Fashion: New faces lap up Paris couture spotlight

26th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 26, 2007 (AFP) - After three whirlwind and star-studded days of catwalk shows by some of the biggest design names in fashion, Paris haute couture changed gear on Thursday.

PARIS, Jan 26, 2007 (AFP) - After three whirlwind and star-studded days of catwalk shows by some of the biggest design names in fashion, Paris haute couture changed gear on Thursday.

It was the turn of lesser-known labels to step into the spotlight for the fourth and final day of the twice-yearly showcase of luxury and craftsmanship in the French capital.

Two labels unveiling collections for the first time as part of the Paris haute couture line-up were the nine-year-old British brand Boudicca and Lefranc-Ferrant of France.

Designer Beatrice Ferrant, one half of the duo behind the label set up in 2003 with Mario Lefranc, said that showing their collection in the haute couture programme gave them high visibility since there are fewer designers on show.

"If we show in March we will be around a lot of people," she said after the show, referring to the ready-to-wear week whose programme tends to be longer and denser. "As a matter of fact, in our minds we are very couture... It's the roots (of our work)."

Towering patent wedgies complemented the contemporary elegance of the duo's practical collection which included roomy linen pants or a silk smock dress in an overall soft palette.

But the impact of a pure bold cut-out at the bust or the peek of a bare back behind a dress, which if viewed from behind looked like trousers, was dramatic.

In fact, just 10 French labels meet the rigorous technical requirements of the haute couture label, including Chanel, Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix, who all showed in the first three days.

However, other fashion houses take part as "correspondent" members or are invited to show their collections as guests, such as Boudicca and Lefranc-Ferrant.

"I think that the last day being reserved to young design is something which is essential for the future," said Didier Grumbach, president of the chamber of haute couture. Six fashion houses presented shows Thursday.

Sleek cigarette pants paired with a short jacket in glossy black was one of the pristinely-cut outfits offered at Boudicca by British designers Zowie Broach and Brian Kirby.

So strong was the cut of the shoulders of a coat that they slightly turned upwards in pert precision. Models walked as if in a dream in see-thru plastic caps with a central quiff of soft curls.

The label has shown during ready-to-wear weeks in London and New York in the past, but Kirby said after Thursday's show that they felt more confident in couture than ready-to-wear.

"In all our work in the past, I think, people have said about our clothes that it's beyond ready-to-wear.

"People have always said 'pret-a-porter deluxe' because there's so much work goes into everything we do, and it just seemed like the logical step to, kind of, really indulge ourselves," he said.

The quest for beauty had been one of the ideas behind the look, the designers said.

Silver discs punctuating the clothes had been engraved with the longitude and latitude coordinates of "places of beautiful experience", such as standing by Jackson Pollock's She-Wolf painting in New York, Broach said.

Hilary Alexander, fashion writer of The Daily Telegraph newspaper, said it was refreshing to see new faces. "I do like to see the smaller almost cottage couture industry flourish," she said.

Copyright AFP

Subject french news

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