Lebanese George Chakra debuts stunning show at Fashion Week


A model walks the runway at the Edition By Georges Chakra Fall 2009 fashion show
Photo : Frazer Harrison/AFP
NEW YORK, Feb 15, 2009 (AFP) - After years indulging in haute couture in Paris, Lebanese designer Georges Chakra has debuted his ready-to-wear line in New York in stunning fashion.

In marked contrast to the vibe at the New York Fashion Week enveloped in a cloud of economic austerity, Chakra -- who dressed British actress Helen Mirren at the Oscars awards last year -- kicked off his show Saturday with a bang.

"It's incredibly beautiful, over the top. This is a red carpet must-have," according to hip celebrity fashion commentator Esther Nash.

Always respectful of the feminine silhouette, Chakra's skin-tight, glossy dresses in futuristic colors range from red to jet black, silver to hot pink.

"There was life to the garment. This is very young, something you would wear," commented Nash.

Throwing out the somber mood that was tangible at fashion week's start Friday, with designers toning down their events to fit the financial pinch, Chakra's line, with its taffeta coat dress and wildly over-the-top neon garb, caught everyone's attention.

The designer received a standing ovation for his spectacle.

"I would buy the little black dress with the plastic butterflies if I could afford it," said Nash.

Just before Chakra, French fashion house Lacoste, which is very active on the American market where it is competing against Ralph Lauren, did not show significant new designs.

But its collection was marked by warmth and soft colors like periwinkle blue and yellow sand.

Very few stripes were displayed this season by the artistic director of the brand, Christophe Lemaire, who wanted to make his mark with a soft hooded duffel coat that is capable of challenging the harshness of the winter, and matching suede boots.

Without revealing many details, leaders of Lacoste announced during lunch that they are finalizing a project with the World Bank aimed at preservation of crocodiles threatened with extinction.

Jason Wu, a 26-year-old New York designer of Taiwanese origin, acquired instant celebrity status when First Lady Michelle Obama wore one of his dresses of an inaugural ball, at which she appeared with her husband on January 20.

Crowds gathered to view his presentation, but photographers waited in vain for the appearance of the first lady.

New York's Fashion Week, which opened Friday amid an economic recession, will showcase the collections of some 75 designers and is considered one of the most important fashion shows in the world.

On Saturday, the habitual catwalk displays were accompanied by a tribute to Barbie, the doll that celebrates in 2009 its 50th year.by Paola Messana

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