The in crowd turn out for Tribouillard
THE French designer has not forsaken his flair for the colourful and exotic, as
THEY do it in Paris and New York, so why not Hong Kong? ''Pathetic,'' sniffed one of the uninvited when she heard Solidarity had finally hit the local fashion scene.
That was a bit mean. True, the sight of a bunch of grown women clad like clones may strike some as downright adolescent, but that's because they don't appreciate the spirit of The Tribute.
Not so Daniel Tribouillard. As the supremo of Leonard of Paris entered the Eagle's Nest at the Hilton, he blushed with pleasure as he was greeted in the way that truly counts.
There they sat; Cristal, Diane, Carmel and quite a few more, wearing their Leonard dresses and expressions of adoration.
The occasion was an afternoon tea show featuring the Spring-Summer '94 collection created by the genial Frenchman who transformed a so-so fashion house into a global favourite and whose exotic prints and slinky silhouettes act like magnets to the rich and ''aerobicised''.
With so many devotees in attendance, the Hilton would have done better to lay on mineral water and a selection of greens - such a sad waste (except at the press table) of cakes, scones and sandwiches - but at least the crowd was hungry for the latest from Leonard.
''Say it with flowers'' was a former Tribouillard motto, and those who love his florals have not been denied this season. They haven't been overindulged though.
For next season, the message is mixed - orchids and butterflies, peonies and bamboo - and several prints are devoid of a single bloom.
Brilliant colour is the big message.
From the opening segment, inspired by Mexico, the heat was on as Leonard exploded with hues so intense even the models reeled a little. ''That particular yellow is very hard to wear,'' murmured an overwhelmed fan.
Thoughtfully, Tribouillard has included sunglasses, which he labels the newest look, whose designs are integrated through fusion.
To his casual-wear he has also added jaunty hats and same-print shoes - some comfortable flats, but also that orthopaedic surgeon's nightmare, the high platform - while silk squares do double duty as bustiers and scarves.
Nothing is plain in this range. Prints heavily outnumber solids, suits are edged with patterned silk crepe, and butterflies - the season's signature - are embroidered, worked in enamel for jewellery and belts, or used as the pattern for huge winged pants.
For day-wear the look is younger than usual for Leonard: short skirts, baby-doll dresses and teeny-bopper pants outfits. For evening, it's vintage Leonard, complete with lavish full-skirted gowns and acres of the finest taffeta, chiffon and organza.
None of it pays the slightest heed to the current vogue for spareness and simplicity. Wear Leonard and you will stand out in any crowd - unless, of course, it includes Cristal, Diane and Co.