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It's glamour and comfort on day 3 of Paris shows

By Thomas Adamson

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 1 2012 3:00 p.m. MST

The show ended to a round of applause but also some coughs — as the fumes from the freshly graffitied set wafted toward the front row.

BARBARA BUI

Barbara Bui's offering shows she really knows how to put the ready in ready-to-wear with an elegant collection of lames, woolens and flowing dresses that the models could have worn straight out onto the street.

It was perhaps the relatively down-to-earth choice of muses, including Bianca Jagger and Jerry Hall (living, breathing people, not deities or aliens as some designers have it), that meant the clothes looked unfussy, clean-lined and wearable. Or was it that the brand is known to be commercially minded?

Either way there was plenty on the menu for the Bui woman: big alpaca jerseys, finely quilted satin tops and military greatcoats that rubbed accentuated shoulder to accentuated shoulder in a palette of black, pearl, brown and gold.

A beautiful and subtle jabot-collared silk blouse had a flavor of the glory days of Yves Saint Laurent, while several short cheongsams, also known as Mandarin gowns, ticked the box for the Eastern-looking trend this fall.

Breaking new ground is clearly not the seasoned designer's main priority. Showcasing covetable and highly buyable clothes is.

NINA RICCI

Nina Ricci's Peter Copping is a shameless romantic, and his strong show Thursday took the audience into the world of a young girl who playfully mixes and tears up clothes from her family's 1950s dress-up box.

Rough patchwork paneling featured on deconstructed evening coats in tweed, as if cut and re-sewn by a child's hand. Redundant fur cuffs dangled limp from the side of a sleeve, a fur stole had gloves attached with a toddler-style thread and rhinestone brooches and buttons were applied haphazardly to lace and organza cocktail dresses as if in haste after the wardrobe raid.

But beyond the daydreaming, the black-heavy collection exuded a strong, contemporary femininity.

More importantly, it marked a change in direction for Copping, creative director since 2009, in embracing the cinched glamour of a 1950s silhouette.

"The A-line look makes it feel different to my previous work," the British designer said. "It's about nonchalance and comfort."

Comfort is often synonymous in ready-to-wear with "sellable." Here, the house has no need to worry.