Fashion Designers Played Safe at Paris Fashion Week

Model At Dior Spring 2009 Runway show

Due to the global financial crisis, designers kept their coaxing of the fashionable people of the world subtle.

British Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman tells the Associated Press, "I don’t think it’s been as exciting as other seasons. On the whole, most of the designers here have kind of stuck to what they know they can do, and not really tried anything that’s going to scare the horses."

Common trends among the French labels include prints, sequins for day, lashings of colors and way-up-there hemlines.

Shulman added "We’ve seen a lot of very short clothes, which goes against the old idea that when the economy is bad, hemlines go down."

Louis Vuitton

The outlook at Louis Vuitton seemed hopeful – if we go by Ms. Shulman’s words – as the skirts’ hemlines were as high as the economy is down.

Controversial fashion designer Marc Jacobs joked backstage, "There’s next to nothing, there’s nothing, and then there’s less than nothing," referring to his skirts’ hemlines which were cut in the back, revealing a hint of a bare bottom.

The pieces took retro looking peak-shouldered silhouette and combined them with exotic embellishment, cut in the waist by leather obi belts. Platform sandals sported feathers, totems and beads.

Yves Carcelle, chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton was not one to discuss the dire straits of the economy, opting instead to welcome celebrity guests such as rockstar and fashion peon Lenny Kravitz and director Sofia Coppola, who currently stars in LV ads with her father and Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola. Actress Kerry Washington put in her order for a scooped-back black satin dress with sequined sleeves, declaring it "amazing", adding that she tends to "just gravitate toward more classic lines," she told The AP. "It’s always hard for me to go too rock ‘n roll."


Despite the grandiose welcome of pink champagne and foie gras in an 18th Century mansion, the Miu Miu show sent sort of a message against conspicuous consumption.

The look: models with sleek hairdos and crimson lips ramped almost robotically wearing burlap dresses, with holes for pockets. Fine fabrics did not escape designer Miuccia Prada too, as she ripped tears into a scarlet silk pleated cocktail dress layered with a short pleated apron.

The collection also touched on ancient civilizations with skirts and tops that clashed, and pieces that depicted prints of mosaics and classical art.


Designer Alber Elbaz opted for clean lines with luxurious volume in gowns of vibrant silks. Fabrics flowed over one shoulder or were draped above the hip, creating deep swirl shapes.

Prints and patterns were also present in the collection. A blue leopard print silk dress with a matching clutch was particularly stunning. So was the pink slim satin trench worn with a tone-on-tone statement necklace.

Bergdorf Goodman president and CEO was heard saying "Thank you!" to Elbaz as he congratulated him backstage.

Elbaz was wont to say that his job was to create desire. He further explains his point saying "Women are not going to buy less, they’re going to buy different. I think that they’re going to buy emotional pieces that they cannot resist," he told reporters. "They may skip dinner or lunch, but they will get the dress."

Christian Dior

What else can we expect from the house of Dior? Why, the romantic and the beautiful of course. Only this time, designer John Galliano’s creation is naughty-chic meets the Eighties meets Egypt.

The clothes are just a hint racy with just the right amount of longing for the Nile. The result, a witty take on all things African – accessories such as tribal necklaces and of course, the shoes.

Primitive statues of naked women as four-inch heels added just the right chutzpah to some sexy python, glitter and/or animal print shoes.

Then there were the clothes. Flirty chiffon mini skirts matched with waxy bomber jackets or tiny boleros; a piece after piece of see-through cocktails and column looks.

Another thing worth noting about the Dior fashion show are the half-moon bags. They were Galliano’s broken mosaic moment that were also featured in shoes.

Most people say this collection is a bit understated for John Galliano’s avant garde style, but then again there’s the financial crisis to consider.


Not every designer opted for subtle coaxing though. At Chanel, one could have forgotten that there is indeed a crisis.

Watching Chanel’s aristocrats-went-rock-and-roll show did it for most. Chanel’s models were like posh groupie damsels that sashayed down the fake tar macadam catwalk with an exact duplicate of Chanel’s 31 Rue Cambon headquarters for the backdrop.

Karl Lagerfeld’s solid comment on the collection was ""Post recession romanticism."

The show’s wittiest comment was four models in blow up style Carnaby Street knit dresses that looked like they were going to shoot an album cover.

To make up for the "meant for the rich" theme, Lagerfeld injected a bit of ‘mass appeal’ (if you will) to the collection with his series of leather totes bearing the brand’s iconic address.

More on the aristocracy-meets-rock-and-roll and groupie goddesses theme, a model carrying a guitar case made in a cream version of the padded leather made famous by the fashion house. Another thing worth noting are the two-tone hosiery which fans will sure love. There were also couture quality jackets, redingtones, boucle wool strewn with either feathers or glitters and broken grid pattern dresses.

Of course, the show would not be complete without an appeal to vanity. Lagerfeld sent five gallants in black tails and his signature Germanic high white collar shirts, complete with chains and necklaces.

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