Jacques Brinon, Associated Press
PARIS — True style doesn't try too hard.
That was the statement at Paris Fashion Week, alarmingly simple, but proved in a number of ready-to-wear presentations Sunday which heralded a move towards clean, simplified elegance.
Celine designer Phoebe Philo — at the top of her game — produced an effortlessly chic display.
Three years after the lauded Briton's Celine, she delivered a strong collection, which evoked a boho-bourgeois style in soft silhouettes with subtle architecture.
Another of Paris' influential designers, Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy, presented a new vision of style Sunday.
Again, Tisci channeled a clean look, simplifying the house silhouette in a less elaborate yet sophisticated collection.
Hermes — the house of the jet-setting fashion buyer — served up the elegance in its usual cocktail of travel, silk, leather and exotic cultural references.
Summing up his show, the house's designer Christophe Lemaire said it represented "a clean, sharp, modernist traveler."
Monday's highly anticipated shows include Stella McCartney, Chloe — and the hottest ticket of the week — Hedi Slimane's debut outing as designer for the rebranded Saint Laurent.
Spring is about gentle contradictions, not color, Phoebe Philo seemed to say: Shown through a muted palette of black, white, navy and gray.
The real point of the show was the gentle play on contrasting lines, then textures, then form.
Loosely hanging silhouettes — often with attention to neck details in high necks, bands and twists — came in column or boxy shapes, with a couple of black A-line tuxedo-dresses for good measure.
The gloss of sheeny silks whispered a contrast against matte fabric.
Philo has often been noted for her chic "utilitarian tailoring," which she delivers with uncanny ease.
Here we saw it used artistically in hemline frays which turned into tassels, and twisted fabric that wrapped round the back sewn crudely together in a lump.
It's a style that wouldn't look out of place on Juliette Binoche, for example, who accepted a best-actress award at Cannes in 2010 in custom Celine.
The house is right in fancying themselves as Paris calendar's arty side.
When fashion insiders asked to see the mandatory program notes, there were wry smiles as they were handed a text-free book of collage pictures.
Trend-setting designer Riccardo Tisci changed the direction of Givenchy's ready-to-wear Sunday.
He simplified the silhouette to a more flattened and spread out front-and-shoulder emphasis in 37 black, white and gray looks.
A strong voice in the fashion conversation, Tisci's tailoring influences designers far and wide.
Last spring, for instance, he brought back the peplum.
Now, hardly a collection goes by without one cropping up.
The wilder bondage-gear touches that added spice to last season's equestrian-inspired trip, were gone here, in a less elaborate display — but which had its moments of clean elegance.
A great feature was the clean, descending ripples in many of the looks which are sure to spread into other collections like wildfire.
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