As Paris designers get ready to unveil their spring collections next week, the accent is on curvy clothes in short shapes.
Claude Montana previews his line with a coatdress that rounds at the shoulders, nips in at the waist, then flares to a short, very full skirt. He uses cotton drill, a fabric with body, to help accent the sculptural silhouette.
Karl Lagerfeld builds the curves right into a suit with egg-shape shoulders, fitted waistline and bell-shape hips. Touches of lingerie lace peek out at the neckline. The suit's short, tight skirt leaves plenty of legroom.
In an unmatched suit, Lagerfeld teams a boldly striped jacket with a short black skirt. There is a hint of lace at the hemline as if to suggest a glimpse of a pretty slip.
For Chanel, Lagerfeld adds fullness and drape to an abbreviated jacket by way of rounded shoulders and dolman sleeves. The matched skirt with top-stitch seams is fuller at the hips but tapers to a narrow finish.
Valentino's preferred shape for spring is a lean, long-over-short, proportioned suit, belted at the hips. Bold lapels are a witty touch that compete for attention with the thigh-high skirt.
Like Montana, Sonia Rykiel previews her new collection with a dress, as if to say it is her favorite look for spring. Rykiel shows the briefest, body-clinger style, which dips at the neckline and wraps around the torso. She pairs it with a swing-back cardigan coat. Both coat and dress have a demurely ruffled hemline.
Jean Paul Gaultier, the comic wit of Paris fashion, has styled skirts for men and old-fashioned ladies' foundations as outerwear for working women in recent collections. Now he is previewing his answer to the baby boomer's dilemma of domestic versus career goals by topping a pin-stripe pantsuit with a bib-apron, sheer as a negligee. Apparently he intends the outfit for men as well as women.
For sophisticated fashion details, the more "serious" Paris designers are showing wrist-length gloves, bracelets in sculptural shapes and unadorned, high-heel pumps. Light-tone hosiery highlights the leg show.