Fashion's Viktor and Rolf send out robot army in Paris

5th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch design duo of Viktor and Rolf lowered a drawbridge on Saturday and sent out a robotic army in sharply-sculpted outfits on day five of Paris fashion week.

With their faces made up to look sun-burned red, the models emerged from a kind of underground inferno to parade down the runway in Les Tuileries to a martial-techno beat.

The tone-setting opening look -- a dark jacket with a big, whimsical collar -- was followed by pleated skirts and dresses in white, black, leather and metallic shades, sometimes with stylised floral details at the shoulders.

Evening wear featured a severe tuxedo suit cinched with a wide belt.

Australian-born, Paris-based designer Martin Grant kept it characteristically sharp and sophisticated at his fall-winter show in the Ecole des Beaux Arts that opened to the beat of Bobby Womack's "Across 110th Street."

Seizing the limelight -- and likely to be a customer favourite -- was a glossy poppy-red trench coat, together with a fur-collared coat that was long enough almost to kiss the floor.

Leather pants with high elastic waists, a brown sleeveless top over a plaid woolen pencil skirt, and draped red-carpet gowns with the deepest of decolletages rounded out the well-received show.

Paris fashion week -- a misnomer for an event that runs nine days -- opened on Tuesday amid scandal when John Galliano, chief designer at Christian Dior for 15 years, was fired after he was charged with making racist insults.

Galliano has public apologised for his drunken conduct in a chic Paris cafe, but denies being anti-Semitic, as he reportedly undergoes rehabilitation for alcoholism in Arizona pending trial in France over his alleged remarks.

Dior went ahead without Galliano on Friday and presented its fall-winter collection, sending out its atelier team in white lab coats for a standing ovation at the end of the show, when the flamboyant British-raised designer would normally have taken a bow.

Galliano's eponymous own label, majority owned by Dior, was scheduled to stage its show for Sunday, but that event has now been downsized to a simpler presentation for buyers and journalists only.

With all eyes on the Dior show, other collections on Friday struggled to compete for attention, including a delightful origami-themed swansong from Dai Fujiwara at Issey Miyake.

With a child playing "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star" on a baby grand piano, the opening models -- in simple black T-shirts and flats -- were dressed in white paper folded right on the runway in front of the audience.

The rest of the collection developed the origami idea with plenty of sharp angles and graphic prints, right up until the final look -- a flowing chiffon-like dress that seemed to float out of the venue.

Fujiwara announced in the show's programme that he would be stepping down as creative director after five years to make way for a new generation.

Another great Japanese name in fashion, Yohji Yamamoto, took over a corner of the under-renovation Palais de Tokyo for a Friday evening show in which immaculately tailored woolen coats were the highlight.

© 2011 AFP

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