Mar 1, 2008
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Gaultier goes down the Silk Road at Hermes

Mar 1, 2008

PARIS, March 1, 2008 (AFP) - Jean-Paul Gaultier fits like a glove at the luxury-led house of Hermes, as he demonstrated yet again with his impeccable collection for next autumn-winter on Saturday March 1st.

Hermès collection fall-winter 2008/2009
Photo : Pixel Formula

See the totality of the fashion show

The oriental carpet runway and backdrop signposted the Silk Road as his inspiration.

Beautiful, tassled silk rope belts, satin paisley print dressing gowns and silk-fringed shawls wound into skirts, headscarves knotted behind the head with floating ties, gave an exotic dimension to the house's signature leathers and cashmere.

While some designers have even sent out their models bare-legged this week, Gaultier's girls were realistically well-wrapped against the elements in woolly bobble hats, bulky handknitted scarves, maxi cardigans and shawls.

Immaculate ponyskin and camelhair car coats, glove-fine leather waistcoats and skinny pants, suede and shearling jackets belted with mock-croc, in shades of rust, olive, chestnut and caramel all bore the Hermes hallmark.

Elie Saab's forte is the witching hour, and for next winter he showed lots of strapless chiffon gowns with fluttering ties and trains and sculpted bodices in contrasting fabrics like shantung or velvet.

In a break from recent seasons he shunned silver, gold and crystals, opting instead for strong colour: ruby, royal blue and emerald.

The abstract paintings of Mondrian with their rectangles and squares of primary colours outlined in black inspired a whole sequence of off-the-shoulder printed chiffon dresses with black and white striped ruffles edging tiered skirts.

He transferred the same black-and-white geometric pattern to grand evening gowns in sequins and threw brocade evening coats covered in guipure with sleeves trimmed with rich sable over bare shoulders.

Designer Paulo Melim Andersson's vision of the Chloe woman is a free-spirited bohemian and a magpie, who mixes and matches her style.

For next winter it is all about playing off the macho against the ultra-feminine, for example a man's overcoat in classic herringbone tweed over a multi-layered tutu skirt.

He presented a succession of floaty frocks in a pale paisley print, with halter necks, frills, or smocked waistlines and sheer chiffon tops with slashed backs, spangled with strass.

To give them a hard, urban edge, he paired them with masculine-tailored coats and jackets, with sharp lapels, velvet pockets and fur sleeves.

The Japanese design duo behind the label Commuun, Iku Furudate and Kaito Hori, presented an austere collection relying on cut rather than opulent fabrics for effect.

Their stark high-collared coats without buttons flapped open. Sleeveless shifts poked out or puckered in unexpected places. The sleeves of a bolero were cropped to exactly the same length as the jacket. The folded front of a red dress, with nothing visibly holding it together, looked like origami.

It was a radical but interesting reduction of familiar fashion shapes.

by Sarah Shard

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