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March 11, 2009updated Feb 08, 2013

EXCLUSIVE! Paris Show Updates

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

By Tanya Dukes

Christian Dior
John Galliano’s collections for Christian Dior never fail to conjure fantasies. This time the dream is of the exotic east. Classic Dior elements were remixed with Ikat prints, silk brocade and outsize paisley. Elegant, softy draped suiting in grey and black crepes gave way to printed dresses and coats in deep jewel tones. Coats in astrakhan or edged in mink details were especially covetable and floaty silk chiffon dresses in tantalizing shades from delicate peach to intense plum were fit for Sheherazade.

Alexis Mabille
The collection in Alexis Mabille’s studio may be for fall but it certainly feels a lot like spring—in one corner there’s a jacket covered in flowers, in another a caftan comes emblazoned in sailboats. The design chalks it up to the fact that color is his “first love” when it comes to fashion. Menswear details prevailed but always with a luxurious, happy-go-luck twist: Shirtdresses are done in electric purple satin and the classic smoking jacket gets a playful crop, for example. There were plenty of grown-up, entirely ladylike pieces, too. One body-skimming black sheath with a white lace color seemed a cheeky take on Belle de Jour that left little to the imagination.

In the same mirrored room where her mother worked for the brand decades before (and where she would sometimes turn up after school) Vanessa Seward presented her latest collection for Azzaro. “It’s definitely in my blood. I’m on a mission,” says Seward about the personal ties to her work. For day, fall 2009 consisted of jersey dresses with hints of jeweled embellishment and frilled blouses and skirts. Evening dresses came in black silk with beaded bow accents, and one floor-length number with a back panel of lace and scrolling crystal decoration that references Man Ray’s iconic violin photography stopped the show. And just to keep the family affair going, Seward’s husband, Parisian man about-town and musician Bertrand Burgalat, designed a capsule men’s collection with a suave, 70s attitude.

Balenciaga came back from the future for fall. After seasons of technophile fabrics and shapes that were marvels of tailoring and imagination (but also a stretch for some to see themselves wearing), the brand has merged its forward-looking sensibility with a universally accessible collection. Virtually every piece draped about the hips including tweed bodice dresses with silk skirts and the ultra-feminine tuxedo suiting. Each garment truly reveals itself upon close inspection. A handful of dresses were so finely embroidered that they appeared to be made in printed silk until touching them and seeing the beadwork up close.

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