China takes the catwalk at Paris fashion week

29th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 29, 2006 (AFP) - China, the world's textile tiger, notches up an historic fashion first here on Sunday when, for the first time, one of the country's designers takes part in Paris fashion week.

PARIS, Sept 29, 2006 (AFP) - China, the world's textile tiger, notches up an historic fashion first here on Sunday when, for the first time, one of the country's designers takes part in Paris fashion week.

Not only that but Frankie Xie's label, Jefen, will be the opening collection on the official eight-day calendar of catwalk shows, the last leg of an international style tour.

Although the 46-year-old designer may be unknown in France, he is famous in China where he owns about 20 shops, but he plans a version of his creations adapted to Western tastes for his Paris presentation.

"Before, China only manufactured for fashion, now it creates fashion," the designer told AFP, speaking through an interpreter.

Why Paris? The French capital is the final port of call for editors and buyers viewing women's ready-to-wear collections for spring-summer 2007 after Milan, and before that, New York and London.

"It's the capital of fashion," Xie said, adding that Paris was "a very important point for trade" in order to make the most of the international market beyond Asia.

The designer, who trained in fashion and textiles in Beijing and Tokyo, has adopted the sign of "The Chinese Door" for his collection, to symbolize the opening up of his country to fashion and the world.

Didier Grumbach, the president of the French Couture Federation, said he believed Xie's appearance on the official calendar had a symbolic value and would have "an enormous impact in China".

The Paris debut puts Xie among such top-flight fashion houses as Chanel, Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Valentino, Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent.

The French capital this season sees the return of several old faces.

They include American designer Stephen Burrows, who has not presented a catwalk show here for more than 30 years. In 1973, he was one of five US couturiers who presented their work at the Chateau of Versailles in aid of raising restoration funds for the historic landmark.

After turning the way clothes are assembled on its head in the 1970s by highlighting the seams through contrasting coloured thread, Burrows more recently turned his eye to colourful fluid lines.

Karl Lagerfeld also brings his eponymous line back to Paris after one season in New York. The German designer is also the creative talent at Chanel, and showed his collection for Fendi in Milan on Thursday.

Not a total newcomer but fresh to the official calendar is Sophia Kokosalaki, the Greek designer who previously presented three collections on the sidelines. While she has just been appointed creative director at Vionnet, it is Kokosalaki's own label showing here.

And missing from the line-up will be French fashion house Rochas, after US consumer goods giant Procter and Gamble announced in July that Rochas' ready-to-wear and accessories lines would cease from the end of October.

Its young but acclaimed designer, Olivier Theyskens of Belgium, has been recruited by Nina Ricci and will unveil his first collection for that house next March.

Meanwhile, the house of Guy Laroche has also seen a parting of ways from its artistic director Herve Leroux but will nevertheless unveil its latest collection, created by a style team.

"The calendar has become more dense," Grumbach commented.

"For a long time, we had unknown labels on the first Sunday, young labels on the first Monday. Today it's no longer the case, there are very strong labels from the start."

After several people were attacked coming out of a show held in the suburbs last season, show organisers have now decided to concentrate the upcoming events in Paris.

The fashion extravaganza wraps up on October 8 with Miu Miu, the second line of Italy's Prada, which for a second consecutive season is snubbing Milan to present in Paris instead.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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