Valentino's Hollywood glamour; Lacroix backs black

1st March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 1, 2007 (AFP) - Valentino turned out sophisticated 1940s movie star glamour that demonstrated why his ultra-feminine designs have kept him top of the fashion field for 45 years.

PARIS, March 1, 2007 (AFP) - Valentino turned out sophisticated 1940s movie star glamour that demonstrated why his ultra-feminine designs have kept him top of the fashion field for 45 years.

 Known simply by his first name, the smartly-suited veteran Italian designer who unveiled his ready-to-wear collection for next winter here Wednesday said his mantra was simply for "a woman to look beautiful."

Inspired in part by sultry US actress Lauren Bacall, he described his sassy suits, egg-shaped coats, pencil skirts and sophisticated gowns as "more Hollywood, more sophisticated, more glamorous."

To celebrate his 45th anniversary, the designer, 74, will present his July haute couture collection in Rome where he opened his couture house in 1959, rather than in Paris. He went on to make his name with his 1962 collection.

In January, Valentino snubbed his signature red for his couture line, opting instead for all-white. But red retook its place in the ready-to-wear, which also featured black and brown.Of the changes he has seen through his long career, Valentino said "some I followed, some I didn't follow. I am very stubborn, I am a Taurus, so I do exactly what I feel like doing," he added.

One trend he is bucking for next winter is the catwalk craze for platform soles and wedged heels -- the Valentino woman sticks to sleek stilettos, or perhaps silver ballroom sandals.

In comparison, France's Christian Lacroix seems almost a relative new kid on the block, despite this year marking 20 years since presenting his first collection under his own name.

"It's amazing because it seems like being yesterday, and when I really look at the work and the time, everything changed," he said after the show. Luxury goods group LVMH sold Lacroix's label -- which it launched in 1987 -- to the Falic Group, the second-largest US duty-free retailer, in 2005.

"Really, I love this job, it's such a challenge... because it's so being in the same rhythm as the world, the time, the period, politics, economics, everything happening. It's not an ivory tower," he said.

The designer stepped away from his trademark colours and prints, -- he often uses a patchwork technique of mixing fabrics and cultural and historical references -- to make black the focus, setting the tone with an opening black wool faille coat.

And asked about black's dominance, Lacroix described it as a "marvellous" colour, adding: "It's on my favourite paintings from Dutch or Spanish old masters."

However, white, soft grey, stone, sherbet pink, bottle green and prints in purple and poppy red did get a look-in for the collection of micro-mini rolled-hem skirts, embellished dressy wear and casual knits.

At one point, a naked anti-fur protestor stormed on to the end of the catwalk, after an earlier protest at Valentino was prevented by security from reaching the runway.

At Dries van Noten, the mystery of the backstage was lifted -- guests were seated opposite the models as they got ready, uncurtained, for the show, set to the mystical sitar sounds of George Harrison's Beatles classics.

Smock coats and light silky dresses were included in the wardrobe that added up to lots of wearable, casual chic clothes, with simple prints and interesting textures and colours, such as brass, mustard and claret.

Karl Lagerfeld is a busy man. After his collection for Fendi in Milan last week, he showed his eponymous line here, of flat pointy ankle boots with slender trousers or skirt, and all the volume up top.

And on Friday the German designer will show his latest collection for Chanel.

Copyright AFP

Subject French news

0 Comments To This Article