Lebanese designer warms Paris Fashion Week

PARIS: Bare feet, flip flops, sand, sun and tropical heat designers brought a generous dose of summer to the Paris catwalks over the weekend. The hot-weather creations matched the glorious sunshine that warmed up day six of Paris Fashion Week.

Lebanon’s Rabih Kayrouz dubbed his latest ready-to-wear line simply “Summertime,” sending out his models barefoot down a sandy runway, to the sound of crashing waves and Janice Joplin’s classic 1960s hymn to the summer season.

Sheltering from the sun under wide-brimmed hats, an elegant gold band circling the head, his models looked cool and comfortable in fluid tunic dresses of black or taupe silk, some slit discreetly on the spine to let in the breeze.

For the hottest days, the designer imagined light chiffon dresses cut on the knee in front and curving down to a simple, fluttering train at the back.

And for summer days in town, he tucked silk tank tops into roomy cotton pants with a drawstring waist, either sand-colored bermuda short versions or long pants in luminous mustard yellow.

At Kenzo, the U.S.-based design duo Carol Lim and Humberto Leon set the scene with a giant video of jungle imagery, superimposed with prints inspired by it.

As for their men’s line unveiled in the summer, the pair drew inspiration from a recent trip to the rainforests of southeast Asia, bringing back a look they billed as “urban safari.”

With watertight wading boots and safari jackets, a handful of looks were cut to protect you from a tropical shower. But most looked like what you would slip into for a stroll once the rain had stopped beating down.

Like a long green and black dress, its billowing skirt slit high at the front, tied with loose crisscrossed straps at the back.

Or a short beige dress, neckline pulled down low over the shoulders, cinched waist and little bouffant skirt.

Leopard prints – jazzed up for the occasion in bright orange or green – came on a short dress or a long one with spaghetti straps, while tigers winked out from behind leaf jungle prints.

Later at Celine – which like Kenzo is part of the LVMH luxury stable – the British designer Phoebe Philo had some fun with her footwear, sending out models in flip flops with fluffy fur-lined soles, a cheeky footnote to the look.

Frayed hems, on skirts or dresses, added to the relaxed feel of the sharp-tailored collection, as seen on an ample-skirted black dress, cut very low at the back, with a triangle of resille, fishnet, at the chest.

A leather bolero jacket was matched with rustic linen pants for a summery daytime look, while for evening Philo adorned slender silhouettes with twisted drapes of silk, like a pale lilac stole worn above black pants.

Virginal chic was the watchword later as Givenchy unveiled a summer collection of monastic simplicity, demurely chic and deeply luxurious.

With a giant church organ in the heart of the venue, and the scent of myrrh in the air, designer Riccardo Tisci – whose men’s line in the summer already had a clerical ring to it – set up a distinctly church-like scene.

Under the watch of hip-hop’s Kanye West, among the celebrities present, his models stepped out in ballerina chignons, almost nunnish in tops or dresses of layered organza.

Black and white dominated, with flashes of baby blue or dove grey, and monochrome dresses were accentuated with vertical flounces on one shoulder. Balloon sleeves were opened up and fastened to the back with gold metal, meant to look like angels’ wings perhaps.

At Hermes, designer Christophe Lemaire created collages of graphic patterns, multicolored or in finely drawn Chinese-ink style, directly inspired by the house’s signature silk scarves.

Elsewhere monochrome silhouettes, many of them white, radiated cool elegance, like a short coat or a top in leather so fine it resembled a fabric.

Precious leathers came in bold and bright hues, like a crocodile top in emerald or electric blue. A top and leather shorts ensemble came with fine braces and giant pockets as if the model had borrowed an apron from one of the house craftsmen.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 02, 2012, on page 13.




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