Haute couture: Exuberant tour de force from Lacroix

23rd January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Continuing our news from the catwalks, as Sarah Shard witnesses Christian Lacroix pull off an exuberant tour de force with his summer haute couture collection

   PARIS, January 23, 2008 (AFP) - Christian Lacroix pulled off an exuberant tour
de force with his summer haute couture collection on Tuesday, which was a riot
of colour and brimming with gowns in which to get noticed.
   Lacroix does not dress shrinking violets and some chutzpah would be needed
to carry off many of his creations. But every single number was a testament to
the level of workmanship and perfection that is the hallmark of couture - from
the precious fabrics used wantonly to the lavish detail.
   With the speed of a catwalk presentation, there was no time to take it all
in ... antique gold embroidered lace frothing out over a skirt, encrustations
of beading and passementerie on shiny satin, geometric motifs and appliqued
flowers down the front of a cropped jacket, a delicate silver frieze on navy
blue crepe ... all flashed past in a whirl.
   For his ballgowns he went for drama, long-line bodices cut close to the
body billowing out into voluminous skirts in stiff faille or long flounced
trains in silk chiffon. Sleeves, too, came big, leg-of-mutton or ballooned
like overblown roses.
   A hand-woven saffron wool coat dangled with giant pompoms in bubblegum
pink, day-glo lime and orange, while one in fake leopardskin had fluttery
feather sleeves over an organza dress with coppery lace flounces.
   Outsized black and white polka dots, gingham checks and silk chiffon
handpainted with broad-brush strokes in magenta and inky blue competed for
   Models had their hair pulled back into a long single plait entwined with
artificial flowers and wore black and white striped shoes with ribbon ankle
   As well as the invited guests, hordes of mesmerised tourists were glued to
the windows of the Pompidou arts centre in downtown Paris watching the show.
   Riccardo Tisci's collection for Givenchy presented on Tuesday evening
showcased narrow pants in second-skin stretch white or black leather or
embroidered with metal triangles and crystals, worn with big white blouses or
tops with jet-embroidered cuffs and black jackets brightened up with gold.
   Other strong items were highly structured 16th-century inspired jackets and
corsets constructed from layers of organza in gradations of white and poppy
   His trapeze-line little black dresses had pleats reinforced by white silk
organza foliage or hems weighed down by smocking in pale yellow tulle.
   French actress Beatrice Dalle and fellow couturier Yohji Yamamoto were in
the audience.
   Also showing on Tuesday was Italian Maurizio Galante, one of just two
designers to recently gain official designation for his work in haute couture
from the Chambre Syndicale, the French fashion body which lays down the rules.
   He sent out a modest collection featuring skimpy asymmetric dresses in
devore printed chiffon, dramatic opera capes in pleated silk organza and
ultra-lightweight boleros in bands of tulle.
   For a finale, his models twirled around to show off the shape of frocks
cleverly constructed from layer upon layer of superimposed silk organza, cut
in triangles or half moons.


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