Mar 9, 2010
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Stella McCartney's understated luxury

Mar 9, 2010

PARIS, March 8, 2010 (AFP) - Stella McCartney emerged to take her bow after her ready-to-wear show on Monday 8 March looking svelte and elegant in a grey cashmere sweater and narrow pants as if fresh from the runway.

Photo: AFP

What better demonstration of the confident tailoring and understated luxury she has established as the label's identity.

The collection fitted in seamlessly with the location, under the gilt chandeliers and frescoed ceiling of the grand foyer of the historic Palais Garnier opera house.

Plain linear coats with no fastenings, just a notch cut out at waist level, shifts and tops in a wide black and camel stripe were favourites, along with outsize ribbed fishermen's jumpers, this season's "boyfriend" borrowing.

She also showed rainwear with detachable rubberised hoods, worn unzipped to reveal a double-breasted coat underneath, and casual tops, like a diamond quilted camel hoodie.

For evening, dresses fastened at the neck and waist but split open to reveal a bare back. Her single-shouldered slinky satin numbers in fuschia and fluorescent orange had floor-sweeping trains.

Mini skirts in giant shiny sequins or short frocks in chintzy embroidered lace in ochre and rust red were all veiled with a sheer layer of glazed organza.

In her programme, alongside the usual dedication to family, she remembered fellow British designer Alexander McQueen, who recently committed suicide: "This one is also for Lee...You're missed."

McQueen's catwalk show should have been on Tuesday (9 March) evening. His incomplete collection is being shown privately to a privileged few.

In line with the Kenzo label's long tradition of celebrating ethnic diversity, Antonio Marras signed a winter collection for the nomadic hippy de luxe, which he said was inspired by such style icons as Marisa Berenson and Maria Schneider and the late Tina Chow and Farrah Fawcett.

His girls, sporting mannish hats over their blonde flowing tresses, their necks wound round with stripey scarves, and shod in fleece-lined suede flat ankle boots, wove their way through leafless trees on the catwalk to a soundtrack of the rain forest.

He put together patchworks happily intermingling rich jacquards, plaids and tartans, with spots, stripes or checks, in an autumnal palette of slate blue, terracotta and reds, echoing the fallen leaves sealed in a clear plastic packet which was the invitation to the show.

Tiered maxi frocks in floral prints, reminiscent of 1970s Laura Ashley, would be off limits for all but the young, but there were plenty of adult options.

For Leonard, French designer Veronique Leroy's collection had a harder edge than usual, with khaki, parkas and military belts and lots of shaggy fox fur and goatskin.

Harem trousers and jodphurs, very on trend for next winter, came in buttery suede.

Occasionally the house's trademark prints almost disappeared, reduced to just the visible lining of a khaki dress on rolled up sleeves.

That said, there were still plenty of the signature kaftans and jumpsuits in printed silk jersey, which this season showcased bleached wisteria, lilac and delphinium on backgrounds of brick red and cyclamen pink, and mixed bands of animal and floral prints, like tiger stripes with stylised orchids.

In Marcel Marongiu's show Guy Laroche leather was central to the look, whether for gloves with long dangling fringes, liquid chocolate tank tops or as the sleeves and yoke of a matt wool coat.

The final sequence was of fortuny pleated maxi dresses with floor-sweeping trains, cinched into the waist with a wide leather belt seen throughout the collection.by Sarah Shard

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