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Our fabulous Fashion Editor Avril, hot foots it from show to show and in between squeezes in the odd call back to update those of us not lucky enough to be there, on all the latest,…

The shows all ran very late, so Paris made Milan look like a well oiled engine in comparison – there’s a surprise! The overall feeling was back to what they do well for most of the designers probably because of the current economic climate – the majority of the designers focused on what will sell rather than the revolutionary.

One theme seemed to be the underlying African, tribal vibe, with prints on effortlessly light fabrics, lovely soft spring colours with more wearable shoes than in Milan, though not so sure about the pregnant lady heels (fertility symbol!) by John Galliano for Dior.

Issey Miyake Paris S/S 09

Issey Miyake Paris S/S 09

Very strong collections from Yohji Yamamoto, Dries van Noten and Issey Miyake show a design spirit typical of those designers but not specifically trend identifiable – these are collections that could have come from any time and don’t appear to be seasonal specific. Very useful when clothes may have to last longer than we are used to. Ann Demeulemeester is another who sticks to her guns, adding more colour – flame and saffron – and lighter fabrics but her asymmetric, occasionally androgynous, style seems more feminine and wearable this season.

Many designers are celebrating anniversaries – Margiela twenty years in the business, amongst rumours that this most reclusive of designers is, or already has, taken a back seat in his company, though as usual with him this is shrouded in mystery and there are denials. Sonia Rykiel celebrated forty years and going strong, though mostly her daughter Nathalie designs now. The Paris icon’s show and party was the bash of the week, especially the 30-odd outfits designed by other top names in Rykiel style, with most applause going to the “wig” jacket by Margiela which looked like her bushy red hair, and Gaultier’s long, loosely knitted mohair dress which looked like a work in progress – its strapless neckline was formed by a pair of giant knitting needles with the stitches still cast on.

Spotted: One super cool fashionista seen struggling to walk in the über-high Stella McCartney heelless clogs – these seem best left for the mantlepiece as a piece of art, rather than running around the shows. Ironically the very strange Marc Jacobs – ‘backwards’ heel which shows off the sole, should one want to see it, seems a far easier ‘walk’.

Friday, 3rd

All week the press have been seen stomping around in black strappy cage shoes on huge platforms but their days are numbered now that style leader Carine Roitfeld, the Editor of French vogue (who virtually started the bondage shoe trend) has opted for plain black patent, high heeled classic courts with no platform.

By Friday, the shows had started to heat up and the fabulous Yves St Laurent Show had THE accessory of the season, a mesh boot with Eiffel Tower- girder heel – a must have on every fashionista’s list – wow, we want those NOW! Stephano Pilati is very clear as to where he’s taking things – strong, modern, no wishy-washy lack of direction and even a shoe you can walk in!

Talk about folie des grandeurs for Chanel – Karl Lagerfield took over the huge Grand Palais and built a set from the façade of the Rue de Cambon store with the roadway in front of if as the catwalk – mixed chic suits with Victoriana, and Wallis Simpson-style hair with narrow Alice bands for the models – hmm… make of it what you will.

Hermes, Paris S/S 09

Hermes, Paris S/S 09

The last two days produced a welcome relief in the form of colour, which had been somewhat lacking earlier in the week. We loved Jean Paul Gaultier for Hermès’ Western heroines, who made blonde fringed suede look chic and silk versions of Clint Eastwood’s striped poncho (complete with cigar) the last word in desirability.

Check out the strappy sandals with abstract versions of house symbols, and the python clutches with “dog collar” studs. Best of all were Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour as two very sophisticated saloon bar girls – really separating the women from the waifs.



John Galliano, Paris S/S 09

John Galliano, Paris S/S 09

Galliano is the only place to go for a great frock – he might have shown in a tram shed beyond the Péripherique but this was so not industrial, just fabulous dresses in all colours from hot red and pink to soft pastel prints, many shown under variants of his favourite jacket shapes, from Poiret-style opera coats to eighteenth century frock coats but all given a slouchy parka look. Forget the mad hats, and the extraordinary shoes with what looked like two curlicued heels at right angles – this was his most wearable collection for years and the buyers were in heaven.

Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton reckoned more was more – great little separates, mainly a fitted, sharp-shouldered jacket with a pair of wide, soft trousers or a flirty, duck-tail skirt – but then he added wrapped belts, bags, sandals and huge jewels, mostly metallic and sporting beads and feathers – slightly tribal, slightly Parisienne but wow, one at a time please! Even Alber Elbaz at Lanvin, having done beautifully couture-cut, calm, colour blocked clothes with easy volume, suddenly broke out into bright leopard print, metallics and crazy sunglasses. Never mind, it all gave a great lift to a slightly sombre week and something to look forward to if the winter of the credit crunch ever ends.

June 2019
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