PARIS — It’s refreshing when young, promising talents land on the scene, and this season’s new stars were Alexandre Morgando and Matthieu Bureau, the French design duo behind Alexandre Matthieu.
They became the darlings of the press after Bjork wore one of their dresses to the Cannes film festival in May. Winners of the Hyeres fashion festival prize two years ago, they finally did their first Paris runway presentation this season, and it was a charmer. Disco star prints and exuberant embroidered motifs often came close to edging over the top, but were wearable when they took the form of the duo’s classic silhouettes, such as knee-length skirts, dresses and flowing, transparent manteaux. There was a lights-of-Las-Vegas feeling to this collection. They punched patterns into leather skirts and tops, or paired a graphic-print skirt with a neatly-cut jacket. Ornamented with a legs motif, a pink trenchcoat was vivacious and fun. If these two play their cards right, they are sure to have a bright future in front of them.
Another collection to keep an eye on is Oscar Suleyman. Last season, the Dutch duo of Oscar Reijmaakers and Suleyman Demir caught the right vibe by putting their own spin on the bourgeois lady look. They were on the money again this time, opening with Kirsten Owen in a strict gray suit. Sticking to a palette of gray and black, the designers featured tracksuits and shirtdresses with a rigorous, Eighties Kraftwerk feel. Otherwise simple silhouettes were spruced up with stand-up collars, constructed shoulders with piping down the sleeve, while cotton suits had black leather elastic cuffs.
Kostas Murkudis also referenced the Eighties by taking a detour via Fifties pinup girls a la Betty Page. There were Elvis and Marilyn Monroe prints on mini scarf dresses, as well as prom-style transparent skirts worn with slinky lingerie. The tight-fitting, denim jumpsuit with zippers had a rocker attitude, but many of the clothes just didn’t look flattering.
Atsuro Tayama didn’t mine the Eighties for inspiration. Instead he stuck to his Japanese roots in a collection playing on construction and deconstruction of origami themes. Employing fluid satin and crisp cotton, he showed voluminous ruffled or pleated dresses, some in striped cotton. Overall, the collection lacked originality, except for a couple of Forties-inspired dresses with multiple folds.
By coming to Paris for her first runway show, designer Ritu Beri wanted to introduce her intricate, ethnic fashions to an audience outside of her native India, where she has a thriving business. Her ornate designs, many hand-painted or embroidered, were exotic visions of the sun and sea, and came in a variety of shapes. Beri, backed by former Chloe president Mounir Moufarrige, likes her girls sexy, and featured minidresses and microshorts in chiffon, or dresses with hip-high slits.
Rochas designer Peter O’Brien doesn’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. He would rather just create real clothes for traditional women than cause a stir. And that’s what he did in his simple, quietly sophisticated, way. He featured a battalion of wide-legged pants suits, knee-length skirts with tiered ruffles and sequined cocktail dresses that had a Forties country-club feel.
Famous for its bold prints, Leonard wasn’t looking to revolutionize fashion. Instead, the house stuck to its trademark and sent out a slew of vibrant new prints, worked into kimono tops with flowing sleeves or jersey pants and tops in geometric patterns. The house tried to sex things up a bit with microbikinis and HotPants, but overall there were too many design tricks. It’s a pity, because the prints would look fine if only they were put on simpler clothes.