Dramatic Lanvin, demure YSL strut Paris catwalks

7th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 6 (AFP) - Alber Elbaz on Sunday unveiled an airy, dramatic ready-to-wear collection for next winter at Lanvin, while Stefano Pilati offered a line fit for the petite bourgeoise at Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.

PARIS, March 6 (AFP) - Alber Elbaz on Sunday unveiled an airy, dramatic ready-to-wear collection for next winter at Lanvin, while Stefano Pilati offered a line fit for the petite bourgeoise at Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.

Elbaz is happy at Lanvin and it shows. The Israeli-American designer does not use extravagant props on the runway. In-your-face fashion is forbidden.

Only lightness and emotion count for Elbaz, along with a dash of good humour.

For daytime, he offered impeccably cut suits. An ultra-soft trench oozed elegance. A full overcoat worn with flats or ballerina shoes sent the Lanvin women back to grade school. In a leather suit, she quickly grew up again.

A vest in light cotton netting masked a powder pink camisole and a necklace that looked very Jackie Kennedy. A ruffle at the shoulders gave an ethereal quality to a lilac lurex dress with silver embroidery across the bustline.

Elbaz obviously had fun designing a series of little black dresses brightened with tiny jewels. He played with grey cotton jersey, normally used for jogging suits, to whip up a classy evening gown.

At Yves Saint Laurent, the worlds of politics and art collided with France's first lady Bernadette Chirac, two former culture ministers, and actresses Kristin Scott-Thomas and Virginie Ledoyen vying for attention in the front row.

Even Pierre Berge, former chairman of the YSL couture house, and the legendary French couturier's onetime muse Betty Catroux turned up to see Pilati's autumn-winter 2005-06 collection, his second for the label.

The Italian designer, who worked for four years as right-hand man to his predecessor Tom Ford, is still trying to erase the memory of the charismatic US style guru's work from the minds of editors and buyers.

Pilati has swept away Ford's brand of porno chic with near-religious fervour, replacing it with upstanding bourgeois morals - at a house whose founder embodied total freedom!

The Milan native offered black suits knotted demurely at the waist, along with mohair dresses. Bubble skirts adorned with lots of buttons and beads didn't fit the mould.

Black aprons covered the front and back of white dresses. Pilati upped the ante in his black and white game with bustier or high-collared dresses.

A two-tone fur made audience members want to snuggle up and escape the cold.

For evening, he presented dresses fit for vestal virgins in pure white, straw yellow or ocean blue. A black feminine tuxedo recalled one of the classic YSL looks.

Francois-Henri Pinault, who will soon take over as chairman of French retailer Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR), which controls Gucci Group - which owns YSL - said he was "very confident for the future of the house".

For Serge Weinberg, Sunday's show was his last as PPR chairman, as he will hand over the reins to Pinault on March 21. He described the group's catwalk shows as "intense moments" in his life.

Paris ready-to-wear week ends on Monday with shows from some of the industry's young talents.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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