Fashion in the mind

THE PARIS fashion shows on Tuesday ran the gamut from primitive to refined, with a cave girl theme at Vivienne Westwood and a celebration of 1940s elegance at Christian Dior — but don't expect to find the outfits in a clothing store near you.­ Smart women have taken...

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Published: Thu 1 Mar 2007, 10:35 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:23 AM

paristo running up advance shopping lists on the popular Web site Style.com, which features full photo coverage of every major collection, but find that many of the items showcased on the catwalk never make it to the shopfloor.­

The reality is that by the time the shows take place, buyers for department stores have filled up to 70 per cent of their order books for next season.­

Hal Rubenstein, fashion director of In Style magazine, said the advent of the Internet had created confusion about the primary function of catwalk presentations.­

'This was never designed to be the market place,' he told The Associated Press. 'The runway (catwalk) was always about ideas, it's always about a conception of how somebody is thinking for the season.'­

Nowhere has this been more true than at Dior, famed for featuring outfits that verge on the unwearable. Criticism of its over-the-top approach recently prompted the label to tone down the theatricals, but without losing any of the lustre.­

Dior's blockbuster show celebrated two milestones — the house's 60th anniversary and British designer John Galliano's 10th year at the helm of the brand.­

Models swept down a grand double staircase in ladylike ensembles including cinched coats with oversized fur collars and sleeves, multilayered cocktail dresses in shimmering silk gazar and sinuous evening gowns fit for a Hollywood siren.­

paris1Galliano successfully distilled the 'Madame Butterfly' theme of his January couture show with subtle Oriental touches that included origami pleating on the cuff of a chic wide-sleeved suit and sequined blossoms crawling over a pink one-shouldered evening gown.­

Even if the show is not designed as a catalogue, Dior is keenly aware of the importance of the Internet.­

It launched its new jewelry collection last month in the virtual world 'Second Life,' creating avatars for 200 editors that allowed them to navigate around a specially designed island and view the gems.­

British designer Vivienne Westwood is a self-avowed technophobe — perhaps that is why her collection of nip-waisted dresses with pointy breasts was inspired by cartoon character Wilma Flintstone.­

Models in bluntly chopped wigs paraded in perforated sheepskin jackets and sack dresses printed with caveman art. These were shown alongside more sophisticated pieces to convey a sense of civilisation-come-unstitched.­

Standouts included a russet taffeta peak-shouldered jacket with a mini cape back and micro-boleros consisting of little more than two puffed sleeves held together with a crisscross strap in the back.­

These may well end up on the racks of Maria Luisa, the Paris boutique that has championed designers from Galliano to Helmut Lang.­

Westwood said she had been contacted by Brian Grazer, the producer of 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'A Beautiful Mind,' to make a movie based on her life that will stretch from London's punk heyday in the 1970s to the present day.­

'I want it to be a true film and so do they. It's not just a sort of fashion story, it's really going to be my story,' the 65-year-old designer told the AP.


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