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This Plain Speaker Offers Some Not-So-Plain Designs

November 28, 1986|MARY ROURKE

"Men don't dare." And that is why Paris-based designer Paul Louis Orrier only designs for women.

Anything else "wouldn't be fun," he says. "The men who try to be daring in their dress usually overdo it," Orrier explains. "The rest feel they have to wear boring navy blue suits with stupid white shirts and boring burgundy ties."

Local Appearance

For all his tufted, gilded, sculpted and draped fashion designs, Orrier prefers plain speaking, which he proved during an appearance at Neiman-Marcus, Beverly Hills.

About Chanel suits, for example: "To me, the comeback of Chanel in the United States is very amusing. It represents label security for women more than anything else. They think to themselves, 'Chanel is not only a safe style, now it's designed by Karl Lagerfeld, so it must be fashionable as well.' "

Paris couture doesn't fare much better in Orrier's opinion.

"It's not important the way it was 10 years ago," he says. "It no longer sets the trends, and almost nobody wears it. It's just a kind of dream, a fantasy. Like the star system in Hollywood."

"Paris couture" and "Hollywood" uttered in the same breath sounds intentionally offhand, like stacking caviar on a Dodger dog.

This same irreverence shows in Orrier's designs. He builds from a couturier's substructure to a sportswear designer's facade.

His gold brocade and lame evening dress slithers just to the knees, where the tails of a soft and enormous lame bow flounce onward to the ankles.

For Christmas Day

"It's a long dress, but not really," Orrier explains. He calls it "Hollywoodian," and says a bride recently ordered it, along with a floor-length, lame-lined black velvet cape, to wear Christmas Day.

Orrier also shows bronze metallic leather trousers--with wide legs to resemble a skirt--to wear with a lavishly tufted silk cardigan jacket as another evening outfit.

"In Paris, women are less and less formal at night," he says. "Ball gowns don't exist. Clothes are dressy but not stiff. The most important thing is to feel at home in your evening clothes."

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