Sep 28, 2012
Balenciaga brings grace, stars to Paris fashion
Sep 28, 2012
PARIS - Balenciaga struck a high note at Paris Fashion Week Thursday, sending out a couture-inspired look part pure and part playful, under the gaze of Twilight's Kristen Stewart and Vogue's style priestess Anna Wintour.
Stewart -- who is the face of the brand's latest perfume -- took her place alongside actress Salma Hayek, married to luxury tycoon Francois-Henri Pinault, whose PPR group owns Balenciaga, but also Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci.
Balenciaga's designer Nicholas Ghesquiere sent out slender, precise-cut pantsuits that alternated with gypsy-inspired black skirts and dresses, cut on the knee with a curvy, pink or yellow flounce at the hip or the skirt.
Long black skirts were slashed high up on one thigh, with the same rippled gypsy flounce revealing the white lining within, under sharp-cut little capes in white or black that left a band of midriff bare, just below the ribs.
Cigarette pants were paired with architectural little bustiers for a masculine-feminine touch, glimpsed under open jackets or waistcoats in charcoal, beige or pale plum.
Likewise, flounced little skirts were fashioned from a mannish pinstripe.
But there was ample space for the sweetly feminine, too, as with tiny dresses crafted from feathery, paper-like strips, worked together like lace.
Later Thursday the French house Carven went for a demure, structured silhouette, with nipped waists and skirts cut on the knee or just below, in a sober palette of tan, cappuccino, red, grey-blue and black.
Schoolgirl blouses, buttoned right up, peeped out from under short-sleeved knits, or military-inspired little jackets, in blue-grey or burgundy.
But elsewhere peep-holes and cut-outs spiced up the dresses and skirts, revealing a band of waistline here, or a moon-shaped flash of chest there.
The house's young designer Guillaume Henry said he drew inspiration for the collection from early 20th-century expeditions.
At Manish Arora the mood couldn't have been further away, with a collection inspired by the designer's native India, sent out to the sound of tabla drums and booming electro.
Arora worked traditional prints and stylised tiger and gazelle motifs onto tunics, leggings and dresses in pastel yellow, turquoise or plum, above giant gold platform sandals.
Copious metal embellishments suggested the mirrored-cotton of Rajasthani design, with jewelled tiaras cupping the head throughout, and a metallic leopard print covering the side of a sheer white dress.
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