Tour de force in tulle from Viktor & Rolf

PARIS, Oct 3, 2009 (AFP) -Dutch design duo Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren surpassed even their own flights of fancy on Saturday 3 October with their ready-to-wear collection for summer 2010, a veritable tour de force in tulle.


Photo: AFP/Pierre Verdy

They layered and compressed it so densely that it formed almost solid blocks, which they proceeded to sculpt around the body.

A fuschia pink ballgown with a slim bodice had full skirts spewing from the waist, from which big chunks had been gouged out, leaving it with as many holes as a Swiss cheese.

Another scarlet gown was precision sliced mid-thigh, leaving the top half of the model in a mini ballet tutu and revealing her legs clad in a black body stocking. But by some technical wizardry the skirts were reinstated above the knee to the floor, although how they were held in place was a mystery.

The myriad layers of another dress whooshed up one side to above the model's head, leaving her nearly nude on the other. Sometimes the wearer was entirely lost, so enveloped in frothy tulle that from the back she looked like a giant sponge with spindly legs.

Skin-tight ruched dresses had fans of pleated tulle at the bosom and sprouting from the cleavage, or running down the sleeves like birds' crests or mohican haircuts.

Perhaps not so much ready-to-wear, but works of art.

The new broom at Cacharel, Belgian designer Cedric Charlier, got down to dusting away the cobwebs with an edgy, modern debut collection, that took fashion editors by surprise.

The house has been struggling to regain a foothold since its glory years in the 1970s with Liberty prints.

He opened with big white shirts in crisp cottons and cream tailored shorts before gradually adding colour, like dusty pastel pinks for trenchcoats, soft blouses with drawstring necklines and wrap-around skirts.

Then came a tiny spatter print for frocks with wide pleats and a dipping hemline at the back, and sloppy Joe pullovers over sheer chiffon.

His finale of neat short dresses in splashy prints in mustard, slate grey, pink and fawn, resolutely turned the page on Cacharel's slightly faded "pretty-pretty" image.

The backdrop at Tsumori Chisato's show of a bird cage and cascading foliage set the gently optimistic "back to nature" mood for her summer lines, bursting with pretty prints in sweet pea colours.

She deftly mixed Victoriana touches -- piecrust or high buttoned collars, frills and deceptively vintage ivory and gold guipure lace -- with kimono-styling, like the deep folds forming pockets on the hips.

Stripey fine wool knits over waffled and ruched skirts mingled with jumpsuits, sarouels, harem pants tied at the ankles, satin pyjama jackets with scalloped hems, and high-waisted tight black trousers.

Prints were a core of the collection, whether abstract lines in lavender pink and blue or the outlines of swallows against the sky.

Meanwhile retired top model Naomi Campbell made a surprise guest appearance for the Russian designer Igor Chapurin on Saturday 3 October.

She was first on the catwalk in a sheer black corset with material wrapped around her hips, with an unfortunate resemblance to a diaper, and emerged again for the final number in a chocolate corset with matching silk chiffon train.

In between Chapurin sent out a succession of models, with bouffant hairdoes reined in under sheer chiffon black headscarves, poured into similar second-skin corsets topped with asymmetrically draped dresses or stiff circle skirts.

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