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Paris Fashion Week: demure versus sexy

While the commercially-driven brands of Milan Fashion Week steered their collections down a relatively safe path a week ago, many brands showing at Paris Fashion Week over the weekend threw recessionary caution to the wind, igniting buyer excitement with a volley of looks from retro-tinged elegance to rock-inspired sexy styles.

At the demure end, Saturday’s shows from Dior and Lanvin presented timeless wardrobe classics which drew from the past. John Galliano’s Oriental-inspired, 1940’s–tinged autumn 09 creation for Dior made a sophisticated tailoring statement. Cocoon shaped lantern skirts cut above the knee were matched at Dior with puff-shouldered, horizontally-tiered pleated jackets. Fur-collared wrap-over outerwear was also included in a Dior collection that played from a vivid colour palette of hot pink, purple, red and saffron.

The 1940’s theme was also referenced by Alber Elbaz at Lanvin. Like John Galliano at Dior, Alber Elbaz focused on skirt suits and tailored separates. Swagged shaped shoulder and waist details drew the eye in a collection which pulled silhouettes into hourglass proportions.

The appearance of Vivienne Westwood’s new muse Pamela Anderson on the catwalk set a sexier note on Saturday. Vivienne Westwood’s body-conscious, draped dresses fell below the knee while close-fitting tailoring had exaggerated shoulders and a new length which fell below the contrasting micro mini skirts.

Jean-Paul Gaultier too chased a racy new look which introduced sexy details to raunchy power tailoring. Fishnet panels were introduced to cross-strapped halterneck dresses and skirts, while striped diaphanous A-line skirts and dramatic shoulders kept Jean-Paul Gaultier’s buying fans with plenty of food for thought.

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