POETIC LICENSE

PARIS — Sweet romance wafted through the collections here, from Collette Dinnigan’s frilly cocktail dresses to ethereal graphics at Alexandre Matthieu and nostalgia at Veronique Leroy. Meanwhile, the feminine trend even emerged in Jean Colonna’s rock-‘n’-roll attitude and Atsuro Tayama’s deconstructed corsets.
For her part, Veronique Leroy’s aesthetic revolves around taking style elements from the early Eighties and making them her own. In recent seasons, these hard and aggressive looks have been delivered with verve, especially as the trend pendulum swung in her direction. For spring, though, the clothes were relaxed and softer, capturing the right mood. Leroy played with volume in oversize pants with zippers up the side, featured fresh cotton eyelet outfits and used pastel patchwork for suits.
Collette Dinningan said at an informal presentation of her pretty spring cocktail dresses that her clothes were “more girly than sexy this season.” Then she added: “But when a girl puts them on, she still feels desirable. I wanted things to be very airy.” And her slinky chiffon dresses, richly embroidered with sequins, including a butterfly motif, were in tune with this season’s trend for innocent beauty. Dinnigan may not be reinventing the wheel, but her hyper-feminine sensibility is bound to appeal to a lot of girls.
Since they made their runway debut here three seasons ago, it has become clear that Alexandre Morgado and Matthieu Bureau of Alexandre Matthieu have a real talent for decorative flourishes. For spring, they featured simple Thirties-inspired silhouettes — floaty chiffon dresses, slender trousers and clean jackets — adorned with graphic prints and intricate sequined patterns. With their lighthearted clothes that are sophisticated in a cool way, the young designers are clearly up-and-coming talents. But if they want to graduate to the next level, they need to add a little gravitas to their fanciful designs. Pascal Humbert, best known for his couture, has a knack for poetic clothes with a dose of Parisian chic. He’s bringing this sensibility to his growing ready-to-wear business, which he took back to the runway this season. Many of the dresses and skirts were wrapped around the body and fastened with oversize buttons. There were also leather and taffeta, skirts and dresses with jigsaw- puzzle cutouts. But for all of the original clothes here, the presentation lacked grace.
Atsuro Tayama, however, tempered his penchant for deconstructing clothes with more romance this season. Corsets with unfinished details were paired with peasant blouses, while skirts and tops were adorned with ruffles. There were dresses with soft twisting silhouettes and pants or skirts featuring lace-up closures. In short, Tayama registered the trends in his own fashion.
When a girl wants to feel tough, she slips on one of Jean Colonna’s customized T-shirts, which combine hard-edged elements, such as unfinished stitching and ripped seams, with girly lace. Those T-shirts — scrawled with the word “Bad” — were shown in abundance for spring, and so was a healthy dose of the designer’s trademark rock-‘n’-roll attitude in the form of slouchy trousers, distressed dresses and gauzy tops. But even Colonna, whose clothes usually communicate angst, added more romance to his look than in the past.
Mei Xiao Zhou delivered his second collection for Guy Laroche this season. Zhou, a former designer at Thierry Mugler, focused on pleated silk georgette skirts and dresses with asymmetric hems and added honeycomb-like details to skirts and tops. Much of the collection, however, hashed over past trends and seemed to lack the verve the house requires to get back on track.

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