca-ching! the cash register goes. And for the distressed shearling, lace-front cashmere sweater and sleek felted pants — ca-ching! Ca-ching! Ca-ching! There’s nothing quiet about that.

Emanuel Ungaro: Serge Gainsbourg adored Parisian women, and so does Emanuel Ungaro, who celebrated the 10th anniversary of the sexy music man’s death with a Gainsbourg soundtrack and an ode to those chic chicks. After all, they’re fun-loving, sexy and just a wee bit flamboyant — what’s not to love? In their honor, Ungaro packed his fall collection with dandyish suits, ruffled entrance-makers and feminine frills they’ll soon swoon over. His offhandedly quirky touches, on the other hand, will please women worldwide.
On the light side, Ungaro whipped up filmy party skirts, floaty chiffon tops — some falling delicately off the shoulder — and asymmetric dresses that were appliqued with fluttering butterflies and quivering blossoms. In the name of Parisian discretion, there were curvy suits and wide-legged pants, cut in tweeds and simple plaids, and a fantastic cream coat held by a single big black button. For evening, Ungaro was at his best, playing to both extremes — with a slick little double-breasted tuxedo and a parade of gowns oozing the stuff of Indochine romance. Column gowns fell to dangerous lows across the back and were graced with wandering vines, lotus blossoms and bright florals that went pop. What a rush.
“C’est trop!” may be a choice compliment in the City of Light, but here, at times, it was just that — too much. Then again, isn’t going over the top every now and again a Parisienne’s prerogative? We know for certain that one of those Ladies — or a little girl who is soon to be one — was pleased. The tot bounded out of her seat during the show’s finale and took a spin around the runway popping bubbles as they fell from the ceiling. Ah, Paree.

Chloe: Maybe the swirl of gossip is good for Stella McCartney, or maybe she’s just more confident as a designer these days. She was, after all, forced into a public maturation process after signing with Chloe. On Wednesday, with everyone playing the will she-won’t she game regarding her rumored jump to Gucci Group, McCartney showed a terrific fall collection that should only strengthen the resolve of any suitor. It was not only her best collection yet, but her most serious and least dependent on the cute, but limited, London rock-chic attitude that has made her prior collections feisty, but oddly quaint.
Not to be misunderstood, these are cool-girl clothes. McCartney knows her niche, and she’s not about to abandon it. So, of course, she paired more of her great, tight jeans, now with shiny zippers on the back pockets, with lovely renditions of her other signature, floaty silk tops, here done up with festoons of pearls. McCartney also went the constructed route with corsets, but if you’re thinking bondage babes, forget it. In the spirit of Paris’ nouveau Belle Epoque current, she opted for romance, instead. Often embellished with gentle frills and ribbons, the corsets went with skinny pants or velvet skirts, and sometimes, little jackets, cutaway in back to reveal the lacings. And can a girl ever have too much romance in her life? Stella doesn’t think so, so she came up with a pair of long, bustled skirts that actually worked — no easy feat.
Throughout, McCartney tempered her softer instincts with bold sea-grass embroideries and peculiar metallic figures on dresses and jackets, inspired, she said, by grotesque figures from Victorian fairy tales. But perhaps Stella’s biggest surprise came right at the start. The adamant anti-fur activist opened with a group of fake-fur coats, jackets and trimmings that looked real, and really good. A singular message that there are alternatives to real fur, or a secret code to Tom Ford — I don’t do things your way exactly, but I’m flexible? Only McCartney knows for sure.