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By
AFP
Published
Oct 2, 2009
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2 minutes
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Clothes in search of confident women

By
AFP
Published
Oct 2, 2009

PARIS, Oct 1, 2009 (AFP) - From leather Balenciaga to chainmail at Balmain, the clothes going down the Paris catwalks for next summer this week are crying out for confident women to wear them.


A model presents an outfit by French designer Christophe Decarmin for Balmain during ready-to-wear Spring-Summer 2010 fashion show in Paris - Photo: AFP/Francois Guillot

At Balenciaga on Thursday 1 October, designer Nicolas Ghesquiere turned leather into a supple blouson with a big hood and second-skin trousers. He even knitted it and used criss-cross strips to decorate a silk chiffon top.

"It's the first time I've ever used so much leather," he admitted to AFP.

His models in ankle boots also sported mini-skirts with flat pleats and short straight dresses with big gold zips and inserts in bright splashes of colour like orange or bright blue. Straight pants also got brushstrokes of brilliant colour.

"It's also probably the most graphic collection I've ever done," says Ghesquiere. "I was interested in the idea of a silhouette that was very structured and deconstructed at the same time, mixing rigidity and fluidity."

Another first this season, he said, was "using materials made with regard to ethics, developed ecologically. We are trying to introduce that into our work, but with a softly softly approach.

Applauding the collection were Catherine Deneuve and the new official in charge of fashion at the industry ministry, Elisabeth Quin, who said she loved the mix of "ultra-modernity, almost futurist, and something rustic" and Ghesquiere's "ultra-feminine warrior women."

At Balmain, Christophe Decarnin's Amazonians strode down the runway in riding coats with fringes or sequins and officers' regimental jackets under a massive chandelier. In their slashed gold chainmail Tee-shirts, torn mini-shorts or micro-frocks cinched into the waist with wide leather belts, these women looked as if they were afraid of nothing and meant business.

"Yes, it's very military," admitted Decarnin. "But it is really Tina Turner meets Mad Max. And there another side to it, which is all torn, in holes, which has lived a bit."

Singer Rihana approved: "Fantastic," she enthused to AFP.

In complete contrast, British designer Peter Copping had a romantic vision for his first collection as chief designer at Nina Ricci, characterised by delicate pinks and other pale shades, trimmed with lingerie lace, designed to appeal to "jeunes filles" rather than grown women.

Silk twinsets, stocking-fine leggings, short floaty frocks and flippy silk crepe skirts, bows and ruching, punctuated his seductive debut show, presented in the intimacy of the house's own salons and warmly applauded by the select audience of only 80 press and buyers.by Dominique Schroeder

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