Paris looks back for the future
SOME new names, plus a couple more from across the channel popped up at the Paris ready-to-wear shows this week, but, as usual, the giants dominated the headlines and not all the scribes were flattering.
Karl Lagerfeld was responsible for much of the dissension. While the New York Times' Bernadine Morris thought ''Kaiser Karl's'' autumn-winter collection for Chanel was ''wild, wicked and enormously entertaining'', fellow American Lee Yanowitch thought otherwise.
''Lagerfeld took a back seat this season, following trends rather than setting them and disappointing the crowds,'' said the Reuter correspondent who was clearly not in raptures over Lagerfeld's ''recycled'' dandy look, ultra-tight jeans and big white shirts which he teamed with everything from black leggings to evening skirts complete with trains.
Is this what Chanel fans will wear next season - along with button-popping bodices, plumed Edwardian hats and moon boots? Only the chronically addicted. For the rest, it's anything goes, though Paris does offer some guidelines.
Long skirts will continue (though even arch-champion Lagerfeld is not slavish about them). So will unstructured jackets - many of them resembling cardigans - and folkloric influences in the Middle East, North Africa, Russia and Mexico.
Likely to be on the wane will be grunge clothes while coming back with force will be lots of colour and luxury for evening.
Above all, it will be a well-bred season with classics dominating and nostalgia continuing - especially if you go for Ungaro's richly jewelled brocades and patterned prints, or the exquisite 30s bias-cut dresses presented by Britain's John Richmond at his debut show in Paris.
Making her usual impact was fellow escapee Vivienne Westwood.
The biggest hit from Westwood were her mini-kilts - authentic tartans - worn with the designer's trademark corset tops, while unexpected entertainment came from supermodel Naomi Campbell who fell off her sky-high platform shoes but picked herself up and continued down the runway, still smiling.
Of the Japanese, Issey Miyake, who showed how to make the most of a contemporary wardrobe through the simplest shapes and most arresting fabrics, won the warmest words from the press, with Morris leading the praise.
''Miyake packed more fashion innovation into his small, springy show than has been seen on most runways all week,'' the New York doyenne wrote.
''He was not concerned with the raising of waistlines or the lowering of hemlines; he wants to revamp the entire business of dressing,'' wrote Morris adding that in her opinion, Issey Miyake had done just that.