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Friday, March 6, 2009

Paris Fashion Week: Day 3

By Rebecca Voight...

Romeo Gigli, the designer who made stole draping and the erased shoulder his own in the early 90s, is back after a long hiatus, which began in 2004 when he slipped away from his own label. In January, his Io Ipse Idem line—which roughly translates as "always the same me, but never quite the same"—made its debut at Paris' fall men's shows. This time he brought the women's collection to the Espace Topographique de l'Art in the Marais, in a presentation he choreographed himself. Partnered with Catherine Vautrin (a former LVMH executive who worked closely with Marc Jacobs) and Luciano Donatelli (previously with Zegna and now working on the brand's production) and backed by IP Spa, Gigli is set.

And the clothes? Ever the romantic, Gigli brought back his cocoon coats, but lighter than before, as well as narrow scrunched-up, stretch-jersey skirts and fur stoles to throw over your shoulder for dress-up. And the best pieces of all were a series of jackets with backs cut out like stained glass—his saturated colors look like no one else's.


Io Ipse Idem

For Issey Miyake, two pairs of karate champions were put on the runway to test the strength of the house’s latest A-POC (A Piece of Cloth) collection—and there wasn’t a tear anywhere. The line is increasingly turning its attention to Japanese tradition and construction. All-over pleats are a Miyake classic, but its current designer Dai Fujiwara put the pleats in strategic places this season, to give the clothes bounce.


Issey Miyake

Yohji Yamamoto, also a black belt in karate, has started a new partnership with Salvatore Ferragamo and he wasn’t quiet about it at the show. Every model sported a pair of flaming red bottines with the usual Yamamoto flowing jackets and coats over floor-grazing skirts. The result was a fire-and-ice mix, which was oddly fitting in these times when no one seems to know just how to move forward.


Yohji Yamamoto

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Never Too Old for Macaroons

Pamela Anderson, the busty 42-year-old femme fatale, pranced around Vivienne Westwood's catwalk in a tutu, proving that the notion of over-the-hill is over-the-hill. There's also been a runway revival of sorts for a couple of veteran models. Erin Wasson may have RVCA, but she also walked for Balmain, and mother of two Liya Kebede opened for Balenciaga. And let's not forget those Louis Vuitton ads with Madonna. Oh, cougars.

Otherwise, Bernhard Willhelm's collection was one part greatest hits, one part more of the same. If you haven't picked up a piecey Willhelm tartan plaid dress yet, don't worry, there are plenty more to come for fall. There were also gold, life-size banana barrettes and sheer multi-colored hoods topping an array of dip-dyed tunics and argyle knits.

Like many Paris designers, Romeo Gigli spun the idea of menswear for his first collection for Io Ipse Idem: angular shoulders on blazers, impeccable men's suiting and beautifully tailored coats, many with a swing to them that the models accentuated in their dance-like presentation. We came, we saw, we coveted. And the towers of macaroons, strawberries and kumquats were a nice touch.

—Bee-Shyuan Chang

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