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The best of the Paris runway shows

Booth Moore's fashion week picks are works of creativity and originality -- all utterly wearable.

March 15, 2009|Booth Moore


Power dressing with Parisian flair. Stefano Pilati did the season's tough-chic vibe best, with pieces that are truly timeless instead of costumey 1980s throwbacks. A glossy black biker jacket with a subtle studded collar, white poplin shirts with volume through the sleeves, a high-waist pinstripe pencil skirt with a cummerbund belt, an elongated pinstripe jacket to wear with anything -- even on its own. This collection was about real clothes for real women who go to the office, the grocery store and a dinner party, all in one day. Pilati even had the sense in these recessionary times to dispense with the tedious red carpet gown finale and instead show a version of Le Smoking, a black velvet tuxedo dress with a plunging collar.


This quiet show, a poetic fusion of masculine and feminine, was a reminder that the avant-garde is alive and well. Models' faces were wrapped in pieces of tulle with a glittery red lip print off to one side, like a parting kiss. The collection began with the idea of a simple Army jacket, shown deconstructed, spliced together with panels of soft plaid or check blankets, then marked with white trompe l'oeil line drawings of pockets, hinting at a missing person or an alter ego.

The looks flowed seamlessly, jackets and cozy blanket leggings into romantic skirts and finally, sheer peach double layer dresses with pearls and bits of tulle trapped inside like fading memories.


In the capable hands of designer Hannah MacGibbon, Chloe is back. The label, which has struggled under a few designers since Phoebe Philo left, is once again the source of the kind of laid-back style that works as well in L.A. as in Paris. There wasn't a bad look in the show, which ran the gamut from a suede jumpsuit with a tassel belt, to paper-bag waist trousers worn with a romantic blouse with scalloped bib, to an ankle-skimming knife pleat skirt topped by a filmy blouse and cream silk blazer. The shoes were fab -- over-the-knee suede pirate boots, multi-strap flats decorated with bows, and scalloped heel pumps. It's just in time too. Chloe opens its first L.A. store next weekend.


Alber Elbaz knows how to romance a woman, from the red roses and stuffed Lanvin dolls he sent out with his invitations to the cherry-flavored cocktails he served at the show. So it's no wonder he is the master of the subtle and sensual. I like to imagine him sitting at a Paris cafe observing how a woman walks and moves and carries herself. His clothes are perfectly in sync -- a black bias-cut jacket spiraling effortlessly around the body and belted over a pencil skirt, and the perfect black velvet column with cap sleeves. It was all grounded and transporting at the same time, exactly as fashion should be.

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