Dior's tropical mists meet spirits past at Miyake, Westwood

2nd October 2010, Comments 0 comments

A misty sensuality wafted through Paris Friday, as captain John Galliano steered Christian Dior's summer collection to a lost Pacific island, and Issey Mikaye drew its new look from a haunted house.

Vivienne Westwood also looked to lost civilisations -- from Egypt to Peru -- for inspiration, while Japan's Yohyi Yamamoto channelled the spirit of a modern-day icon, Jimi Hendrix, with a tribute 40 years after his death.

At Dior, designer Galliano chose a deserted South Pacific naval base for his setting and pumping 80s pop for his soundtrack.

But the look was 1950s to the fingertips, with shoulder-length iron-curled hair and cat-eye shades in lollipop hues of orange, pink or blue.

Supermodel Karlie Kloss led an upbeat roll-call of catwalk sailors in cotton print dresses and sarong twists, patterned with bright hibiscus and orchids and worn with white parkas and navy caps cocked to one side.

For on-shore leave, the crew switched to roll-up chinos and beaten leathers, and for evening Dior's woman let the day fall away in bare-all silks with trailing belts and necklaces of exotic feathers, shells and organza.

There was a mini-riot when Kate Moss took up a front row seat at the Tuileries Gardens venue, in tight leather mini-skirt and ostrich-feather coat.

Ever the showman, Galliano marched out to salute the fashion crowd in a pirate captain's uniform, his hair in wispy long plaits, thrusting out his hips as he stamped out a cigarette.

At Issey Miyake, a cool mist wafted onto the runway as the models stepped out in ghostly-fine silks, to eery fairground music.

Pale as moonlight, the first model wore a dress of infinitely soft, pleated grey silk tumbling straight from bare shoulders to the thighs.

"There's a ghost hiding in the clothes. It waits patiently in the clothes to entice a new spirit," whispered the show's notes.

And there were playful numbers too, like a rust-coloured bell hat of wide netting, over straw-coloured shorts with scrunched-looking embellishments.

One cleverly pleated sarong-dress bounced up and down almost a foot as the model walked, as designer Dai Fujiwara put the focus on fabrics, showcasing the label's know-how in series with names like "Invisible" or "Merry-Ghost-Round."

Britain's Grande Dame of fashion, Westwood, also turned to spirits past with a collection she said aimed "to remind us of lost civilisations, because I think our civilisation could finish just as easily as some other ones."

From ancient burial customs in Egypt or Peru came the idea for shroud-like wraps, worn around shoulders or once as a dusty-blue mask, over richly-coloured dresses that evoked peasants, courtesans and harlequins.

The sense of time travel was reinforced with ballooned magenta silk dresses, small military-style jackets with intricate gold threading, chequered milk-maid dresses or a tawny orange velvet shorts-and-jacket ensemble.

Westwood told AFP afterwards she had designed with no particular period in mind.

"The past has become something for the dusbtin. But people can find their own history. You can mix bits and pieces.

"And it's all under the idea that you should buy less, choose well, have fun and make it last," she quipped, a pick-and-mix spirit on display with models like an ice-blue gown matched with a red-and-white "warning" strip as a belt.

Closer to home, Yamamoto chose to awaken the spirit of Jimi Hendrix, sending out models draped in wispy black silk, flowing over heavy lace-up boots to the sound of "Ave Maria" -- and Hendrix classics "Voodoo Child" and "Foxy Lady".

Faces were powered white and hair was plastered down around the crown and pinned under funereal dark shades, while pendants of silver hanging from black shawls fed the solemn, ceremonial atmosphere.

"It's my generation," Yamamoto said of his tribute to Hendrix. "I wanted to be a spiritual designer, to open doors," he told AFP backstage after the show.

The wilder side of the look had full-body leotards and ankle-length silk dresses in psychedelic, fluorescent colours, worn under black silk.

And the finale: a wide, pleated A-line skirt fashioned from mustard yellow blow-up plastic tubes, and worn with a t-shirt reading: "This is me."

© 2010 AFP

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