Paris fashion channels past, escapes present woes

By Thomas Adamson

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 3 2012 5:36 p.m. MST

An in-vogue Edwardian edge defined many evening wear looks with overgrown-sleeved slip dresses, and feather-light tulle gowns paired up with glass embroidery and silk fringing. High-collared form-fitting furs provided the sensuality, with a look that invited you to see what's underneath.

It was a strong show. The design duo clearly upped its game after the Mattel-infused baby-doll offering last spring got a lukewarm reception.

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER

Jean Paul Gaultier fused 1980s graffiti prints with the style of cult rock band Velvet Underground in his slickly executed fall-winter offering Saturday.

To music by Lou Reed, the band's most famous member, the designer sent down the catwalk revamped versions of the boxy bomber — once worn by the group — with bands, zippers and gothic hairstyling adding a punky vibe.

Graffiti-printing provided the fun. The fabric's richness in one flowing silk jumpsuit contrasted with the decimation of an all-over print depicting a gruesome car pile-up.

"It was half humor in everything we saw today," gushed Spanish actress Victoria Abril in the front row.

Models slung brightly colored fur jackets over arms or let them fall coolly off one shoulder. Sleeves and cuffs seemed to crop up everywhere as ornamental features in skirts, furs and ruffles — or just hanging limp.

While in pure style terms, there was little new material, the real innovation was at work inside the fabrics. A series of brash copper jackets and skirts dazzled in what looked like lame, an inexpensive fabric.

"Oh no," the jesting designer said backstage. "This was in fact intricate couture woven Jacquard silk."