Roaring Twenties and snowstorms inspires Lebanese designers

PARIS, July 7, 2009 (AFP) -Amid the gloom of the global downturn, Lebanese designer Georges Chakra turned to the roaring Twenties for inspiration for his couture show for next autumn-winter on Tuesday 7 July.


Autumn-winter 2009/2010 from Georges Chakra

"After the First World War people wanted to relax and enjoy themselves, they were looking for glamour, chic." He thinks people need cheering up today -- "that's why I chose it."

His vision for next winter includes lots of flapper dresses with long twinkling fringes of crystals and jet beads, and slinky sequin-spangled sheaths and column dresses trimmed with exotic feathers that could have stepped off the film set of "The Great Gatsby."

Floating scarves trailed from necks Isabella Duncan style, edged in plumes, skirts fell into delicate handkerchief points, while shoulders were built up with encrustations of fake precious stones, some covered with chiffon for a matt effect. Lace and satin ribbons alternated to form a fragile cocktail frock.

Sequins, black on one side and silver on the other, could be rubbed up or down on a ball dress to change its surface pattern like camouflage.

Bronze, teal and ruby red provided a rich counterpoint to black, metallic greys and silver.

Plenty of choice for gala film premieres and lavish weddings, which are a mainstay for Chakra's couture, although he launched his first ready-to-wear lines in New York last season and intends to show again in September.

Fellow Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad, who also courts the red-carpet crowd, set the scene for his show on Tuesday 7 july by sending fake snowflakes drifting down onto the runway.

His inspiration was a winter wonderland of frost and ice, involving lashings of teardrop shaped Swarovski crystals and swathes of silver lurex.

A black organza sheath had stripes of glittering silver sequins and was strewn with applique tulle roses from the neckline to the hem.

Tiny bands of rhinestones circled the ruched bodice of an evening sheath in graduated shades of steely greys, while a dramatic black velvet sash set off a snow white ballgown and a flesh-toned mermaid dress was sprinkled with black jet.

The front of a white satin cocktail frock came filled with strings of pearls, which also dangled from the skirt.

Metal and plexiglas belts cinched the waist like corsets, laced up behind.by Sarah Shard

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