Marithe & Francois Girbaud bring politics to the catwalk

2010-03-12 08:53 BJT


Designers Marithe and Francois Girbaud attempted to bring politics to the catwalk at the Paris Fashion Week. Also at the event, Lebanese red carpet king Elie Saab had his eye on the prize with a fall-winter ready-to-wear collection of awards-ceremony looks in antique lace and sequins.

A model presents designers Marithe and Francois Girbaud's collection at Paris Fashion Week.
A model presents designers Marithe and Francois Girbaud's 
collection at Paris Fashion Week.

Meanwhile, Valentino's designers Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri hit the sweet spot while Japanese designer Junko Shimada illustrated fashion with supple materials.

Bicycles started off the show, while entertaining break-dancers finished it. In between there was a playful take on the recent burka debate in France, which sees the country proposing to ban the full face burka. In response Marithe and Francois Girbaud dressed their models in various head gear, some were sheer veils worn across a lipsticked mouth, other embroidered or patterned scarves concealed the model's entire head and face. The hood is a winter favorite at the label that has come back strong, with many shapes.

Lebanese designer Elie Saab's show opened with long-sleeved sheath dresses with plunging V-backs and sharp, square shoulders. But those clean-lined looks quickly gave way to a seemingly endless parade of elaborate evening wear.

Elie Saab, designer, said, "The inspiration is the forest by night with very mysterious woman, because I work around the color of the night, like dark blue, like dark green. And especially we have the print like trees and abstract trees in the print. I like the mysterious woman that I present this time."

Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri, longtime accessories designers at the brand under the tenure of founder Valentino Garavani, delivered light cocktail dresses and cropped, ruffle-covered variations on the classic trench coat that managed to look modern but were at the same time infused with the house's hallmark romantic spirit.

The duo used a surprising mixture of fabrics that went beyond the noble materials - cashmere, silk, lace and fur - usually seen at the house, incorporating high-tech fabrics and techniques.

A photo from a 1971 magazine inspired the new collection from Shimada. The collection features bat-wing sweater dresses, frilled ample blouses with sassy allure, accentuated by afro-beatnik necklaces and belts in cord and plastic, excessive diagonally striped platforms.

Junko Shimada is a Japanese designer who, after studying fashion in Tokyo, moved to Paris in the late 60's. Shimada opened her first boutique in Paris in 1984 and the second in 2001. She specializes in sunglasses, scarves, kimonos and golf-wear.