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Paris fashion week gets respite from Galliano saga

By Jenny Barchfield

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 5 2011 3:20 p.m. MST

The coats — in ochre, blood orange, lilac and Bordeaux — were fitted out with patch pockets or sprouted oversized sleeves in fox fur dyed eyepopping hues. The trend of grafting fur sleeves onto wool coats has swept Paris' runways, from Balmain to Dries Van Noten.

It's a big-statement style, but one that's not without its hazards: At Rykiel, a model brushed up against the vertical fluorescent light bulbs that for some reason dotted the catwalk, and the bulb shattered all over the runway — which for another inexplicable reason was bisected by a chain-link fence.

Unlike most other shows, where serious, even dour expressions are de rigeur, Rykiel is all about smiles, and models are instructed to act spontaneous and happy on the runway — a tall order for some of the girls. At Saturday's show, the models congregated around the fence, chitchatting as others walked the catwalk. One model, in a sexed-up gown with a flowing emerald skirt attached to a black bra top, plopped herself down in the front row next to Andre Leon Talley and made smalltalk with the iconic U.S. Vogue editor as her colleagues walked.

TSUMORI CHISATO

The Japanese designer is clearly out to oust Rykiel.

Chisato sent out jumpsuits in zany pastel colorblock, sweaterdresses with striped knit leggings and high-waisted culottes knit with kooky designs. Ribbed caps that looked like old school bathing caps, complete with the sensible chinstraps, topped off all the outfits. Paired with the oversized Iris Apfel-style owl glasses, it was really quite a look.

Admittedly, it was not for everyone: Those in the market for officewear might do better looking elsewhere, except if you work from home. But the clothes were embued with a sense of fun and lightheartedness that took a page straight out of Rykiel's playbook.

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